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I recently gained some reviewing privileges here on Biology and really enjoy using them to the best of my ability. I like being fair and giving people - especially new users - the best possible chance at having their question answered.

However, whenever I review the post of a new user I end up giving them a rather stock comment of, "Welcome to Biology S.E.! If you need additional assistance, please visit The Help Center." On occasion, I will change part of that and add something about this was an excellent question or perhaps, that I had to down vote it - in which case, I try to explain why.

My question is: should I be giving the same boring comment to every new user or should I find some way to liven it up a little? Also, is there anything I should add to my welcome? Additional links, information, anything like that?

My apologies if this sounds a little bit basic. I'm just trying to get a feel for what you would write as a reviewer or want written if you were new.

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    $\begingroup$ I think in general your welcoming words are great. However, referring to the help center when the question is good or at least acceptable may be a bit of an overkill. $\endgroup$ – AliceD Mar 23 '15 at 23:17
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD I see what you're saying. I tend to do that for future reference for the asker; however, I totally get what you mean! $\endgroup$ – L.B. Mar 24 '15 at 20:04
  • $\begingroup$ Please don't do this in general, as this would be kind of misuse of the comments. Use it only in the cases where it is necessary. $\endgroup$ – Chris May 26 '15 at 17:49
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    $\begingroup$ @Chris I was not aware of that being a misuse. I saw it as being a kind, helpful gesture and I appreciated it when others did it for me on new sites. $\endgroup$ – L.B. May 26 '15 at 23:42
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    $\begingroup$ @L.B. the general rule on SE is to keep comments to a minimum. Mods regularly delete old or irrelevant comments. If I were a mod here, I would delete your comments on sight since they're not really relevant to the question. Our objective here is to have short, concise questions and answers. Anything that adds noise (including normally welcome things like welcoming notes, salutations and "thank you") should be avoided in the interest of brevity. Think of biology.se like a wikipedia analog, where we want "just the facts, ma'am." $\endgroup$ – terdon May 27 '15 at 15:43
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A lot SE have help templates for both user old and new. I don't think Bio has one yet but I haven't gone through every meta thread either to verify this. As for should you use the same canned comment or liven it up, that is entirely up to you. For a time on TeX.SE, I used to use the canned comments but they didn't always address my sentiment. Therefore, I no longer use them on any site. If I am going to comment, I put the onus on me with providing the desired information and being personable at the same time; however, this was an individual decision and may not be what is right for everyone. That is, it is your call on how you want to handle it. If you are so inclined, you can develop your own canned comments tailored to your personality as long as they aren't rude or disrespectful or violate any SE/Bio policies.

If you would like, I can provide the links to Math.SE and TeX.SE canned comments. You can use them as a guide post for your own comments or to start a Bio comment thread here in meta as well.

https://math.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/4925/list-of-comment-templates

https://tex.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/430/text-building-blocks

I decided to provide the links anyways in case others may be interested. I started Comment templates to provide to new users or users who need a reminder due to this questions. If you know of any comment templates that would be useful to Bio.SE, please add them to linked thread.

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you so much! This was very helpful! $\endgroup$ – L.B. Mar 22 '15 at 23:44
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Please don't do this. As a general rule, we try to keep comments to a minimum on the SE sites. This type of comment, while polite and all, is just noise. It clutters up the site and gives nothing really useful.

I would instead only leave such a comment if the OP seems to need it. If they need help formatting their question, point them to the formatting help page. If they have posted something that is not on topic, give them a link to the on-topic page.

Posting a boilerplate welcome note to any question by a new user is both just noise, as I said above, and also can be taken as condescending. It could be read as suggesting you think there is something wrong with the post.

I would strongly urge you to stop posting these comments and instead only guide users who have shown a need for guidance.

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