Tips for interacting with new/returning users

Hey everyone.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve had lots of new and returning users. The Welcome Team would like to address how we approach talking to these users and to each other. As Awesome_E said,

The goal of orientation topics (like the Introduce Yourself topic) is to welcome new and returning users, and to introduce them to the forum and its mechanics. Through these topics, we can open the forum to users, help them with code, and engage them in everything else we do here. Of late, we’ve been noticed quite a bit of negativity in these welcomes, especially when the user is unaware of the new/changed rules. We’d like to introduce some guidelines on how to welcome these users in a positive way.

1. Stay positive!

Talk to the user in a compassionate way. If you have constructive criticism, frame it with positivity,and restructure the post to better reflect that positive tone. Remember that there is a real person behind the screen with feelings like yours.

Although its more wordy, this example is effective because it clears up why the topic would be closed, and how the user could rejoin the conversation on the forum. The other one leaves the user hanging and seems like you’re shutting them and their ideas down, which is something we should never do. All messages should be helpful, productive and kind, and the best way to achieve this is through thoughtful posts. When you ask a user to change their behavior, all you need to do is explain why you’re making that correction and how the user can share their talents instead to effectively help them understand the workings of the forum.

2. Use “pokes” to gently nudge the user to helpful resources

With the addition of the “notify” feature to the forum, you can now send a user a notification “poking” them to a certain topic! Perfect for when you don’t have time to write an entire post, you can go to the topic in question, press the “Share” button under the “Topic Controls” tab, and click the Notify button and add the user you’d like to notify to the topic!

Then you can simply write a quick post like this:

Hey, welcome back! :)) The rules have changed a bit since you were last on, but don’t worry! I poked you to the community guidelines and you can see the new rules there :D

3. Be aware of the entire situation

In order to maintain a helpful reintroduction process, it’s important for everyone to consider context. Theres nothing more overwhelming and alienating than having many people “gang up” on you to tell you that youve done something wrong, especially as a new or returning user. One helpful reminder is enough —everyone on this forum is smart enough to understand it— and when done right is an effective way to set the user on a right path.

If you see a topic that isnt allowed where people have already explained the guidelines and tagged @Leaders for a clive, leave it be. Everything that was necessary has been done and adding on more reminders is counterproductive.

4. Search before you post and feedback on bug reports

The phrase “search before you post” (SBYP) is a friendly reminder used when a “new” bug/feature request turns out to exist in a different topic. However, using this term can come across as condescending or unhelpful without information to back up the post!

A more compassionate decision would be to provide a link to the topic in question, and include positive feedback to the person who posted the topic!

As shown in the example above, the best thing you can do is link the original topic instead of asking the topic poster to do so. This can be very problematic if the person doesn’t know what the original topic was titled or how to search for it, and since they created the duplicate topic unknowingly, they’re likely having a hard time getting help. Having them do more work that they’ll struggle with is counterproductive and doesn’t solve their issue either, so make sure to provide a link with some constructive feedback to ensure that the OP feels respected and the discussion can continue :))

We hope those tips were helpful in relearning welcome etiquette. We strongly encourage you to follow them and hope you understand and actively work to make the hopscotch forum a better place for everyone!

If you need any help or have any questions, tag one of us! We’re here as both a resource for you, whether youre an active Hopscotcher or a new/returning one. Thanks for your efforts in making the hopscotch forum better for everyone!

~ The Forum Welcome Team



That’s a lot of writing, first post!


second post

Excellent topic!!


Exactly what I was trying to say


This is such great guidance; thank you for writing it. If only my adult peers could be as thoughtful and constructive in their communication! HSF is cultivating better online communication skills for the next generation.


I’m glad that it can be helpful. our goal was to help bridge those communication gaps between peers and encourage productive and meaningful feedback and responses, and i hope we can see more constructive conversation in the future. :)


Thanks for writing all this out, was super helpful!