17 votes

Suggestion: Color the names of new users differently.

Many websites like hacker news, lobsters and stack exchange put an indicator next to usernames to show that the user is new. This lets regular users know that this user may need some help fitting in and following the rules.

What does everyone think about such a feature on tildes?

19 comments

  1. [5]
    user2 Link
    What is this suggestion trying to accomplish? New users already get a PM with some tildes' info, such as rules and mechanics. Why would new users be singled out? So you could show them how...

    What is this suggestion trying to accomplish? New users already get a PM with some tildes' info, such as rules and mechanics. Why would new users be singled out? So you could show them how superior you are and how they must follow your example?

    Let fresh people bring fresh ideas and content without trying to shape them into you.

    24 votes
    1. [4]
      Amarok Link Parent
      I have trouble seeing the value here as well. Presumably, if this feature got implemented in a way that actually worked, the main value would come from two places. The first is that users who'd...

      I have trouble seeing the value here as well. Presumably, if this feature got implemented in a way that actually worked, the main value would come from two places. The first is that users who'd earned trust and moderation access might scrutinize new users replies a bit more when just zipping down the page. The second is that if while doing so they saw a user who was violating rules or norms, they might take a softer tone, give them a link and a 'you're new here, please learn the rules' attitude with a bit more forgiveness.

      That said, I think we can do all of this better without the need for colored usernames. Just let the labels handle it. Judge on the content of the comment/submission, not the color of the username. If someone needs correction, or commendation, the age of their account really doesn't matter in that decision, the result is the same. Coloring the username is introducing an artificial division to solve problems we've already figured out other ways to solve.

      Introducing divisions and classes of users is dangerous business if you can see it - this triggers social network effects. Tildes launched with the labels all showing up publicly, if someone got 5x joke and 3x noise and 1x troll everyone could see that, which lead to more people applying the same tags, a me-too phenomena, bandwagoning. This made the tags much less effective. That's why you can't see them anymore. You get to make up your own mind on how to apply most of the tags. Only exemplary still holds the original visual indicators that all the tags shared, and that's because the social network effect of that tag is overall positive.

      15 votes
      1. Maven Link Parent
        While it's certainly possible that this would happen, I think it's far more likely that the veterans would just single out the new guy and flame them for being a noob. You touched on groupthink...

        The second is that if while doing so they saw a user who was violating rules or norms, they might take a softer tone, give them a link and a 'you're new here, please learn the rules' attitude with a bit more forgiveness.

        While it's certainly possible that this would happen, I think it's far more likely that the veterans would just single out the new guy and flame them for being a noob. You touched on groupthink but artificially imposing a division between two groups is the easiest way to start conflict between them.

        3 votes
      2. [2]
        Kielyr Link Parent
        And I'd rather it didn't, honestly. I don't see why it's any different to any of the other labels. Let people make their own mind about it too. In my case, personally, it doesn't even make me see...

        Only exemplary still holds the original visual indicators that all the tags shared, and that's because the social network effect of that tag is overall positive.

        And I'd rather it didn't, honestly. I don't see why it's any different to any of the other labels. Let people make their own mind about it too.

        In my case, personally, it doesn't even make me see the comment in a more positive light, but it rather makes me be more critical of it. Just like I'm more critical of movies with a higher rating on IMDb, because it makes me compare them to higher standards.

        1. Amarok Link Parent
          Like I said, beneficial effects. You should be more critical of something that's been given a form of highlighting on the page. Someone thought it was worth more than a simple upvote and used a...

          it rather makes me be more critical of it

          Like I said, beneficial effects. You should be more critical of something that's been given a form of highlighting on the page. Someone thought it was worth more than a simple upvote and used a scarce resource to say so. That means not only getting more eyes on it, but getting more criticism of it. Making it more prominent does both, and also incentivizes replying if you have something to add, good or bad. It also gives the user a feel-good reward. What other social network effects appear at scale we'll just have to wait and see. It may not always work out this way. If it stops working, we'll tweak and critique until it works again.

          It may someday take many more applications of exemplary to trigger the highlight effect, to mitigate abuse (though the user'd get the private thank yous immediately as now).

          3 votes
  2. [10]
    Algernon_Asimov Link
    I think it's unnecessary, and possibly misleading. I don't think new users should be singled out as such. I can see how it would be daunting to post on Tildes with a tag next to your username...

    I think it's unnecessary, and possibly misleading.

    I don't think new users should be singled out as such. I can see how it would be daunting to post on Tildes with a tag next to your username saying "I'm new!"

    Also, if the intent of identifying new users is to know who is not familiar with the site, that would also apply to a lot of old users. If you look through an old thread, you'll see a lot of usernames which were created, used once or twice, and then abandoned. If those people come back to Tildes once it starts getting visibility and traffic, they'll also be unfamiliar with the site. Should they get labels, too?

    16 votes
    1. [2]
      Octofox Link Parent
      Most of those websites simply color the users name in green, a new user wouldn't even know that this feature exists. I think this would be a really useful feature for establishing the culture we...

      I don't think new users should be singled out as such. I can see how it would be daunting to post on Tildes with a tag next to your username saying "I'm new!"

      Most of those websites simply color the users name in green, a new user wouldn't even know that this feature exists. I think this would be a really useful feature for establishing the culture we want on the website and make sure new users know how to fit in with it.

      If those people come back to Tildes once it starts getting visibility and traffic, they'll also be unfamiliar with the site.

      It could be based on age + post count. For example all users under a month old with less than 10 posts get colored green.

      3 votes
      1. Amarok Link Parent
        I don't think I'd want to publicly advertise the newness of an account to absolutely everyone visibly. I've been around modding long enough to know that sometimes (not always, but often enough)...

        I don't think I'd want to publicly advertise the newness of an account to absolutely everyone visibly. I've been around modding long enough to know that sometimes (not always, but often enough) users see that as an opportunity to gang up on the 'newfags.'

        I might see some value in showing that information to long-term, high-trust users who have been here a while, and only to them. If they've got good trust, they know the ropes, and they've proved it. That way they can take the cue and help out the new users.

        I also have to agree with Algernon... plenty of older accounts might be in the same boat. What we're really talking about here is if certain people can tell that an account has a low level of activity/participation or is new just by the color of the username.

        Voting should count as activity for this too. Lurkers shouldn't be painted as new just because they are quiet folks who mostly just vote.

        12 votes
    2. [6]
      hungariantoast (edited ) Link Parent
      To be honest, I think yes. It should be possible to programmatically change the displayed color of a username based on how long ago it visited, voted, posted, or labeled content on the site. I'm...

      Should they get labels, too?

      To be honest, I think yes. It should be possible to programmatically change the displayed color of a username based on how long ago it visited, voted, posted, or labeled content on the site.

      I'm kind of on the fence as to whether or not we should do this at all, but if new users get a cute color for their username I would absolutely say we should go the extra mile and add a different color to users who have been "AFK" (Away from Keyboard) from the site for a determined period of time, because, like you said, they're likely to have some similar questions and misunderstandings as new users do.

      I'm going to wait for some other folks to give their opinions before I share mine, but if the idea of giving new users a colored username takes hold, then I think it would make sense to also uniquely identify previously inactive users as well.

      1 vote
      1. [2]
        Octofox Link Parent
        Possible but I think thats going a little too far. I wouldn't want it to become a circle jerk over who is the most power user on the website but simply a little indicator that is useful 95% of the...

        I'm sure it would also be possible to differentiate between username colors based on how often a user visits, votes on, and labels comments and topics on the site.

        Possible but I think thats going a little too far. I wouldn't want it to become a circle jerk over who is the most power user on the website but simply a little indicator that is useful 95% of the time. If some user posts a bunch and then leaves for years and comes back I think thats an edge case that wont come up nearly as often as a new user signs up and needs some guidance as to what they can and cannot post.

        2 votes
        1. hungariantoast (edited ) Link Parent
          No no no, what I mean is, if a user hasn't done any of those things or visited the site for a certain period of time, let's say, 180 days, then their username would be, I don't know, yellow. I...

          No no no, what I mean is, if a user hasn't done any of those things or visited the site for a certain period of time, let's say, 180 days, then their username would be, I don't know, yellow.

          I don't mean users should get special colors for how much they vote, post, and label, but that they should get a color if they have been inactive for a long period of time.

          Yeah, let's not turn Tildes into a pissing contest.

          After re-reading my comment, I have no idea why I wrote it that way, but I changed it to clarify.

      2. [3]
        Kielyr Link Parent
        Tildes is probably too new to have a lot of people with a lot of alts, since there aren't even that many ~groups to get personal or controversial in. But I know that on reddit I have many alt...

        add a different color to users who have been "AFK" (Away from Keyboard) from the site for a determined period of time, because, like you said, they're likely to have some similar questions and misunderstandings as new users do.

        Tildes is probably too new to have a lot of people with a lot of alts, since there aren't even that many ~groups to get personal or controversial in. But I know that on reddit I have many alt accounts that I use on different communities to interact with different people and share different ideas and experiences without putting all my eggs in one basket for people to dox me or attack me for my views. I still log in every day, but I have accounts that I haven't used in months.

        Overall, I just don't think this labelling thing is very useful. It will mostly lead to mistaken prejudices, groupthink and artificial divisions.

        1 vote
        1. [2]
          hungariantoast Link Parent
          After reading the comments that have been made to this topic since I made mine, I am fairly convinced that highlighting usernames based off of certain criteria should not be a feature accessible...

          After reading the comments that have been made to this topic since I made mine, I am fairly convinced that highlighting usernames based off of certain criteria should not be a feature accessible by most users, but only perhaps moderators with very high amounts of "trust" in their respective communities.

          That being said, high level moderators are still just people, so your concerns of

          mistaken prejudices, groupthink and artificial divisions.

          are still relevant. Though, if moderators on this site with a high level of trust can attain such a position but still be susceptible to the concerns you outlined based on the color of a user's username, then that is a failure of the (still theoretical) trust-based moderation system.

          Having colored usernames for new users isn't that useful since you can just check a user's profile to see when they registered, but, for a moderator, being able to identify if a user has been inactive for a very long time could be greatly beneficial when dealing with users.

          So I think inactive users should get colored usernames, visible only to moderators, but I think the rest of the features suggested here are already implemented in other ways.

          3 votes
          1. Amarok Link Parent
            Yes indeed. I'm still not convinced we need it, but a problem may come up sometime that this is a possible solution for, and that's the time to look into it, maybe do some light testing. Right now...

            then that is a failure of the (still theoretical) trust-based moderation system

            Yes indeed. I'm still not convinced we need it, but a problem may come up sometime that this is a possible solution for, and that's the time to look into it, maybe do some light testing. Right now it's a solution looking for a problem. File under 'bag of unused tricks'.

            2 votes
    3. Kielyr Link Parent
      And let's not forget that there are “new” accounts that belong to “veteran” users, too.

      And let's not forget that there are “new” accounts that belong to “veteran” users, too.

  3. [4]
    Ephemere Link
    While I agree that tagging new users seems like it wouldn't be the best of ideas, allowing users to pick a color for their username seems like it would have some old-school BBS charm.

    While I agree that tagging new users seems like it wouldn't be the best of ideas, allowing users to pick a color for their username seems like it would have some old-school BBS charm.

    4 votes
    1. Kielyr Link Parent
      Personally, I think colored usernames (the ones via RES on Reddit and the ones made by moderators on Discord) are a very visually exhausting, cephalea-inducing eyesore.

      Personally, I think colored usernames (the ones via RES on Reddit and the ones made by moderators on Discord) are a very visually exhausting, cephalea-inducing eyesore.

      4 votes
    2. Amarok Link Parent
      Yeah, this I like. It's not creating divisions in the userbase, it's just allowing people to express themselves as they choose. I imagine someday that might even be used as a form of voicing...

      Yeah, this I like. It's not creating divisions in the userbase, it's just allowing people to express themselves as they choose. I imagine someday that might even be used as a form of voicing support for certain ideas much like people wear ribbons.

      1 vote
    3. deing Link Parent
      That definitely would be a nice cosmetic addition! Though it'd be hard to find colours that have good contrast on all five official themes.

      That definitely would be a nice cosmetic addition! Though it'd be hard to find colours that have good contrast on all five official themes.