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As sites age and grow, it is inevitable that groups of older, more experienced users will tend to hang together and support each other.

This is great, but it can go too far, to the extent that the community of the site can become impenetrable to new users who can be looked down on by older users.

In jokes, memes, and deep site knowledge can compound this issue, and a 'lurk moar' attitude can become dominant.

How can a moderator keep the old-guard welcoming of new users if this problem starts to arise?

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    ...worst if the moderators grow the same attitude... – SF. Aug 1 '14 at 17:44
  • @SF., Which often happens...... – Pacerier Oct 6 '14 at 21:26
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The best way to do this is to include everyone in stuff and not show favoritism towards old users. When a old user posts crap, treat it like crap, regardless of who wrote it.

If someone becomes an ass to another user, don't just slap them on the wrist if that isn't the punishment for that offense.

Including them in games, allow them to post, and guide them or show what they need to do if they don't do something correctly will be helpful to the overall success of a community, even if the users are a burden to handle at first.

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    Note: Be sure that the fact the offender was punished for the offense is publicly visible. The problem with this kind of sites is that the punishment will not teach the oldtimer anything (as first hundred didn't...), but it will tell the newbie that they are not unwelcome, that such attitudes are not tolerated, and there's someone "with power" to stand for them if needed. – SF. Aug 1 '14 at 17:42
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How can a moderator keep the old-guard welcoming of new users if this problem starts to arise?

If it's a rule breaking problem (ie. rude comments to specific users) the policies the site was built on should have provided mechanisms to deal with this behavior. Otherwise, maybe a FAQ, or some sort of welcome message, that explains what the community is, how to behave, being bring up to speed, can be more helpful.

You cannot force the established users to welcome someone they perceive as stranger. You should make the new user integrate to the community, not backwards.

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The fact is that new users ARE a burden on the community initially. They aren't familiar with how the community operates yet, they are disruptive and they often need help to learn how to fit in the community well. They have a lot they can bring to the community, but it takes an investment to get those dividends.

Since it does take effort to help them fit in, reward those who help new users regularly. The main reason communities tend to become resistant to new users is that they feel like the new users detract from the community. If you can focus at least some rewards around helping these new users, it makes the new users a means to an end instead of an annoyance from normal enjoyment of the site.

This can specifically look like a lot of different things depending on the community, but the key is to make it so that new users are of more benefit to experienced users than they are a burden. It may be badges, reputation, public acknowledgement, granting extra privileges or something else entirely.

Leading by example also helps a lot in being welcoming and supportive of new users, as does ensuring that there are sufficient quality resources available to help new users come up to speed as quickly as possible so that they are less of a burden on the community to begin with.

It also may not hurt to feature particularly good posts by newer users that demonstrate the value that new users do bring in the long run. This may help with reinforcing that new users are worth the effort even if they bring some pain up front.

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