Recently, I was fifteen seconds into a welcome comment on a new user's first question on which no comments had been made when the question was closed—without comment—as a duplicate. I posted my welcome comment, but the event left me uneasy.

Closing the question as a duplicate is absolutely not the issue: the question really was a duplicate. The issue I have is that the question was closed without first welcoming the new user.

Should a new user's status be acknowledged before managing the new user's question?

Note: Exceptions abound, of course. Managing misogynistic, racist, antisocial, or other loaded questions first and then dealing with the new user appropriately is, indeed, the proper course. This question concerns itself with the vast majority of nonevil new users who pose in good faith real questions that seek real solutions from the site's experts.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Is there some indication on a question that a user is new? If not, this might not be a problem we solve without petitioning for a few feature. \$\endgroup\$
    – GMJoe
    Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 21:51
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe Single-digit reputation is usually a pretty clear indicator, but the user's profile tells a more in-depth story. A Be nice; I'm new! note, flag, hover-over, or whatever would, of course, be awesomer… especially in the Review queue. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 13, 2018 at 22:22
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GMJoe Well, that was a thing that happened (at least for main site stuff; I've not checked the review queue). Yay! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 14:23

3 Answers 3


Either can happen in either order. There's not a material difference between them.

In fact I'd encourage you to close first so as to not leave moderation measures waiting 2-5 minutes longer than necessary because of writing a comment first. If something needs closing, closing it ASAP is important. Most of the time you'll only be close vote #1–4 and you'll have plenty of time before something actually gets closed to write your comment after your close vote. On the rare occasion you might be close vote #5 or be closing the question unilaterally, get that done ASAP once you're sure it's the right course of action.

I've closed plenty of questions, and more often than not I do so prior to leaving any comments (including welcoming comments). The vast majority of the time it makes no apparent difference: I leave feedback and the user responds, makes revisions if it's the kind of situation where that can happen, etc. A couple of times they've asked a "why was this put on hold?" in the time it's taken me to write that, then they get their answer and we carry on.


YES, but...

In this case, probably two workflows overlapped:

  1. Someone that isn't really into commenting noticed the duplicate, tagged it
    1. Others that just read the queue gave the "yep, is a dupe" vote.
  2. Someone (YOU) spotted the question of a new user and wrote the welcome. 1.1 is done by the time they still type the comment.

Is this a problem?

Probably yes, as it would be best if the one finding the problem question would write the welcome comment. And indeed, we had earlier itterations about our behavior to newcomers, especially these I feel somewhat related:

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Aha! As I opt to no longer interact with the review queue, it didn't occur to me that the issue might be grounded in that part of the site instead of in the main. Thank you for reminding me that this might be an issue with that rather than current users not seeming more welcoming to new users! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jun 2, 2018 at 20:54


It's OK to have an awkward moment when entering a new group. This group can be frustrating to enter. The only reason I stuck around at all after my initial rebuff was because I am ornery and stubborn. Not everyone has those {virtues?} traits.

Let's at least offer the benefit of the doubt.


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