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I've noticed the Reviewing dashboard now lists stats for what I reviewed:

Upvoted          7     7
Downvoted       18    18
Edited           0     0
Commented       15    15
Voted to Close  54    54
Flagged          0     0
Deleted          0     0
Reviewed        70    70

While that is all neat and the dashboard quite fine, I was wondering why reviewing is treated a separate activity from my usual StackOverflow usage. Basically, everyone is doing these things listed in the stats whenever they cast a vote or raise a flag. I do not see any difference.

My usual mode of operation is just browsing the tags I am interested in, but apparently nothing I do there is counted as review. So I have to change to the review dashboard when I want it to be. That's counter-intuitive to me.

Could someone elaborate why this distinction is maintained?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 9 down vote accepted

The difference is that when you browse the site normally you can sort it however you like but when you review you go through first answers, low quality posts, first questions and late answers.

I think that the difference makes sense to maintain because there is content with higher probability of need for improvement that is easily weeded out and we should encourage users to have a look at that content, i.e. review it.

Of course the concept of reviewing also applies to any reviewing of posts when using the site and this should not be discouraged.

Broadly speaking we could speak of two sorts of picking out posts for review:

  • Quantitatively. To pick out posts with certain quantitative properties in common, i.e. first answer, and this how the review page which picks out posts.
  • Qualitatively. To pick out posts with certain qualitative properties, i.e. based on what they are about. This could be to pick out posts about your special interest.

I think both ways to pick out posts for review should be encouraged. It may be argued that going through posts on the review page is more repetitive and less creative than reviewing in any other way, and that since it does good (and is needed) it should be encouraged by such features as the tracker and the new badge.

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Reviewing was added as a special activity to minimize the inflow of low-quality questions and answers. This is what Jeff mentioned about it: Heuristics for detecting a bad answer?

A lot of bad answers are slipping through the cracks on Stack Overflow. I've been paging through hundreds of these first answers by new users and I've identified a few heuristics that, when applied at the time of answer submit for new users, could drastically reduce the amount of noise answers in the system.

I agree with you that everyone performs these actions as a regular activity but /review finds 'first answers', 'low quality posts', 'first questions', and 'late answers', based on some logic, so that experienced users can go through them and take appropriate actions.

As Gamecat explains:

You can use it to review several posts:

* first answers of new users
* low quality posts (according to an automated script)
* first questions of new users
* late answers to old questions
* suggested edits (not always available for anybody)

You can use this tool to improve the overall quality of the site. By using the powers given to you by the community. For example,

* you can edit/clarify a bad answer.
* you can add a comment to ask the original poster to clarify.
* you can close the real bad questions.
* you can flag for moderator support in case of spam or other undesired posts.
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I agree there is a difference between using the review page and act on posts I found by "accident" during normal usage.

I checked my review stats right now, and it doesn't make sense to me.

I used the review page quite regularly the last days and I was surprised that my stats showed only 1 upvote and 4 reviews, that isn't true.

I then recognized that I am using the review page the wrong way. I open the review page scroll through the list and when I am interested in a post I am opening it in a new tab, to see the complete question and to review properly. But in this way it is not recognized by the stats.

So, those stats seem quite useless for me.

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