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.
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.
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.