I have been doing a lot of beta review, and often that calls for using the "canned comments" for recommended deletion. It seems that a lot of users are confused and getting quite offended that I am critiquing their posts from upwards of two years ago.

I suspect I've gotten around 20 messages from different users calling me a troll for digging up posts from the past. I'm fine to defend myself, but as this user mentioned it might be nice if there was some indicator that the comment was generated by the beta review process. This way the user would understand that my critique is nothing personal but just a side effect of the process.

  • Perhaps just some meta post that I should link to explaining that it is auto generated based on the /review tool (with screenshots!). If someone gets pissy I'll just toss them that link before continuing the discussion. – Servy Aug 20 '12 at 15:11
  • Hmm... You've mentioned in a couple of comments that you're missing some context on the review screen - what's lacking that would've changed your mind about some of these answers? – Shog9 Aug 20 '12 at 15:28
  • Well, in that instance I was just shamelessly covering my ass. But in instances like this I usually don't take time to compare their answer with the other answers available. – Conner Aug 20 '12 at 15:32
  • @Shog9 I think it would be nice to have the accepted answer, or first answer if none accepted, to show when reviewing a question. If I find a trivial question, I often look up the question to see if there are any substantial answers. If there are, then I vote not sure and let someone with better discernment decide what to do. – Lee Louviere Aug 20 '12 at 15:35
  • Hmm... That isn't a very good answer, but it's hardly a good comment either. – Shog9 Aug 20 '12 at 15:35

I don't like that very much; I'd rather fix the text of the comments if there's room for improvement. Feel free to make suggestions there.

I did go through your responses though, and something I've noticed is that you're throwing "should be a comment" on a lot of short answers. I'm thinking we might need some more guidance there:

  • Comment: auxiliary information, requests for more information from author, criticism of post, etc.
  • Answer: offers solution to the question.

Detailed, comprehensive answers are always nice, but - depending on the question - a short answer can, and often is, still an answer. Be careful about suggesting that they be made into comments, and double-careful about recommending deletion for them when they contain useful information.

Oh - and you don't have to leave a comment either, if none of the pre-written ones are applicable and you've nothing in particular you want to say.

  • I see. Thanks. I made this mistake when I first started reviewing. Maybe a better thing to say would be. "Can you say more about this. You answered the OPs question, but your answer just leads to more questions." – Lee Louviere Aug 20 '12 at 15:40
  • I think the problem is that reviewers are seeing that radio-button list and feeling like they have to pick one, and since all the other options are very specific, the "this should be a comment" is becoming the default. I've personally yet to choose "No comment" for this reason, and I don't know how much that kneecaps the backend heuristics. – SevenSidedDie Aug 21 '12 at 1:21
  • I think hiding the radio group behind a "I also want to leave a comment" check box would be a better way to present it. Comments on ancient posts are starting to get in people's hair. – Tim Post Aug 21 '12 at 5:40

Something I just noticed: If you have access to the question or answer you've just added a canned (proforma) comment, such as by following the question link before recommending deletion, after recommending a proforma comment, if you refresh the question page you can edit the comment (within the same short period as normal for editing comments I assume).

  • You can add a comment directly on the review page and then just recommend deletion without a canned comment. – Conner Aug 21 '12 at 5:37
  • @Conner This depends upon the answer to this question. If the choice of reason for deletion recommendation matters, this feature is useful. If not, you're right, just add a comment and choose "No comment". – Mark Hurd Aug 21 '12 at 5:51

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