Looking for feedback on how best to welcome beginners to the forum


Hi all,

Want to get your feedback on an idea I’ve been toying with for a while now.

Sometimes there’s a suggestion from new members that they don’t really know where to start or where to go next so I thought I might make a post entitled “Start here” or similar and it would be a small(ish) topic that steps through some of the more basic concepts: “network fundamentals”, “how to browse the alpha network”, “developing for the network”, etc. I know there’s a few (excellent) posts dotted around that are really useful but there’s no single place that I would know to always start from.

Originally I considered sending a DM to people when they left a message in “Introduce yourself” but is there a chance that might be too much like a used car salesman jumping on you as soon as you walk on to the forecourt?

I’d also quite like to hear a new member’s first impressions as there’s a chance we’re too close to see what’s right in front of our faces so encouraging comments might generate some very useful feedback.

Now, obviously, I don’t want to step on anyone’s toes and I wouldn’t want it to be too corporate or whatever. Thus my post here.

What are your thoughts? :thinking:



Maybe a custom Discourse bot can be useful?


Anything would be good - I like the idea of a pinned ‘start here’ indexy sort of thing. A bot might be good too if you can turn it off :wink:


Sounds good to me Dug.


I agree that further information consolidation is definitely needed. I mentioned earlier that an FAQ on the forum was greatly needed due to the relative level of activity here. I find the same questions asked repeatedly. My suggestion is to start a topic for crowd sourced FAQ data. Compile the information given by the community in a separate FAQ topic with links and answers to relevant information.

This needs to be a complete list of everything SAFE and updated as new information comes along. Querying the community should only then become a last resort. Use everything as a resource. Tear pages for the primer, white paper and main website if need be. Pointing prospective users to multiple sites has been a pain for me. Especially if the resource I provide feeds them information they are not yet ready for or simply don’t care about.

An FAQ allows for a tight index of questions to be skimmed through for easy navigation. Each link when clicked on could be expanded to provide the requested answer. When finished the user can then click again to collapse the answer into the question to save screen space and avoid having them jump back and forth between question and answer.

The current FAQ at the .tech site doesn’t seem to do this and the text is quite large. Taking a lot of room and requires a ton of scrolling to get through it all. UX is essential here. A good example of decent UX is wikipedia.com on mobile. Though I would make the text even smaller. Maybe 16 - 18px max.


A pined “start here” would be good. Especially if it contained regularly maintained links to the latest versions of the browser, WHM and others. That, hopefully, would let n00bs get tore in straight away.


I agree. That’s both a good idea and a great starting point for beginners



No hiding where home-base is…


It might be useful to have more than one “start here” forum. Perhaps a General User FAQ with simplistic explanations of what the SAFE network is for those who simply want to know why they should use it and how to do it with no tech speak - Plain English certified and a separate Developer FAQ for those who’d like to take a look at the open source materials and perhaps contribute or make suggestions.


I agree they should be divided but not by placing them in two separate threads. The FAQ should include both layman and dev FAQ’s. The answers to the questions should go in depth with as much layman terminology as possible and link to further reading when possible. A one stop shop is what we desperately need IMO. Dev questions are distinct and should be concentrated below the beginner FAQ. Same principle should apply to dev FAQ. While devs could understand some of the more technical terminology there is no reason to inundate novice devs with overly technical explanations if possible.


I agree that information’s consolidation is quitely needed.



Another addition may even be to look at a buddy type system. Where you link up a newbie to a more seasoned member where they can feel free to DM the seasoned member any questions they may have.

Dunno just a caffeine fueled idea.


I like that idea. Never switch to decaf


Not that relevant here and nothing new, but interesting article anyway: What nobody tells you about documentation.


@DGeddes is on holiday this week but I’m sure he will want to follow up on this idea (well I hope so cause I like it)


Hi @DGeddes, I’m new here and so far I’ve only engaged with @discobot but I have found the “induction process” fairly inviting. I have joined a few Discord servers before and some have been total chaos, others have been pretty well organised, but with too much “editorial” influence. I am still finding my way around and there is a wealth of info here to digest. Newcomers are going to have different levels of understanding, so it would be difficult to provide a roadmap that suited everyone. I like the idea suggested below your post i.e. smart chatbot. I have messed around with them a bit and they can be very useful. No expert in any of this.


Hi! To find out what I can do, say @discobot display help.


@draw I like the idea of a smart chatbot and I read some of the thread you started. Here’s a chatbot written in Rust.

“ChatDisplayName”: “<color=#00FF00>[Chatbot]”,
“BotCooldownInSeconds”: 15.0,
“TimedMessages”: [
“Message”: “Your first chatbot message”,
“InitialCooldown”: 0.0,
“Cooldown”: 3.0
“AutomatedResponses”: [
“Message”: “Your first autoresponse”,
“SendToServer”: true,
“TriggerWordSets”: [
“Message”: “This is a private autoresponse”,
“SendToServer”: false,
“TriggerWordSets”: [

Still learning. The blockquote messed up the indentations in the code.


To be clear: I haven’t looked too deeply into how to configure/make a chatbot, it was just an idea. Can you integrate that Rust chatbot with the Discourse (!= Discord) forum? That would be a plus. I would also think the smarter one wants to make a chatbox, the more complicated it will become to make and configure and the more time it will take. So start or keep it with an easy/dumb version, that is not much more than an interactive faq?


Hi @Draw I have started researching the issue. I am not a developer, but I sort of understand the concepts. I will add a load more links in a while I am still getting my head around the idea at the moment. I’m never quite sure how relevant things are so forgive me if I send some stupid links.
I have played around with bots on Pandorabots platform and messed a bit with AIML scripts and I’ve set up a google bot on a twitter account, but I haven’t followed through with much more research. Bots can certainly be useful. Good for FAQ’s etc, but that is just the start.