Hello, all my friends here at Sonic News Network.
The following passage is quite long. If you do not like long paragraphs, well, not like I'm gonna force you to read this. But I ask that you at least get the general idea of what I'm talking about.
Also, all users mentioned here are used purely as examples; I do not mean offense to any user this blog may link to.
So. I don't really know why I was doing this, but I was looking at some of my friends' userpages. I was bored, I guess. I hadn't really checked them in a while. I was looking at SilverPlays97's page when I spotted his chat message for underedits. I'd seen it used before in chat, but when I read it this time, I noticed something I hadn't noticed before.
While it uses the words "deeply sorry" near the start of the message, overall it doesn't seem like the most polite thing to say to a new user, who is most likely younger than everyone else on the chat. Of course, when Silver uses this message he is simply abiding by the rules and helping out, which is great. But as I was reading it, I remembered another time when I was on the chat...
I'm not sure how many people with chat moderator rights were on the chat at this time, but obviously not many. A new user joined the chat, but he had insufficient edits. I think his username had "Omega" in it, but I'm not sure. It's not important anyway, but that's what I'll call him. Sacorguy79 decided to take the necessary actions to tell the user about the 100 edit rule. But as far as I'm concerned, he had nothing to copy paste. So instead he said hello. Omega probably replied back, but I'm not 100% on that. Sacor then went on to inform the underedit about the rule. But without copy-pasting anything, and in real-time conversation with the user. And unlike any other underedit I've ever seen, Omega apologized before pretty much immediately leaving the chat after Sacor had told the user that it was okay.
Several users then commented afterward that this was the nicest thing they'd seen on chat in terms of underedits. And I completely agree.
So then I went on and did a bit of research among the other chat moderators and administrators. Of course, not every user has their copy-paste message on their userpage, if they have one at all, but sure enough, some of the people I found had messages that could possibly repel new users. If you were new, and someone threw a message like one of the following in your face, wouldn't you think a bit poorly of the members on this wiki?
Sure, there's nothing really wrong with copy-pasting a message. In fact, it's quick, efficient, and pretty consistent among every underedit. But the thing is, not many of those users ever come back. I'm pretty sure Omega never returned after that day, but at least he was treated like a normal user and part of the community, unlike all the other users who get treated with a copy-pasted message and a ban threat.
I'm pretty sure the 100 edit rule was made so to encourage users to help out and contribute to the wiki. And I bet it probably works when it comes to most users (heck, it worked on me). So it's a great rule. But if the first thing you do to a new user is paste a lazy rule-enforcing message with spelling errors and repeated phrases right in their face, you might be actually... discouraging them from editing. And not because of the rule itself, but because of the way we enforce it.
And do you know what I think is really sad? Those users who walk away from the wiki are completely missing out. We have a great community here, and nearly everyone is super-nice and helpful. I can still remember my first day on this wiki's chat. I would go as far as to say that that moment was one of my favorite ever online moments. All the users welcomed me, and they were introducing themselves and I was physically smiling the entire time. Actually smile during an online conversation? That's precisely what I was doing. I want all the new users to feel the same way I did. Happy and accepted.
So. Here's what I'm here to propose. We should get rid of all the copy-paste messages for chat underedits. Not because copy-pasting is bad or anything, but because it has a chance of offending a user. Then the way we deal with new underedit chat users should be done politely and in real-time. That means we should say hello and welcome the user to the wiki before informing them about the rule and asking them to leave, all the while leaving time for the user to respond and communicate with our wonderful community.
I believe that taking these simple actions will encourage users to contribute to this wiki. They'll want to come back to the chat to experience the same welcomes and smiles that they did when they were informed about the rule. And even if they don't, it'll better the formality of the wiki, not that the wiki wasn't amazing by those standards in the first place, of course. Besides which, isn't it the job of a chat moderator to enforce the rules politely the first time around? It's certainly what I would do if I was one.
I would like to thank all you readers for your time in reading this article. I would also like to thank all the users mentioned in this article for their quotes (not that I asked for them...) and for understanding that I am using them as examples and do not mean them offense in any way (all the users I mentioned are great users really; I mean, how else would they have gotten their respective user rights?).