We have already developed a bit of a habit of welcoming new users explicitly in comments, and using the comments to guide behaviour. To made this a bit easier I thought we could collect standard / boilerplate comments here for repeated use. I believe tex.SE does this as well. Now that we are indeed getting more new users, this seems even more necessary.

Please add/edit as you see fit.

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Related: meta.mathematica.stackexchange.com/q/138/5 –  rm -rf Aug 2 '12 at 23:25
    
@R.M I've done that now. –  Verbeia Aug 3 '12 at 0:18
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Perhaps we should slightly adapt the message to the situation at hand in order to make it sound more warm and human and not an automated process? –  Sjoerd C. de Vries Aug 3 '12 at 6:23
    
@SjoerdC.deVries yes, but having something to start with is much more efficient. –  Verbeia Aug 3 '12 at 6:46
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I'd also add a note for all that if you see someone already leave a hello greeting, then don't copy-paste another one from here just because the first one wasn't "complete". Instead, see what they've missed and add that as a separate comment sans the welcome part (for e.g., reminding them to register). I think a few days ago, I saw a post where at least 3 users had piled on welcomes. Somehow, that doesn't come across as friendly, but rather nagging. If I joined a new site and was immediately greeted with "hello! please register!" from 3 users, my instinct would be to ruuuuuun! –  rm -rf Aug 22 '12 at 13:37
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4 Answers

Welcome to Mathematica.SE! I suggest the following: 1) As you receive help, try to give it too, by answering questions in your area of expertise. 2) Read the faq! 3) When you see good questions and answers, vote them up by clicking the gray triangles, because the credibility of the system is based on the reputation gained by users sharing their knowledge. Also, please remember to accept the answer, if any, that solves your problem, by clicking the checkmark sign!

Copyable text:

Welcome to Mathematica.SE! I suggest the following: 
1) As you receive help, try to give it too, by **answering questions** in your area of expertise. 
2) Read the [faq]!
3) When you see good questions and answers, vote them up by [clicking the gray triangles](http://tinyurl.com/ch98nrh), because the credibility of the system is based on the reputation gained by users sharing their knowledge.
Also, please remember to accept the answer, if any, that solves your problem, [by clicking the checkmark sign](http://tinyurl.com/4srwe2t)!
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I'd suggest an mma graphics for the checkmark too instead of redirecting to meta.so. –  rm -rf Aug 4 '12 at 0:22
    
@R.M Me too, but that post explains how accepting works. Please feel free to enhance my text –  belisarius Aug 4 '12 at 0:30
    
I made a few minor edits that reads OK to me, but there's always room for more. (Not quite sure how to make the format of the copy the same as the top version, or the formatting of comments.) –  cormullion Aug 5 '12 at 14:57
    
@cormullion Thanks! I re-edited keeping most of your edits because 1) It is intended to use as a comment, so no formatting is allowed. and 2) Your mods exceeded the max length of a comment –  belisarius Aug 5 '12 at 17:29
    
:) thank you - forgot about the max length too! –  cormullion Aug 5 '12 at 19:03
    
Allow me to welcome you to Mathematica.SE and remind you of three things we usually do here: 1) As you receive help, try to give it too, by answering questions in your area of expertise. 2) Read the FAQs! 3) When you see good Q&A, vote them up by clicking the gray triangles, because the credibility of the system is based on the reputation gained by users sharing their knowledge. ALSO, remember to accept the answer, if any, that solves your problem, by clicking the checkmark sign –  belisarius Aug 5 '12 at 19:15
    
"Allow me to welcome you to Mathematica.SE" sounds so solemn to me that it would scare me :-). Why not simply "Welcome to Mathematica.SE", like also Verbeia suggested? –  stevenvh Aug 22 '12 at 11:24
    
@stevenh English is not my first language, as you surely know. The solemnity comes from there. Something like the Indians calling you "Sir" :). In Spanish "allow me" is not solemn at all. –  belisarius Aug 22 '12 at 11:38
    
I've seen this so many times by now that I mostly just skip past it, but thinking about it a bit more (after stevenvh's comment), I feel it comes across as a bit patronizing. "Let me remind you" sounds like you're subtly letting them know of something they should've known and done, but don't and haven't done so. Like for example, having a 0% accept rate and no votes despite asking 10 questions and being a member for 2 months. I guess it could be reworded for a new user to not come across as preachy –  rm -rf Aug 22 '12 at 13:42
    
@R.M Please feel free to edit it, or suggest a better wording, tuned for the intention. Of course the idea is not to sound patronizing. Do you think "Let me remind you three things we usually do here" -> "I suggest the following" is better? –  belisarius Aug 22 '12 at 14:26
    
@Verde I actually do like it as a message for a not-so-new user... I'll try to come up with an alternative for a new user –  rm -rf Aug 22 '12 at 15:05
    
+1 Very useful, thank you. –  Vitaliy Kaurov Aug 25 '12 at 8:35
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@cormullion been annoying me for a while too... removed now! –  Oleksandr R. Dec 2 '12 at 0:43
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@belisarius while we're at it, would it be better to remove the other backticks as well? After all, we do warn new users not to use code formatting for emphasis... –  Oleksandr R. Dec 2 '12 at 1:40
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@Szabolcs Here's the full list: meta.stackoverflow.com/q/92060 –  rm -rf Dec 10 '12 at 17:54
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Unregistered user

By the way, welcome to Mathematica.SE! Please consider registering your account so that any upvotes you get on this question are added to those you might get on future questions and answers. That way, over time you will be able to do more on the site (post graphics, edit things, etc).

Longer version of the above (includes tip to watch for comments)

Xxxxxxx, welcome to Mathematica.SE! Please consider registering your account so that any upvotes you get on this question are added to those you might get on future questions and answers. That way, over time you will be able to do more on the site (post graphics, edit things, etc). Another tip: after posting a question stay around for a little while, to answer questions raised by commenters. This will streamline the Q&A process considerably.

New user who hasn't formatted code properly

Welcome to Mathematica.SE! In case you didn't know, you can format your code better by putting four spaces at the front of every code block (or click on the curly-brace button above the question editing area). Further, wrap short inline code snippets in a pair of backticks ``. This will make your post easier to read.

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Instead of describing formatting methods in a comment I suggest linking to this. –  Mr.Wizard Aug 3 '12 at 2:09
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General welcome, loosely based on belisarius' suggestion:

Welcome to Mathematica.SE. Start by taking time to read the FAQ. This site is a collaborative effort, so don't only ask, but also give, by answering questions in your area of expertise. Also important, when you see good Q&A, upvote them, it shows appreciation. And accept the answer which best answers your question. Again, appreciation, but also a sign for others that the problem has been solved. Enjoy.

Hinting new user to markdown help:

The styling of your question can be improved. Please take the time to read the markdown help page. You'll better communicate your problem when you use the right formatting.

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Per request of belisarius, here I reproduce my comment to a recent question, where the OP asked basically to solve his/her problem from scratch:

Sorry, it's not going to happen. Show us some effort, learn the basics of Mathematica programming, meet us half way. There are tons of resources available, on this site and elsewhere. We are happy to help people who have specific difficulties and show us specific minimal code examples which exhibit them, but this is not the place to get your work done for you from scratch.

I realize that this may sound a bit harsh, and quite unlike the other greeting comments, but I also agree that sometimes we should state the rules of the game in plain English, and tell people straight, that as they expect certain amount of help from us, there are things we expect from them in return - basically to do their homework.

Note that such "greetings" as this one above, seem only appropriate in response to attempts of a direct abuse of our site and our folks here, by people who clearly expect us to do all the work for them from scratch. I don't advocate using this form of reply in less extreme situations.

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+1, agree completely. Well, except that I don't think it sounds harsh: any poster to whom this comment is necessary has come to the site with unreasonable expectations, and correcting this as quickly and directly as possible will help them to get a more favorable reaction and improve the chances of mutually beneficial future interactions. Even if what's on offer at this site is not what the user is looking for, at least they won't waste their time here while remaining in doubt about that fact. –  Oleksandr R. Mar 14 '13 at 5:05
    
@OleksandrR. Yes,I agree. I meant that if this is the very first response that the brand new user receives on the site, it may sound a bit harsh (since some users are just not used to our rules), but not in other cases. But, I would say, from the point of view of our benefits, if the user does not stick with us afterwards, we may be better off :) –  Leonid Shifrin Mar 14 '13 at 11:17
    
Thanks for posting it. I'm sure I'll use it more than once. –  belisarius Mar 15 '13 at 8:05
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