“In general, you will find in fiction that most Contact missions are portrayed as relatively subtle. In reality, this is almost never the case. The experience of the Exploratory Service shows that when one makes contact in too subtle a manner, one is actually signaling – in a remarkably effective pan-species manner – that one is being too sneaky for the Contacted civilization’s good. A number of historical contact missions have gone wrong this way. In addition, this can prove particularly perilous when making Contact with a multi-polity world; the contact cruiser may be taken for a superweapon or signs of an attack by some of those polities, and the Contact attempt may start a planetary war. Even when this mistake can be cleaned up afterwards, such missions rarely end well.
“Consequently, Imperial Contact doctrine eschews subtlety, wherever possible. Be big, be loud, be brash, send messages across half the system to announce your arrival, make sure the local watchers see you – take a hundred hours off the life of your hull shooting atmosphere entry, if you must, but make sure that the Contact can be detected by as many people as possible, and cannot possibly be seen for anything other than what it is, a genuine extraplanetary Contact. It almost always pays off in the long run.”
– Imperial Exploratory Service, An Introduction to Contact