Make the pinned Help thread more enticing

A lot of newcomers seem to dump code without really looking at the preview. If they do notice that the formatting is a mess, it seems they post it anyway due to not knowing how to fix that - as evidenced by all the first posts with messy, barely-comprehensible code dumps.

The formatting guide is currently held in a pinned thread that is simply titled “About the Python Help category”. There’s barely any indication that this is the place that explains post formatting, and especially nothing to impress upon users that there is value in caring about this. Ironically, the part of the post that makes it into the summary text, does include part of the Markdown example; but it’s all just plain text with normalized whitespace, so the guidance isn’t visually apparent at all.

I think at a minimum we should retitle the thread so that it’s clearly a readme that new users are expected to read. Perhaps some of you have additional suggestions for good ways to communicate the information as well. (I don’t know how much customization the Discourse software allows in terms of preemptively showing messages to new users.)

We could put a separate pinned thread saying “Please read the pinned thread”. :expressionless:

But I think, fundamentally, this is not going to work. Some people will explore a forum before posting, others won’t. At some point, no matter how hard you try, you won’t get everyone to read. “There is considerable overlap between the intelligence of the smartest bear and the dumbest tourist.” Or in our case, not so much dumbest as laziest, and I think we can all attest to having been that laziest person ourselves at some point.

Could this be tied in with tweaking the DiscBot settings to nudge a few more beginners in the right direction?

Obvious it won’t work for all or even most new members but it could still help with some and that’s fewer annoyances for those with more experience!

I haven’t looked into it in depth but it looks like there is some customisation possible:

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I started a thread in June of last year, than ran on for apx 3 months and covered a lot of ground, including the annoying trait that you describe; namely new members posting code that has not been Markdown formatted.

Maybe you’ve seen it, maybe not.

The link:

I’m not too sure what the answer is, or even if there is an answer, but one thing that was tried (and, so it seems, failed) was a plugin that was to detect unformatted code and alert the user.

My suggestion was possibly too authoritarian to be fair.