HomeQ&AAre we doing enough to encourage newcomers to participate?

Are we doing enough to encourage newcomers to participate?

23
votes

I've noticed that most newcomers definitely receive thoughtful answers to their questions.

But I've also noticed a tendency to forget to add a "Welcome to the Forum."

And, even more important, to vote "up" if the question merits it.

I try especially hard on that last one. I follow one fundamental rule: if the question - no matter how poorly phrased - leads me (or others) to something I (or they) didn't know, it's an "up" vote.

Perhaps, though, my criteria are broader or more generous than they should be?

6907 views
updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by 0057ed01
Very nice, volpon, I sometimes feel I am the only one....thanks a lot to bring this up. - 00494d19, ENE 8, 2010
for bringing - 00494d19, ENE 8, 2010
I agree - more votes for the "newbies" please. - ian-hill, NOV 26, 2011

37 Answers

11
votes

I've been part of the forum since the end of November. I felt welcomed and taken seriously even when I asked less than brilliant questions or gave responses with careless errors. It is very gratifying to see my questions and answers commented upon and voted up. I truly appreciate the feedback. As a "newbie", I thank you very much!

The only thing I dislike are the obvious "do my homework for me" posts. I think some of the responses to those are very polite and others sound a bit harsh. Maybe someone could recommend a standard response to these requests that we all could use?

updated DIC 11, 2011
posted by LaBurra
I dunno... But I know as a father that when my kids asked me for homework help, I leaped to offer whatever support I could. It was always prime learning time for them as well as for me (when it came to physics!) I've also been troubled - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
by some comments that seem too dismissive. After all, some of the oustanding performers here are teens. They may have begun, as I did, by asking for help with homework! - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
I agree, volpon, that kids asking for help with their homework do need help, and should find it here. But Lisbeth used the phrase "do it for me". And I think there is a difference between "Does my work look right to you?" and "Tell me what the answer is". - chaparrito, ENE 8, 2010
They both need help, but is giving an answer really 'teaching him to fish'? ;-) - chaparrito, ENE 8, 2010
Good point. But that's a pretty common demand among teens, if I recall. But, still, it can be handled kindly. Not dismissed out of hand. - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
The real point of what I was trying to say was to formulate a stock response to the "what is the answer to my worksheet" questions that is polite and encourages the asker to submit his answer for feedback. - LaBurra, ENE 8, 2010
Lisbeth - this would make an excellent question under General Discussion. Please write it up! - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
Will do! - LaBurra, ENE 8, 2010
I usually suggest they have a go and someone will then help them, that way they will learn more. - MaryMcc, NOV 26, 2011
10
votes

I think we should all remember one thing. Unless we were blessed with bilinguil parents every one of us went through the "stupid question" phase not to mention not even being able to string one sentence together without grammatical error. If we remember this next time a newcomer posts, we will answer them with all of our experience behind us.....the experience of knowing right where they are coming from!

updated DIC 11, 2011
posted by renaerules
Excellent! The word is empathy, and if I should be so lucky, I'd be overjoyed if it were engraved on my tombstone. It takes a lot of effort to make it work, sometimes... - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
....went through...past tense..???? Thank you for that glimmer of hope. That light at the end of the tunnel can be pretty dim, at times. - 0074b507, NOV 26, 2011
10
votes

If someone is new and I notice it, I always welcome them. I also usually vote for their question if it is at least half way decent. I do this to encourage them to become active in the forum. I would hold those who have been here to a higher criteria though. wink

However, it is difficult to get to all of the newbie posts. That is why I think it is important for all of us to take turns doing it.smile

updated DIC 11, 2011
posted by Nicole-B
I agree, and I think Nicole should be the first one on duty!!!!. Your shift starts now, and you can't leave until you've welcomed 1,000 newbies or Monday morning ;^) - bdclark0423, ENE 8, 2010
I've noticed your efforts. In fact, you and Heidita are "role models" for us all. Always gracious... - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
yes, Nicole always does:) - 00494d19, ENE 8, 2010
As do you. You are truly indefatigable! (a word I only get to use once a decade!) - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
Indefatigable! Wow! Too bad we just started the decade. You'll have to wait 10 years to use that cool word again. ;-) - chaparrito, ENE 8, 2010
There's a Spanish word for this, too - infatigable. By the way, I'll put indefatigable into my "rarely-use-these-words" file, along with "awesome!" Which, when I hear it, makes me gag. - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
I just saw your comment bdclark. I will start my shift, but I am only working part time, so after 500 newbies, someone else will have to take over. - Nicole-B, ENE 8, 2010
I would also appreciate an increase in pay. jeje - Nicole-B, ENE 8, 2010
9
votes

Great reminder, Volpon! This is one of those topics that bears repeating.

After all, this is a free site where the members are unpaid and are here just because they like to be. That means at any given moment when new member asks their first question, who knows who will be around to answer and Welcome them to the Forum. And since there isn't a little flashing sign that says 'new member' or 'Welcome Me!', it takes a conscious effort to pay attention to the little numbers by the user's name to see that this may be their first question.

So the more people that keep this in mind then the more 'newbies' that will be made to feel welcome! grin

And regarding Mando-man's comment about being welcomed:

I was not either

Mando, I looked at your profile and see that you haven't asked a question yet. That is generally when 'newbies' are Welcomed, since that is the first opportunity for other members to address them directly. But since we've brought it up, why not now! And Drakus, too!

¡Bienvenidos a SpanishDict! smile We look forward to seeing you around! wink

updated DIC 11, 2011
posted by chaparrito
chappari is one of those too:) - 00494d19, ENE 8, 2010
He surely is! - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
8
votes

It's so nice that someone would even consider if they are doing enough to encourage newcomers. I've been on Spanishdict.com for about 6 months now and people are sooooooooo wonderful. I've asked some pretty stupid things but I've really learnt from those stupid things. Thank you to everyone.

I don't post much-and not in Spanish because I am worried about my mistakes. I'm definitely discouraged to post when I read harsh comments, even though I see the reasoning behind them.

To wrap up: I'm feeling very negative about my progress right now but coming across this thread makes me want to be a bit more active in getting involved, posting, practising and getting better...because judging by this thread, there are people who are willing to help. I hope in time, I'll be helping others.

updated DIC 11, 2011
posted by Ada-S
Don't be discouraged, I'm a beginner too and it is hard at times but I have learnt so much on here. Have a go at the beginner threads Heidita posted links to and have a look at Encouragement Island too. - MaryMcc, NOV 26, 2011
Ada, thanks for bringing this thread back to life and if I missed you in your first time here, bienvenida al foro.;) - Yeser007, NOV 27, 2011
8
votes

After one encounter with a newcomer who totally treated me rudely for HELPING him....I admit I'm kind of reluctant towards greeting the newbies in fear that I'll be cussed out again....confusedI do though sometimes when I see a new person...just not as often....I try to vote up good questions....Or answers...

UPDATE:::

I welcomed someone today so yay!

updated DIC 11, 2011
edited by sarahjs
posted by sarahjs
That's upsetting. Was the insult via personal message or here on line? - 0057ed01, ENE 7, 2010
There will always be cranky people Sarah. Don't worry about them. - Nicole-B, ENE 7, 2010
(laugh out loud) Acttually I was never welcome to the forum but I'm still here. :) - Drakus_Fett, ENE 8, 2010
ya - Mando-man, ENE 8, 2010
I was not either - Mando-man, ENE 8, 2010
I actually was welcoming them to the forum and asked them to watch their grammar and spelling...Then that person made a post named "to sarahjs" then they cussed me out....:( - sarahjs, ENE 8, 2010
I was hoping that you had not seen that. You're right, that was nasty. I think those kind of people are rare on this site, fortunately. ;-) - chaparrito, ENE 8, 2010
Oh I had seen it, and Goyo made me feel better...I felt sooo bad! And I know that people like that are rare on this site...This site is AWESOME!! - sarahjs, ENE 8, 2010
Good for Goyo! - chaparrito, ENE 8, 2010
Whoo!! - sarahjs, ENE 8, 2010
Oh and just so everyone know mando is my cousin :P I found that out to day - Drakus_Fett, ENE 8, 2010
Really? How did you guys find out? - sarahjs, ENE 8, 2010
7
votes

How many mistakes are you allowed before you are kicked off?

You are not kicked off as you call it for misspellingwink

It iis true, Valpon, I actually checked on your posts and you were never welcomed. confused

I am welcoming people forever...even those who post those obvious homework questions, but then...lately I have seen many people do the same.

I would like to add here:

Please welcome newbies whatever your reputation points are. Sometimes I get the feeling that people think only "oldies" can welcome people.wink

Well, you see a person with 0 rep points? Please welcome them!!

updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by 00494d19
OR with all zeroes - sarahjs, ENE 8, 2010
7
votes

As a newbie I made several mistakes such as posting in the wrong place and not correcting my Spanish. Since I was feeling my way around I felt that some consideration should have been given to me instead of being taken to the woodshed. I was afraid to post anything for several days after that. How many mistakes are you allowed before you are kicked off? I probably deserved what I got though. wink

updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by 00d7cd75
probably, but you're still here so that's a good sign:) - Yeser007, ENE 8, 2010
6
votes

Everybody is capable of learning something from the newest or most experienced of forum members. I am continually amazed about some of the interesting, and nuanced usages of the Spanish language which one can obtain on this site. I can't tell you the times my learning has been enhanced by simply repeating something I've learned and sharing it with a member who asked a question.

We all share, and from this sharing comes knowledge! Viva SpanishDict.com!

updated NOV 27, 2011
edited by 002262dd
posted by 002262dd
6
votes

I agree that good questions should continually be voted up and this is something that I practice. I also try to always greet newcomers when I can smile

I don't think that this is being done on a regular enough basis. I pledge to do better in the future smile

updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by sunshinzmommie
5
votes

Hello everybody, I have something to say in here, if you allow me. I do not know if I am the only one who feels these comments or not.This question was a good window for me, thanks 0057ed01 .
I have joined the forum since a couple of months. I was advised about it through a friend, I joined only to learn Spanish through the lessons, my friend did not know about the other activities and neither did I. I spent some time working only on the lessons and I do not remember how I started participating in the other activities like answers. My comments are:
1. There should be some way to acknowledge the new participates of the forum activities.
2. I want to start chatting because I am sure it will be the fastest way to learn Spanish but really I do not know how to start. I think an explanation method for participating would be better for all the activities.
3. I was flagged once for a post I thought it was funny, I might have misjudged my post. I changed it. My point is, a principle instruction to clear the main rules could have helped. Also I think to flag a new participate is a little bit hard, I would have changed my post if I understood the other point of view in any way.
4. I wanted to know about some points, but I did not know how and whom should I contact to help me, IndianaChris offered me the help through a message (and that was very nice of him). I still think that there should be a clear way for all to follow.

Finally I like to say that I like the forum too much, I really feel like family that is why I thought of what I presented.
Regards for all the admins and all participates and wish you all best of everything.

updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by aelborady
aelborady, please also post this on this more up-to-date thread: http://www.spanishdict.com/answers/197187/do-you-feel-down-not-learning-enough-come-to-encouragement-islandisla-de-apoyo - 00494d19, NOV 27, 2011
I will post my answer there too, if you do, thanks - 00494d19, NOV 27, 2011
5
votes

Good point, Sarahjs. Maybe we could take "all zeroes" as an invitation to read their profiles as well?

Totally agree! When I see all zeros I immediately want to know how old, where and whatever. Sometimes it make the question itself more understandable.

updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by Yeser007
Indeed it often makes the question more understandable. I'd been trying to find a way to say that. Thanks! - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
5
votes

I too was never welcomed to the site but have always felt welcome here. This is a fantastic group of people, new and old. As an administrator to a scuba board I always welcome newcomers and try to keep them coming back, that's how we grow, so it stand to reason I would continue that here. Aside from the administrators and moderators on Spanish Dict, there is a core group of people who I see constantly going all out and you should be commended. I'll start with Nicole and simply include everyone on this post so far to make it simple.

updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by Yeser007
well, here is your official welcome Yesero!! ;) - hlsbookworm, ENE 8, 2010
¡Muchas gracias! - Yeser007, ENE 8, 2010
well then WELCOMe :) - Drakus_Fett, ENE 8, 2010
¡Bienvenido al foro amigo mío! :) - EL_MAG0, NOV 26, 2011
5
votes

I was flagged twice the first week I started posting red face

updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by lorenzo9
Why? Please tell us... - 0057ed01, ENE 8, 2010
Yes Please do - Drakus_Fett, ENE 8, 2010
There were a few threads that were ridiculous and I posted answers that were intended to be humorous, but some people apparently didn't find them funny. - lorenzo9, ENE 9, 2010
4
votes
  1. There should be some way to acknowledge the new participates of the forum activities.

Please have a look at this beginner's guide, it is pasted on the rules of this site, and is a good starting point for beginnersgrin

And to answer almost all your other comments, like where are the resources or how to gain points etc, these are the FAQ

All of the above clearly visible when you join the forumgrin

  1. I want to start chatting because I am sure it will be the fastest way to learn Spanish but really I do not know how to start. I think an explanation method for participating would be better for all the activities.

The chat function is under the more tab...

  1. I was flagged once for a post I thought it was funny, I might have misjudged my post. I changed it. My point is, a principle instruction to clear the main rules could have helped. Also I think to flag a new participate is a little bit hard, I would have changed my post if I understood the other point of view in any way.

This was adressed in private

  1. I wanted to know about some points, but I did not know how and whom should I contact to help me, IndianaChris offered me the help through a message (and that was very nice of him). I still think that there should be a clear way for all to follow.

Oh, nice, Chris is one of our superstars heresmile

Finally I like to say that I like the forum too much, I really feel like family that is why I thought of what I presented.

We are happy you like it heresmile

updated NOV 27, 2011
posted by 00494d19
Thanks dear Heidita, I will start to look for what I missed using your reply. - aelborady, NOV 27, 2011
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