Prevent replies to welcome PMs (auto-close)?

Apologies if the search engine has failed me here, but I don’t see a way to cause welcome messages to be sent already closed; that is, to prevent replies. I see lots of posts about how to send the messages from a system user, to hide notifications, etc., but I’d simply prefer it be impossible to reply to such messages.

My forum is a software support forum, and I don’t want to create the expectation that replies to the welcome PM are a means to obtain that support. (The text of the message itself asks users not to attempt that, but…)

Any thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Our plan is for @tgxworld to roll in the new narrative bot for the next release:

That effectively replaces the welcome PM.

The welcome PM is explicitly open to allow new users to have some way of communicating with moderators, without that they need TL1.

As it stands there is no way of making it closed by default, though it is probably not a big change.


Please make the narrative bot optional - I find it technically fun but time-consuming and gimmicky to interact with

I would miss the welcome message with it’s handy mechanism for allowing a dialogue with the site admin.

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It definitely won’t be optional, but you can turn off replies for the bot, at that point it’s identical to the previous welcome PM.

The previous welcome PM was friendly and personal because it appeared to come from a real life member of staff and new members could reply to it and reach a human.

Doesn’t scale, and causes support issues for us in hosting, sadly. So it needs to go. It also causes a lot of user issues to disappear in a black hole.

Reaching staff is certainly something users should be able to do, but I’m not convinced the welcome PM is the right place for that. As noted in OP

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Ah yes - I can see how this may present issues for larger forums.

I worry that if users of my forum don’t have a clear way to communicate with a human in charge, they may simply use a different website in the event of issues, rather than making the effort to resolve them.

But I see your point of view and I will look for alternative ways to present a friendly face to new signups after this bot has been rolled out.


I have this issue a lot on my forum, where new users receive the welcome PM which is sent in my name.
They see the welcome PM as an invitation to a conversation (and do not realize it is automated) so they reply to it.

I get dozens of messages from people either thanking me for the kind welcome, or asking complex tech-support questions about video games… I don’t have the time or expertise to answer all of them. It seems to me the welcome PM is a nice idea but could use some work.

@codinghorror do I understand correctly that you have plans to phase out the welcome-pm or replace it with something else?

Yes, the new default in 1.8 will be the narrative bot that @tgxworld has been working on.

We should deploy it to our own infrastructure soon, right now it is only on try and meta, if you want to play with it sign up at