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We’ve recently had a change in UI, resulting in a mostly blank left menu bar, among other things.

We also have huge numbers of posts that don’t seem to be coming from the people that the EL&U tour claims as EL&U’s intended audience.

Perhaps we could do something about both by copying the charter paragraph from the tour into the left menu. Here’s what it says (emphasis, mine):

English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's built and run by you as part of the Stack Exchange network of Q&A sites. With your help, we're working together to build a library of detailed answers to every question about English language and usage.

We should also list the migration sites we can vote questions into: ELL and Meta.

This way, visitors can self-select to post a question on EL&U, knowing that they’d be holding themselves to be part of the intended audience; or if they don’t think they are part of EL&U’s intended audience, they have a couple of other common places they can go to with a single click.

I suggest we copy the blurb from the EL&U tour into the left menu, and link to both ELL and this Meta. We could even show the ELL blurb next to the ELL link so that it is clear how the two sites differ.

  • I haven't heard a peep from our concerned community manager since December 4th, (their last post) looks like they stopped caring whether we like the theme or not. – Mari-Lou A Jan 20 at 7:27
  • @Mari-Lou She often hangs out at the ELL chat. – Lawrence Jan 20 at 11:24
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This blurb is already shown on most pages to new users who haven't dismissed it:

It doesn't do any self-selection, though. It mostly annoys people who just want to read answers to existing questions (I encounter this all the time on other sites, for example). And for some of the people who are asking questions, it makes our site look very attractive, especially compared to ELL. Many people don't want their questions answered by learners; they want the experts. (Of course it is perfectly acceptable for anyone to ask and answer questions on ELL, but that didn't stop someone from asking Why are native speakers here? on ELL Meta.)

If we want people to know the rules, we have to tell them the rules instead of expecting something vague to guide them. For example, I'd support having some version of the Stack Overflow Question Wizard if that feature ever goes anywhere. Alternatively, I'd support a customizable advice page.

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While using the left menu may be attractive, it's not applicable to all visitors to the site, only to those who want to ask a question. There is currently a huge box once the "Ask Question" button is clicked:

"How to Ask" panel

I'm afraid I doubt that another similar panel in the left-hand space would be any more effective at stemming the tide of basic questions which should go elsewhere.

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