I still continue to think that there should be a conky by default. May be a very simple one; it should contain some basic infos about the machine, the network connection and its status and a list of the most important shortcuts (as defined in ~./jmw/keys). That's what for example crunchbang did, and it was not that bad desktop experience - imho.
I attach my conky, just as an idea, which can be adapted easily. Consider the colours are in consquence of the background image, and the wireless is not wlan0 like default in debian but wlp2s0 (since posted from arch). With this conky, there is no need to start wicd with the tray option only the daemon. If you need to edit you call
wicd --no-trayby a shortcut (or it pops up anyway, in case of a first installation).