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You could say that formatting tools should be evident, but it's clear that newcomers aren't aware of them in most cases, for example adding images to the post. Countless times I've edited post just to add an image.

What do you think about adding to the tour simple animations with brief demonstrations on how to use them? Just before the "Find a question to answer, or ask your own" section.

Considering that these are Q&A sites, and the new users are prone to jump directly to ask a question without reading the help section, but may at least take a glimpse in the tour.

The goal with be to reduce poor quality posts, make posts clearer and readable, without having to rely always on editors.

Just an idea. Of course another explanation is that they just don't care, nothing can be done about that.

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My first thought is that a detailed instruction like that would be out of place in the tour. I feel its role is to give a brief explanation of the site's purpose and format, rather than to be a guide on how to use it.

But let's imagine that we did put it into the tour. I don't think that making it a guide several panels long would work. It would have to be brief, just one extra panel, so as not to make the tour a lot longer (and thus discourage people from reading it). Rather than a tutorial that would force people to slow down and try to memorise stuff (which wouldn't be easy because they wouldn't be in a position to try it out right there on the page) or quit reading, it could be a kind of feature demo. It could say something like

Use Markdown to create well-formatted posts

and have an animation of text appearing in the editor with the preview and the guide highlighted at the side, not for people to learn then and there, but just to point it out to them.

I think that would actually be good. It might prime people who take the tour to look at the mini formatting guide when it appears in the place it's really needed, alongside the editor, or to check out the longer formatting guide in the Help Center when they run into issues.

Possible obstacle: SE were trialing a new WYSIWYG editor recently...

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  • "and have an animation of text appearing in the editor with the preview and the guide highlighted at the side, not for people to learn then and there, but just to point it out to them." yes, I was thinking on those terms, just enough to make the user aware that the tools are there and encourage to use them. Not sure it would make a difference though :| Jan 17 at 4:43
  • 1
    @schrodigerscatcuriosity yeah it probably wouldn't make much difference, but tbh I don't see it as a big problem that a lot of new users' posts need editing. Easy to do, and gives other new and slightly less new users a chance to earn some points :)
    – Zanna Mod
    Jan 17 at 5:14
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    Do you have access to insights on how many new users access the tour before posting new questions? Is it currently helping?
    – Dan
    Jan 18 at 8:32
  • @Dan for reading the tour one gets the Informed badge. There are some existing SEDE queries that do something with that. When I have a bit more energy I may try to look into it there. Considering posts flagged as NAA, I feel that their authors rarely have the Informed badge (I attend to this because if they don't, I may post a link to the tour in a comment), though this does not really constitute evidence that the tour helps...
    – Zanna Mod
    Jan 18 at 11:01
  • @Zanna Thanks, for info. But that's alright, I'll look up what I find. My thought was that, for example, I know I got the informed badge a long time ago but I never read the tour (or whatever it was called back then) before posting my first question. Looking at my profile, it took me a year and 9 days to get the badge after my first post xD
    – Dan
    Jan 18 at 12:37
  • @Dan yeah, but using SEDE you can check if a post was created before or after the user got the badge, I should think
    – Zanna Mod
    Jan 18 at 13:16
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    I ended up creating a query for that if you are interested: data.stackexchange.com/askubuntu/query/1359480 :D. Users who toured before posting: 19323 compared to a total of users who posted at least once: 276430 (almost 7%).
    – Dan
    Jan 19 at 16:07
  • @Dan Thanks for your time and effort. Statiscs give a good overview of what the real situation is. Jan 27 at 21:25

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