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I have an idea that I wanted to run past you guys.

What do you think to a new Review task or similar tool be added to SO, that identifies posts that might need editing?

Something like this could be implemented fairly easily, e.g. by checking for the existence of things like lots of  i 's (for example).

I see a lot of posts like i am struggling with... i have tried... i think it might be.

Of course, this is just a simple example, but such a tool could also check for other common things that might signal a potential edit requirement.

What do you guys think? Is this something that might be useful?

It would certainly increase the overall quality of posts on the site anyway.

Also, people would be incentivised by a) the +2, b) progress towards Copy Editor, and c) the additional Custodian, Reviewer and Steward badges.

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I don't like the "a) the +2" - I think if under 2k users had access to this queue, it would just encourage them to spam the edit queue with minor edits in an effort to gain reputation. You'd just be transferring all the posts from one queue to the other... – animuson Mar 6 '13 at 2:50
@animuson Lock it off to > 2k then... I don't mind, I can wait ;) Either way, it increases the quality of posts on the site. Of course, you can always throw Audits into the mix too. – Danny Beckett Mar 6 '13 at 2:50
The current queues already have a lot of questions in need of editing. And we are encouraged to focus on more substantial edits (not that the lowercase is aren't annoying, because they are very). I fear that could encourage the opposite, i.e., minor edits. – bfavaretto Mar 6 '13 at 3:36
@DannyBeckett How would this be different from the low quality posts review queue? – Eliah Kagan Mar 6 '13 at 5:14
@EliahKagan To be honest, I haven't seen the Low Quality Posts queue (I'm on 1.5k rep). Is that essentially the same as what I've described? – Danny Beckett Mar 6 '13 at 5:15
@DannyBeckett It encourages other actions besides editing. The four options are Looks Good, Recommend Deletion--or Delete if you have the rep, Edit, and Skip. But it seems to be a queue containing the kinds of posts you're talking about--posts that heuristic analysis reveals are likely to be low quality. I suppose posts that have high quality markers (aren't too short, have both lower case and capital letters, etc.) but contain some low-quality parts would make good cases for editing while not being low quality overall (so deletion wouldn't make sense). – Eliah Kagan Mar 6 '13 at 5:20
@EliahKagan Thanks for that! Would you make it into an answer and I'll accept it? – Danny Beckett Mar 6 '13 at 5:21
@DannyBeckett Since it is not entirely the same, this doesn't necessarily mean a "needs editing" queue shouldn't exist. But yes, I'll go ahead and post an answer based on that. – Eliah Kagan Mar 6 '13 at 5:34
We have a way to identify first and low-quality questions based on an algorithm, and those questions show up in their respective queues. Depending on the context they may need to be edited, but not all of them. I'm not sure a magic algorithm exists to find all questions that need to be edited. – Makoto Mar 6 '13 at 5:43
up vote 3 down vote accepted

You've suggested a queue for posts that fail a heuristic test designed to predict quality. While the Low Quality Posts review queue is not quite the same as what you've suggested--in particular, it generally does not contain longer posts where most of the post is good quality--there's enough overlap that a "needs editing" queue is likely not necessary.

You need 2000 reputation to review Low Quality Posts. For answers, this review queue offers Looks Good, Recommend Deletion (or Delete if you have enough reputation), Edit, and Skip options. For questions, it offers Looks Good, Close (and I think Recommend Closing if you don't have 3k rep to close), Edit, and Skip.

The heuristics the system uses to identify posts as likely being of low quality aren't necessarily the same as the ones you'd use to identify a post as needing editing. A post that is good quality overall but has little pockets of low quality is probably one of the few kinds of posts the system could automatically identifcy as likely needing editing, and these would usually not be "low quality" enough to enter the Low Quality Posts review queue. Therefore, there may be some merit to this feature request.

However, unless the heuristics would have to be highly sophisticated, it's probably possible to use the Data Explorer to find posts that need editing. And this is something anyone (who can write or find an appropriate SQL query) can do, with any amount of reputation (or even without an account). This is not perfect, of course, as the data are not updated immediately upon creation.

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