How to Help an Overly Zealous Welcomer on wikiHow

Four Parts:Assess the situationSurvey the resourcesLeave an initial messageFollow up

An overly zealous welcomer is a wikiHowian, often a relatively new one, who likes to leave welcome messages on many, many talk pages—as many as possible. In a few days he or she will visit talk pages numbering, perhaps, in the hundreds. And, while the welcoming of newcomers is a kind and well-intentioned act, it is important not to overdo the welcoming, especially from one who is also relatively new. If you notice such behavior, you can:

  • politely steer the over-zealous welcomer to more productive activities.
  • guide them toward welcoming more properly.
  • ask them not to welcome so much.

Part 1
Assess the situation

  1. 1
    Check the contribution history to see if there has been excess welcoming activity. This may or may not be the case. Before assuming that this user is welcoming too zealously, check the recent contributions conscientiously.
  2. 2
    Look at the volume of talk pages messages they have left. Any more than five or ten messages in a session or grouping might indicate a problem, so dig a little deeper.
  3. 3
    Get a general feel of the rate at which messages are being left. If there are multiple messages left in a minute or two, the welcomer might be leaving duplicated, non-personalized messages. This is not optimal, so dig a little deeper.
  4. 4
    Open each talk page contribution in a separate tab. Start with the most recent and open the five most recent messages first.
    • Look at each message objectively to see if it is short, sweet, and helpful.
    • Make sure that each message is personalized and accurately references actual contributions made by the person being welcomed. If not, the message might just be general and inviting. Either is OK.
  5. 5
    Take special notice of whether or not an open invitation to supply additional help was left. If such an invite was left, make sure it was warm and sincere and that appropriate links were supplied that gave easy access to that help.
  6. 6
    Judge the positive and the negative of what you have seen. Especially, look for all of the positive aspects of the individual's welcoming messages. If there are no positives, you have identified an overly zealous welcomer. The overall impact of the welcoming is, without a doubt, negative and their welcoming activity is leaving a bad first impression of wikiHow.
  7. 7
    Look more deeply for positive elements. Keep opening older welcoming messages, in separate tabs, and looking at the messages for any positive aspects. Once you have found something positive, latch onto that and get ready to coach. This will become the starting place for your message and a cornerstone of your coaching.

Part 2
Survey the resources

  1. 1
    Assume good faith. It is quite probable that the over-zealous welcomer is not aware that the excessive welcoming creates any problem. It should also be evident that the welcomer is trying very hard to do what is perceived as the ultimate good by passing on the wonderful welcoming they received when joining wikiHow.
    • It will be your job to gently guide the welcomer to a clearer understanding of the problems that might arise from inappropriate welcoming and to provide insight and information which will lead to a more appropriate welcoming strategy.
    • As an adjunct you might suggest other productive activities which will benefit the community more greatly. In this way, you might hope to guide a negative, but well-intentioned welcomer into making positive contributions while they are becoming more familiar with wikiHow processes and guidelines.
  2. 2
  3. 3

Part 3
Leave an initial message

  1. 1
    Go directly to his or her talk page and leave a very kind message. It is best to use a personal message.
    • Before you even start the message, look over the entire talk page. Take the time to read all of the coaching messages and kudos they have received. Also notice how the contributor has been addressed. There may be a nickname or real name that you might pick up and use to properly personalize your message.
    • Try to use a real name and to temper your help and advice according to the coaching they have already received.
    • If the contributor seems to resist coaching, try to be extra kind, extra gentle, and extra supportive during the initial message. Also, make a note to take the time to temper your message upon final review, and again before you actually send the message.
  2. 2
    Begin with a simple greeting. Simply say "Hello," and use their screen name or, preferably, their real name (if it is on their user page or elsewhere on their talk page). Welcome them to wikiHow in a friendly way. A simple, "Welcome to wikiHow!" works, but it is better to jump right to the positive welcoming element you identified earlier when you reviewed their contributions.
  3. 3
    Mention the positive. Use the best specific example you identified when you reviewed their contributions, and really highlight it. Perhaps something like, "I noticed your warm welcome of Shina. I am sure you made her feel at home and comfortable by using that friendly tone."
  4. 4
    Thank them for helping out. Let them know their effort is recognized and appreciated. "I really appreciate you taking the time to pass on the good feelings you got when you were first welcomed to wikiHow."
  5. 5
    Point them to an appropriate resource. At this point you don't need to coach them in detail. Just say something like, "I don't know if you know it, but we have 'X'." (Here you should specify the source (from above) with clear wording and a direct link.) "That really helped me know the best things to say when welcoming newcomers to wikiHow."
  6. 6
    Encapsulate the important points of a superior welcoming message. Something like, "This is just a reminder to keep your welcoming messages brief, friendly, and personal. And don't forget to leave an open invitation to provide additional help if they need it. If you do not feel confident that you can give helpful, complete answers to most of the questions they might ask, you can have them contact the Help Team. Just include the [[Help Team]] link in your message."
    • If they have a particular problem with spelling, grammar, or organization and word choice, gently redirect their efforts with a suggestion that they try tips patrol or another activity that you feel would best suit that particular individual and would also provide opportunity to learn the ways of wikiHow. Offer a second and, possibly, a third choice of alternative activities.
  7. 7
    Leave an open invitation for the overly zealous welcomer to come to you for advice and direction. Remember, you are leading by example and you should take the time to craft your message as a model of a nearly perfect coaching message.
  8. 8
    Preview your message. Take the time to make sure your message is:
    • succinct
    • personal
    • encouraging
    • grammatically correct
    • correctly formatted
    • It is also a best practice to hover over each link and ensure that the web address of the intended target displays properly. If there is any doubt:
      Ctrl+Left-Click on the link to bring the page up in a separate tab, then verify that the proper page is displayed.
  9. 9
    Take utmost care to ensure that what you are sending is the best you can do, or nearly so. If you are not happy with your message or are not satisfied that it will address the issue you have uncovered, bring in some other community members. Ask for opinions or advice.
    • Don't forget to follow the wiki way and utilize the power of the community.
  10. 10
    Send the message. Once you are fully satisfied that it will have the intended effect, click Publish.

Part 4
Follow up

  1. 1
    Check their progress regularly until they come up to speed.
    • Review their talk page to see how responsive the newcomers have been to their welcoming.
    • Check a few of their recent welcoming efforts through Special:Contributions.
  2. 2
    Identify weak points and strong points in their ongoing welcoming efforts.
  3. 3
    Encourage them to continue doing the things you feel are beneficial and good. By recognizing work which they have done well, you have tapped into a powerful formative force.
    • Do not miss the opportunity to pat them on the back and make them feel good and helpful.
  4. 4
    Lightly tweak their approach. If you need to, provide just a bit of additional guidance or some additional resources. Remember, "Less is more."
    • In the vast majority of cases, the overly zealous welcomer will have responded to your efforts and come a long way towards crafting warm welcome messages that reflect well on wikiHow.
    • This is a good place to pull out diffs of two or three exemplary welcome messages from them or others (not from you) and take the time to go over them. Say what you liked about them, point-by-point, and what, in your opinion, might be improved (and how).
  5. 5
    Check back by often to offer support and guidance. Remember to keep everything positive and to present your messages as an exemplary model.


  • Be aware of situations where the contributor must be pulled off of the welcoming activity and redirected to a more helpful outlet. Such situations result when there is an ongoing problem which reflects poorly on wikiHow. In this case, check back ultra-frequently and do all that you can to gently guide their efforts. Be quick to call in another wikiHowian or two, though. Sometimes a different person or a different approach works wonders.


  • Do not criticize and, if you are feeling frustrated, remember to take a break from the situation. It will make a big difference if you are able to come back to the situation with fresh eyes and a fresh attitude.

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