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From time to time I like to spend a few minutes in Stack Overflow's review tab, cleaning up answers that are not, or editing questions of dubious quality into something that is worth answering. Die low quality post, DIE! MUWhahaha...ahem. Three tabs are of value to me there: "first answers", "first questions" and "late answers".

With the "low quality posts" tab however, most of the posts that appear there are of the SQL query/regular expression/etc. -type which, although short, are often perfectly valid*. What's more, a significant amount of them come from high-rep users.

I have seen an earlier question addressing the possibility of filtering out high-rep users under the assumption that they must know what they're doing. And there has been discussion on the visual appearance and visibility of posts.

My question however is whether or not we should re-evaluate what makes a post "low quality". Perhaps ignoring the correctness of an answer, is this tab (and are the posts it shows) useful to anyone here when it comes to reviewing them? And do you correct/flag/comment on them?

In summary (and I limit myself to SO here, since I don't have personal experience with other SEs):

  • Is the "low quality post" tab of significant value to anyone reviewing posts?
  • Are single-line SQL-query/regexp answers perhaps, even if they answer the question, still low quality answers and should they be addressed? (And does the user's reputation matter in this decision)
  • Should we perhaps re-evaluate what constitutes a "low quality post" to make this particular review tab more useful?

*I would readily accept that those users with far more experience in the subjects that appear there than I have can make good use of it. I personally however don't.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I frequently spend some time reviewing and yes, I use that tab because it is guaranteed to render good candidates for low quality posts. The other tabs contain many posts that do not need attention (in that context, that is).

That said, I must say that the quality scores themselves don't mean much to me. While they must have been used to filter out the posts, I often fail to see any correlation between the score and the obvious (to the human eye) quality of the posts. Somehow they work, I suppose, but I wouldn't mind if they were not displayed.

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Just to clarify, in what sense do they render good candidates for you? In that they (upon inspection) show many incorrect answers, or that their quality (independent of correctness) is low? –  Bart Mar 7 '12 at 10:17
    
The latter. The other tabs show many answers that look good and often are good, because many first visitors are perfectly capable of giving quality answers. It is often the short answer - with a low score - that reveals lack of experience with SO etiquette. –  Gert Arnold Mar 7 '12 at 10:25
    
Thanks for the answer. Your experience is completely opposite from mine. :) Would you then argue that most of the answers in that tab from high-rep users are of equal low quality? That is, should we somehow address point 2 of my summary? –  Bart Mar 7 '12 at 12:24
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High-rep users can produce low quality answers. (not to be confused with "low quality implies high rep" :)). So your second point is a know dilemma. I think that url's should always be accompanied by a short summary because of link rot. A single line of code, though, can be a gem, esp. from an experienced user, and often self-explanatory. As for different experiences: apparently it greatly depends on the intention why someone start reviewing (content vs form) which tab is useful. –  Gert Arnold Mar 7 '12 at 12:45
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The usefullnes may also depend on the time of day, I would expect the tab to be less usefull just after Gert has done his work! –  Ian Ringrose Mar 7 '12 at 13:19
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40,805 posts... HELP!! –  Gert Arnold Mar 7 '12 at 13:37
    
@GertArnold: Wait until you click "All". ;) –  Time Traveling Bobby Apr 6 '12 at 13:21
    
@Bobby OK, let me click "All". Yes I'm definitely gonna click "All". I'm doing it now... now... just a minute... –  Gert Arnold Apr 6 '12 at 17:12
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Dang, it's been three hours since Gert clicked "All," and the page apparently still hasn't finished loading. –  Pops Apr 6 '12 at 20:25
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Now I know what causes all this global warming and stuff. Catching low quality posts up front saves the Antarctic. –  Gert Arnold Apr 6 '12 at 20:39

In a shameless badge/reputation grab I too have spent a little time recently in low quality post tab.

Is the "low quality post" tab of significant value to anyone reviewing posts?

Without it you would have to drill into each and every question looking for low quality post. The low quality post tab at least throws likely review candidates without having to resort to this.

My biggest bug bear is that the 6 character edit rule reduces works against the improving the quality of posts. Consider the following post:

i think foo += bar will work

Based on experience such answers are considered "low quality". I would love to get the +2 rep for fixing the capitalisation and adding a full stop to the end of the sentence, but I can't unless I can contrive another change of at least 4 (no-whitespace) characters. So post similar to the example above to go unedited stinking up the low quality post tab because reviewers are prevented from improving its quality.

Are single-line SQL-query/regexp answers perhaps, even if they answer the question, still low quality answers and should they be addressed? (And does the user's reputation matter in this decision)

Although I feel that most single line code/SQL-query/regexp answers are self explanatory; on the whole it would be better if the answer contained provided an explanation/justification. In short, yes, single-line code/SQL-query/regexp answers should be considered low quality.

Addressing single line code/SQL-query/regexp answers involves adding meaning to the answer, which something only the origin author can do. I don't think reputation comes into this.

Should we perhaps re-evaluate what constitutes a "low quality post" to make this particular review tab more useful?

I think if reviewers had more tools to curate low quality posts, such as:

  • pushing back answers to the original authors for editing, or
  • exclude posts from the low quality post tab

then you could address almost every post the appears in the low quality post tab. I the mean time all I can do is keeping combing post for those ones Whose quality I can improve.

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