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I recently got access to review and I spent some time reviewing old posts. What is the best course of action if the post is straightforward, correct, but very simple (therefore not worthy of +1, especially if someone else already gave a much better/more complete answer). In other words:

  1. The answer is not good enough to be +1
  2. The answer is not bad enough to be -1
  3. The answer is basically correct (doesn't need editing)
  4. There is nothing "wrong" with the post so it shouldn't be flagged.
  5. The answer is too simple to have a constructive comment beyond "Please don't answer extremely old questions with accepted answers unless you have something to add!"

I may have answered my own question with point 5...

share|improve this question
@Servy: I'm trying to understand more about the philosophy of stackoverflow. It seems that information accuracy is far more important than historical accuracy - the fact that my original post had different content is irrelevant because the new content is better. Even if it's less facts (because the deleted piece is not useful). Would you agree? – durron597 Oct 26 '12 at 16:53
Spot on with points 1 - 4. But what if the person leaves a late answer that is valid and adds to the question? And what if the subject matter is something that I don't understand well enough to say +1 or -1? In that case we really need a Looks Good button. – Yuck Nov 16 '12 at 15:02
@Yuck: If you don't understand it, that is what Skip is for. – durron597 Nov 16 '12 at 15:15
Still, let's say there is a well written post about Oracle that may have incorrect or incomplete information. Since I'm more focused on SQL Server I'm not in a position to say -1, but I can definitely tell that it looks good; basically, I can tell it's not gibberish or a half-baked response./ – Yuck Nov 16 '12 at 15:23
But what if the Syntax is completely wrong? Then it probably should be -1. But you would have no way of knowing, and that's why you should skip. – durron597 Nov 16 '12 at 15:28
Then skip should give credit for reviewing. TBH I'm kind of put off by that category as it's set up currently. Reviewing is a pretty mindless endeavor and for whatever reason, ticking up the count is rewarding enough to have me push on. – Yuck Nov 16 '12 at 15:32
up vote 6 down vote accepted

If you can't find anything to do with an item in the review queue then the appropriate thing to do is click "Skip". This is true of any of the items in late posts or first posts. You shouldn't perform an action that you don't agree with just for the sake of enabling the "I'm done" button.

As for this specific case, I consider adding a short, not well thought out answer to an older question to which there are one or more comprehensive quality answers that already provide all of the information in the late answer and more to be undesirable behavior, and I would downvote and possibly comment to indicate that you should really only provide answers when you have something meaningful to add that hasn't already been addressed in another answer. If the user has posted at least some meaningful bit of new information though then that wouldn't apply, and I wouldn't downvote.

Also note that the first posts and late answers are specifically for new users, for that reason you should make an effort to be overly nice in your comments towards them. You shouldn't be overly critical; focus on what they should do, not what they shouldn't.

share|improve this answer
as far as I can see in recent review UI "not sure" button label has been renamed to "skip" – gnat Oct 26 '12 at 15:21
@gnat Right, fixed. I haven't done much in the queues for the past few weeks out of frustration... – Servy Oct 26 '12 at 15:23
@Servy: one other thing, does the review UI have a good way to view the other answers to a question without doing "right+click -> open in new tab" on the question? (in other words, an in-review-page way) – durron597 Oct 26 '12 at 15:29
Hard to beat the browser UI for that, @durron597. – Shog9 Oct 26 '12 at 15:29
@durron597 No, although, by design, the review page doesn't show everything that the question does. It shows the information that is most likely to be relevant. If you would like to see information not shown there then the appropriate thing to do is open up the actual question. As for making that easier, I prefer middle-mouse-click as the method of opening a link in a new tab (it's much quicker) but that's just a browser function, nothing specific to any site. – Servy Oct 26 '12 at 15:30

Actually, it's a pretty good point. I think there should be a Looks Good option on review, which indicates that no action should be taken.

The downside of this is that users may abuse it to get badges.

share|improve this answer
To prevent this abuse, simply make "Looks Good" not count for the badges. – sth Oct 26 '12 at 14:34
In addition to making "Looks Good" not count for badges, make it enabled 1 or 2 seconds before the other buttons. – Bill the Lizard Oct 26 '12 at 14:38
I like this idea a lot, both the "Looks Good" and the "not count for badges". This is my first post in meta stack overflow, does it make sense to add that to my original post and add the tag feature request? – durron597 Oct 26 '12 at 14:49
@durron597 Not really, as it's been requested a lot before, so it would just get closed as a duplicate. – Servy Oct 26 '12 at 15:08
@Servy: Hmm apparently it's already in the beta – durron597 Oct 26 '12 at 15:13
@durron597 The low quality posts has a "looks good" first posts and late posts do not (it was intentionally omitted, despite the fact that many community members want it, hence the lots of duplicate requests for it). Note that you're currently using the new review beta, not the old one. – Servy Oct 26 '12 at 15:14
@sth If "looks good" gives no badge, there's no point to it beyond "skip". – Andrew Barber Oct 26 '12 at 20:13
@Andrew: The point is not to get badges, the point is to review posts. And "Nothing to do here" is different from "I don't want to deal with it now". – sth Oct 26 '12 at 23:20
@sth Without badges, I don't see the difference; I don't get them to look at again if I click "Skip". – Andrew Barber Oct 28 '12 at 0:05
@andrew: But other people get to look at them. – sth Oct 28 '12 at 0:29
@sth Now I get your point :) – Andrew Barber Oct 28 '12 at 1:01
This could simply work the same way as the the other queues do after doing one review, in that the buttons would take a short amount of time to active (possibly something along the lines of 5 seconds?) to prevent mindless spamming of the system. – Nightfirecat Nov 6 '12 at 1:33
Late Answers needs a Looks Good button. Sometimes that answer does in fact look good but is outside my area of expertise. In that case I can't really add anything by editing or commenting, and I don't know if it's worth a +1. So I've been leaving a comment "Good first answer" which is completely pointless. – Yuck Nov 16 '12 at 14:59

The answer is too simple to have a constructive comment beyond "Please don't answer extremely old questions with accepted answers unless you have something to add!"

If that's really the advice you think is appropriate - that is, if the answer truly adds nothing to what was already there - then why wouldn't you post that? And possibly down-vote as well?

I may have answered my own question with point 5...


share|improve this answer
It's still a good question to ask even if I think I already know the answer. For example several people here have suggested this sort of post should be downvoted, which I probably would not have done without asking this question here. – durron597 Oct 26 '12 at 15:30
@durron597 Voting is an entirely subjective manor. Nobody can tell you what you can or can't downvote (with the exception of voting fraud by voting for yourself, or serial downvoting). It's perfectly acceptable for different people to have their own possibly wildly different guidelines for when to up/down vote. What Shog or I would vote on this post doesn't need to matter to you. It's entirely up to you to determine if that post is worthy of a downvote. – Servy Oct 26 '12 at 15:33

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