Last night, I saw something that kinda sucked. A brand new user, just formed out of the nodegel two hours ago, was eaten by the EDB for asking a question in the chatterbox. In retrospect, it was a rather obvious question, and the answer could have been found in any number of helpful documents around the database. I spoke out on the devoured noder’s behalf, and was quickly informed by several gods that the user in question along with some others had been making a nuisance of themselves lately. The general consensus seemed to be that they hadn’t read the faq. Toasterleavings has an excellent Suggestion for e2 on the topic which I intend to expand upon as well as add my own ideas.

When a new user creates an account, he is sent an email that looks like this:

Hey there.  Welcome to Everything.

Here's the skinny:

username: whatever
passwd: XXXXXXX
real(tm) name: whatever

to login go to:

and you can find your homenode at:

love, the management
It doesn't even tell new users to check out everything univerity or E2 Faq. The new email should very contain the full text of one of our many wonderful instructional writeups, such as E2 quick start. The password for the new account will be placed at the end of the letter to ensure that the user at least skims the document, perhaps learning some of the basics by osmosis.. Maybe he'll even read the text with interest. At the end of the document he is rewarded with his password.

Here's how I think it should be: When the new noder logs into the system, he is greeted with a javascript prompt (which is hard to ignore) informing him that he is a Level 0 user, to advance to Level 1 they just need to take a little test. As a Level 0 user (what should the level title be? "Newbie Noder"? "Borg Meat"?) they are entitled to

To become Level 1 and be allowed to make writeups, they must take a noder's test to show knowledge of HTML (reeeeeeal basic stuff like <BR> and <i>), How to hardlink, and perhaps some basic terms such as "Soft Link", "Death Borg", etc.

Upon completion of the test, (assuming he passed) the user is allowed to make writeups, which will appear on the editor's homepage like New Writeups or Cool User Picks. The user will not be able to pass on to level 2 (maybe not even leave the noder's nursery) until an editor clicks a little button that says "denewbify." Doing that says that the user has a general idea of what s/he is doing and can be trusted with higher level toys like votes, or (God Forbid) homenode images.

If the user does not pass, they should be allowed to take it again after a short waiting period. Get multiple failures, and the user would perhaps be informed that noding might not be for them, and there's plenty of accounts over at H2G2.

Hopefully, this system will help new noders overcome the intimidation that the database brings with it. It may also cause users to not even bother with e2, thinking we're a bunch of elitist jerks who don't want anybody to join our club. Oh well.

    Random thoughts and stuff stolen from other's Suggestions for E2:
  1. Generate an automatic /msg to all new users "randomeditor says Hello and Welcome to our database. You might find that getting started can be hard, as the natives are often restless and some have votes just itching for bad stuff. To avoid being downvoted please read what ever document is deemed worthy."
  2. Allow Level 0 users to submit writeups that go straight to an editor weblog to be accepted?
  3. Expand EDB into the database, let him "eat" consistently bad noders and force them to retake the test (May also keep experienced users from noding while drunk)
  4. Allow "multiple instances" of the chatterbox to let mentors be both outside and in noder's nursery
  5. Auto-assign new users Mentors, Level 0 users can make any writeup but it must be approved by their mentor.
  6. (combine with suggestion #2 or 5 above) Level 0 noders have no XP system, so downvotes don't count against them and scare them off, but simply alert the user that there's a problem.
If you've got any input/suggestions/personal insults don't hesitate to add them, unless of course you're Level 0.

(read the next few writeups now)
longwinter: I hope you didn't think that I said new users are stupid. There just needs to be more of a reason to read e2 faq and everything university. If it weeds out the bottom 10% of noders, It's a shame, but in the long run it will be much less of a hassle for the editors and gods, who I also hold in high esteem. I want to reaffirm the fact that this would be a very easy test, and if you'd truly read and understood the docs, it would be no trouble at all.

Tem42: That's a good idea. The only possible thing I could think of is that it may discourage people in distant time zones, since less people online == less votes for them.

FelonyMPulse: If you and your friend learned E2 so quickly, then my little test won't stop you in the least. However, it would stop the foul mouthed eight year old with an affinity for Power Rangers and no way of deactivating his caps lock key.