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When I review first posts in the first posts part of the review queues (found in the top right corner for some users), I will often upvote a first post from a new user if it is good enough.

For example, if I come across a first post that is on-topic and is fairly basic (just says the purpose of the code and maybe includes a few specific questions), I will upvote almost as a "welcome" and a "good job for following the site rules".

I may be the only one who follows this behavior, but is this bad practice? If I recall correctly, there was another SE site that had a similar problem with users upvoting a post. However, I think that site's problems was mainly the fact that users were upvoting even bad/off-topic posts.

In conclusion, is it bad to give "welcome votes" to first posts, even if they are only "good enough"?

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm not asking for a "Welcome vote", but it will be nice a "first question welcome comment" :) \$\endgroup\$ – Rubén Feb 11 '16 at 22:03
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Upvote for effort

I think that it's important to keep in mind what it's like to post to Code Review as a total newcomer. After all, they don't teach you in school how to post a question to Code Review. If a user's first post is…

  • On topic,
  • Includes sufficient context,
  • Has a good title or can easily be given a policy-compliant title,

then that means that they took the time to either read the Help Center or made an effort to pattern their question on other good questions. That's enough to deserve an upvote, in my opinion. (I don't care if it's interesting, or if it has the right tags, or if it has good grammar.)

Upvote to prevent awkwardness

If a question meets the criteria above, then it deserves an answer. If it deserves an answer, then we also want the poster to be able to upvote any answers.

We want to avoid the scenario where the OP writes a thank-you comment, and we have to respond with "We don't leave thank-you comments around here. When you get 15 points, you'll be able to upvote!" By failing to give the newcomer 15 points, we exclude the poster from our voting/commenting culture, deprive the answerer of an upvote, and create a poor user experience.

For those reasons, I tend to upvote non-garbage posts generously when processing the First Posts review queue, or leave a comment if the question is problematic. Clicking "No Action Needed" is harmful if the user has less than 15 points. Once they are over 15 points, we can raise our standards.

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Voting is personal. Personally I find that upvoting good first posts helps making new users feel welcome, and encourages them with positive reinforcement - however if the post is iffy and it still gets upvoted, the vote reinforces not-so-positive behavior, so one shouldn't upvote just to say "welcome", but "welcome! That's a nice post you got here, we'd like you to keep 'em coming like that!"

If there's anything about the post that could be improved, leave a comment to that effect, ideally including a magic [edit] link.

Remember that new users can't cast upvotes until they get to 15 rep, so it takes +3 on one's first question to be able to upvote the answers they're getting.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ When you say "iffy", do you mean "iffy; it might not actually be on topic" or "iffy; it's not that good of a post (but still on-topic)"? \$\endgroup\$ – SirPython Feb 11 '16 at 2:22
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    \$\begingroup\$ Both work, but the first would be more of an issue. \$\endgroup\$ – Quill Feb 11 '16 at 2:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ I mean on-topic of course. Some questions are on-topic but lame (e.g. A vs B), or bordering hypothetical-ness, for example. \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Feb 11 '16 at 2:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ I thought a user could upvote answers on their own question, similar to how they can comment on their own posts but not others. \$\endgroup\$ – SuperBiasedMan Feb 11 '16 at 10:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ Also, some new users will be coming with the +100 rep from other SE sites so they can vote right off the bat. \$\endgroup\$ – chicks Feb 11 '16 at 15:53
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    \$\begingroup\$ @SuperBiasedMan No they cannot vote on their post but they can accept an answer. @ chicks There a new users that come from Stack Overflow with only 50 rep or so, and there is some new users that come directly to Code Review and those can't vote on the posts. \$\endgroup\$ – Marc-Andre Feb 16 '16 at 14:51
  • \$\begingroup\$ Could you elaborate a bit on the magic [edit] link? \$\endgroup\$ – kasperd Feb 22 '16 at 9:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @kasperd there are a number of "magic" links you can use in comments on Stack Exchange, e.g. [edit] makes a hyperlink to edit the post, [codereview.se] links to Code Review's home page, [help/on-topic] links to the help center, [so] links to Stack Overflow, ...there's a hole list on MSE :-) \$\endgroup\$ – Mathieu Guindon Feb 22 '16 at 14:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Mat'sMug Awesome. That looks very useful. \$\endgroup\$ – kasperd Feb 22 '16 at 14:59

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