What is meta? ×
Meta Stack Exchange is where users like you discuss bugs, features, and support issues that affect the software powering all 129 Stack Exchange communities.

Here is an idea for an advanced feature. While it could be implemented by StackExchange Inc, I suspect it is a feature that is too advanced/specific to be considered. I have thought about implementing it as a separate web-site, with links into StackExchange. However, I realise I am never going to get a chance to implement it and it isn't in the sweet spot of my skill-set, so I offer it to anyone interested in implementing. Feedback welcome.

The idea is to offer a customised review queue to allow volunteers to carry out any campaign to review and fix StackExchange questions and answers.

There are many examples of such a campaign:

  • Splitting an ambiguous tag into two.
  • Removing "Thanks" messages and "Please Help".
  • Fixing posts with short titles
  • Cleaning up your very least favourite spelling error.
  • Finding and removing particular curse words.
  • Chasing down spam
  • Inlining exposed URLs

There are plenty of site-specific rules. Ask people about their pet peeves and get more ideas.

(I can think of several for Skeptics.SE where I am a mod - e.g. old, downvoted posts with post-notices.)

Some campaigns are bigger than a single motivated volunteer. The goal of this feature is to herd the volunteers so that they can co-operate effectively at these campaigns - efficiently allocating reviewers' eyeballs to look at those posts.

There are basically two pages: Configuring a campaign and Reviewing.

Configuring a Campaign

Anyone could configure a campaign.

A campaign is configured with a name and linked to a particular StackExchange site.

It is configured with a sets of instructions explaining to reviewers what they are looking for, and what actions they should take if they find an offending post.

The key part of the campaign is a query - which would be predefined in the Data Explorer - which returns all of the posts that need to be reviewed.

There are several types of campaign:

Single Shot versus Ongoing

They may be single-shot or ongoing.

A single-shot campaign would be to deal with a problem with old posts. Once the existing items have been reviewed, the campaign can stop.

An ongoing campaign is one where new posts will also need reviewing - the query must be re-run periodically, and volunteers continuously persuaded to review new items.

Eradication versus Inspection

It may be an eradication campaign or an inspection campaign.

An eradication campaign is used when the data query can reliably detect offending posts. The posts will continue to be reviewed by volunteers until someone edits them so they no longer appear in the query.

An inspection campaign is used when the data query can only hint at posts that might need editing.

Inspection campaigns have a goal that each post will either (a) be edited until it is eradicated, or (b) be seen by sufficient eyeballs that it is accepted as legitimate.

Inspection campaigns are configured with the number of people who must review a post before it is considered legitimate.

The next requirement assumes that it is possible to authenticate a user against a StackExchange site, which I haven't looked into, technically. Note: Despite being authenticated, there is no attempt to (a) make any edits - or even any reads - on behalf of the user, (b) no details, except the user id, current rep and moderator status need be known, and only the user id need be stored.

Inspection campaigns may be configured with:

  • The number (possibly N/A) of unauthenticated users.
  • The number (possibly N/A) of authenticated users.
  • The number (possibly N/A) of users with at least 10,000 rep (say).
  • The number of moderators.

A campaign might, for example, declare that review by one moderator is sufficient, or alternatively review by two trusted users, or alternatively review by five non-trusted users, but unauthenticated users should not be counted.

For eradication campaigns, there is no need to authenticate the user in any way.

Publicising the Campaign

Once a campaign is configured, a URL is generated to link to the campaign.

The campaign may be a solo campaign, used only by the person who created it to track their work.

Alternatively, the campaign may be advertised in various out-of-scope channels (e.g. chat rooms), providing any volunteers with the URL.

Reviewing

Visiting the URL will display information about how campaigns work, and the particular instructions for this campaign.

It should also display any progress made through the campaign (e.g. 35% complete). If the campaign is complete, this should be indicated.

For incomplete campaigns, the key item provided is a link to a StackExchange post for reviewing - a post that is still appearing in the query and has not had enough eyeballs (in the case of inspection campaigns).

While a click on the link should be recorded (as a review for Inspection campaigns), there's no attempt to record what actions, if any, were taken on the StackExchange site. There is no attempt to, for example, take the majority view as in the StackExchange review queue.

Users should have the option to "undo" a visit - i.e. acknowledge that they did not perform a review, and the review count should be duly decremented for that post.

Conclusion

This is a feature I would love to see. I think it targets too few people to be of interest to the StackExchange team (happy to be proven wrong), but could be implemented as a fairly straightforward external site - maybe with some ads to cover the hosting.

Happy to chat with anyone interested in implementing it. I would strongly encourage anyone thinking of doing so to check the Terms and Conditions, and consult with the StackExchange Inc. I can't imagine any reason they might object, but they have better imaginations than me.

share|improve this question
    
Frankly, this idea sounds like a license to perform numerous minor edits and is going to result in bumping of a host of questions that don't need bumped. Besides, one persons pet peeve is a non-issue for others. –  psubsee2003 Nov 21 '13 at 10:17
    
@psubsee2003: Are campaigns going to result in questions being bumped? Generally, yes (unless the campaign is to close/delete/flag the offending questions). Is bumping an issue? I think it's a bit of an issue - e.g. tag-changes shouldn't result in bumps, but meta-questions on the topic have dismissed that concern, as such changes should be reviewed too. Pet peeve may have been a poor choice of words - to get a set of volunteers to help, you need to have an issue people are willing to spend effort on. I suspect if I grill you long enough, I'll find a few issues you think are worthwhile. –  Oddthinking Nov 21 '13 at 11:53
    
Example: On Skeptics.SE, answers without references are marked with a post notice, downvoted and if not fixed within a reasonable period, deleted. I would like to design a campaign I can share with mods and trusted users to look for such posts. Not merely a pet peeve - a community standard. –  Oddthinking Nov 21 '13 at 11:56
    
Never said I didn't disagree with some of the issues you mentioned (the only one I don't see as a big deal is exposed URLs). But my point is a "campaign" sounds like it could result in hundreds of questions getting bumped (or thousands on bigger sites). This would effectively destroy the front page of those sites with an active campaign. I don't dislike the concept of cleaning up old posts, I just think if it is done, it needs to be heavily rate limited and the participates need to use some judgement in when to edit and when to ignore it. –  psubsee2003 Nov 21 '13 at 12:59
    
@psubsee2003: Rate limiting is a good idea; I had given some brief thought about using it to prevent malicious agents tanking a campaign. (Unlike the Review Queue, this has no badge or rep impact, so there will be less incentive to game it.) I hadn't considered it from the damage-to-the-front-page aspect. –  Oddthinking Nov 21 '13 at 15:07
    
Some related previous questions: 1, 2, 3. –  Oddthinking Nov 21 '13 at 15:08
    
If it's just about getting lists of questions with pet peeves, why not use the data explorer? –  Raphael Jun 2 at 21:12
    
@Raphael: The Data Explorer is a fundamental technology this idea is built on, but once you have a query returning offending posts, and a small army of volunteers, what happens next? This feature addresses that. –  Oddthinking Jun 3 at 1:12

You must log in to answer this question.

Browse other questions tagged .