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With all the talk about branding I wondered what the new user greeting on our site is. So I logged out and was greeted by:

Welcome to Q&A for expert users of TeX, LaTeX and other related typesetting systems -- check out the FAQ!

Which I think is fine and means that the site is identifiably even if the name is changed to something that does not contain LateX or TeX (I hope ConTeXt users are okay with being a “related typesetting systems”. ConTeXt is mentioned explicitly in the faq).

But: Could we have the “--” replaced by an en- or em-dash (there are HTML entities and Unicode entries for them). This is about typesetting after all!

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    Just saw the message for myself and wish I could vote for this more than once! It really isn't a nice, welcoming message at all. It makes no sense grammatically ("Welcome to Q&A"???) and the "expert" is really off-putting. – Loop Space Oct 16 '10 at 21:07
  • I agree that "expert" is off-putting. I'm no expert, and this site has helped me a lot. Also, the word "other" is redundant. – Neil G Oct 18 '10 at 19:50
  • Could it help to add "design" and "bug" to the tags to notify Jin of this? (Or is this a stupid idea?) – Hendrik Vogt Dec 13 '10 at 15:14
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Hmmmm, I think the whole thing could be improved.

Thoughts:

  • Q&A isn't a thing to be welcomed to
  • you don't have to be an expert user
  • ConTeXt should be mentioned
  • I think a polite request to read the FAQ before posting would be more my style than an imperative command to "check it out"

With that said, here's a possible replacement:

Welcome to our Q&A site for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems. Before posting, please read the FAQ for guidelines on how to ask and answer questions. Have fun!

Comment: I hope the original author of the message does not take offence to my suggestion here; I am fully aware that just writing the message was the important thing to do in the beginning and I suspect there's a good chance the author isn't a native English speaker—please accept my comments as friendly suggestions only and not criticisms.

  • I think the term “expert” is especially inappropriate. Will’s suggestion is very good. – domwass Oct 15 '10 at 7:45
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    I would also have a separate "welcome page" that was distinct from the FAQ. I think that an FAQ servers a different purpose to a "Things newcomers should know". – Loop Space Oct 15 '10 at 9:17
  • +1, great suggestion! – topskip Oct 15 '10 at 18:02
  • hmm, good suggestion but it's a bit long for something designed to fit in the top "bar" in a 1024x768 (typical) browser window. That said I did edit the audience field as you suggested. – Jeff Atwood Dec 14 '10 at 9:12
  • @Jeff @Jin: Thank you! This is definitely an improvement. – Caramdir Dec 14 '10 at 16:01
  • @Jeff: what's the character limit? It's certainly better than it was, but I can think of the odd tweak that might polish it just a little, only I don't want to fall afoul of the limit. – Loop Space Dec 14 '10 at 21:07
  • @Andrew: maybe open a new question. As this one in closed and {status-completed}, it will probably be ignored by most people. – Caramdir Dec 15 '10 at 16:31
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This now even made it into Hacker News (mentioned by Jin in the "chat"). There someone wrote

The fact that they still haven't replaced the double-hyphen in the n00b banner with a proper en-dash is a painful irony on a site devoted to TeX.

I haven't seen the welcome banner for quite some time -- I've looked at it now, and he's right, it's painful. Incidentally, the "--" I just used is also painful ...

updated EDIT:

Jeff added a "status-completed" tag, but this is misleading: The dash is nice now, "expert" has gone, and "ConTeXt" has come. Will's other suggestions are missing. As Jeff says, Will's text is too long.

What I'd suggest: If it still fits, replace at least the slightly awkwark "Q&A" with "our Q&A site", as Will suggested.

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    We have put in this fix lastnight, should be on production very soon. – Jin Dec 13 '10 at 17:32
  • @Jin: Thanks, great! – Hendrik Vogt Dec 13 '10 at 17:39
  • @Jin: Is it just the dash that's getting fixed, or the whole message? – Loop Space Dec 13 '10 at 20:01
  • @Andrew just the dash. – Jin Dec 13 '10 at 20:24
  • @Jin: any chance of getting the whole message changed in line with the comments above? Or is that something we have to take up with "Higher Powers"? – Loop Space Dec 13 '10 at 21:50
  • @Andrew The message update has been completed. – Jin Dec 14 '10 at 9:14
  • Now it doesn't say expert any more... – Yossi Farjoun Dec 14 '10 at 15:08
  • @Yossi: Oh, right, and ConTeXt is there now. I only saw the slightly awkward "Welcome to Q&A", where I like Will's improvement very much. – Hendrik Vogt Dec 14 '10 at 15:36
  • Yes, but as Jeff said below, Will's suggestion is too long for the bar...if we really want something else to go up there we have to make a real effort to shorten that suggestion. – Yossi Farjoun Dec 14 '10 at 16:03
  • @Yossi: Ah, thanks a lot. I just didn't see Jeff's comment -- stupid. – Hendrik Vogt Dec 14 '10 at 16:34
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The greeting has been changed to

Welcome to Q&A for users of TeX, LaTeX, ConTeXt, and related typesetting systems — check out the FAQ!

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