There's been discussion of the Monastery Gates UI before, but I'd like to expand that to suggest a whole new 'main' section - Welcome.

Many monks probably skip the front page and go straight to Newest Nodes or something - it's interesting to see what people thought worthy of frontpaging, but I would suggest that basically it's for people new to the site. And it's not the *friendliest* front page, really. No "Hi, and welcome to the monastery. Please wipe your feet and read the following guidelines." Functional, I grant you - just not as welcoming as it could be.

Maybe slipping in a small section at the top of the page that included links like Welcome to the Monastery, PerlMonks FAQ, a line or two on using Super Search etc. would be helpful (castaway had a great suggestion about an "Ask a question" button that linked straight to the SOPW textbox). Another useful section / link might be something like "Top 10 questions *not* to ask" ("How do I make a binary / obscure my source...").

I know part of the initiation into the Monastery is the whole discovery thing, but I can't help but think that if more AM's were 'shown around' immediately (the Monastery Courtyard maybe :)), they'd be more likely to come back / create an account / get involved.