For a while now, The Session has had some little on-boarding touches to make sure that new members are eased into the culture of this traditional Irish music community.

First off, new members are encouraged to add a little bit about themselves so that there’s some context when they start making contributions.

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Secondly, new members can’t kick off a brand new discussion straight away.

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Likewise, they can’t post a comment straight away. They need to wait an hour between signing up and posting their first comment. Instead of seeing a comment form, they see a countdown.

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Finally, when they do make their first submission — whether it’s a discussion, an event, a session, or a tune — the interface displays a few extra messages of encouragement and care.

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But I realised that all of these custom messages were very one-sided. They were always displayed to the new member. It’s equally important that existing members treat any newcomers with respect.

Now on some discussions, an extra message is displayed to existing members right before the comment form. The logic is straightforward:

  1. If this is a discussion added by a new member,
  2. who hasn’t yet added any comments anywhere,
  3. and this discussion has no responses so far,
  4. and anyone other than that member is viewing the page,
  5. then display a message asking for help making this new member feel welcome.
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It’s a small addition, but it makes a difference.

No intricate JavaScript; no smooth animations; just some words on a screen encouraging a human connection.

This was originally posted on my own site.

Written by

A web developer and author living and working in Brighton, England.

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