I've been using the new /review on a couple of the smaller sites on the network. In general it works very well, I've been doing a lot more review. But there in may lie a problem, in that it is easy and apparently encouraged to make lots of edits to old questions. Working through Low Quality Posts tool I find made a few edits, and then returned to the front page to find that the old, in some cases answered questions that I had edited were now sitting at the top of the front page.

This isn't a problem on the trilogy because the volume of new questions will always surpass or at least rival the volume of edits, and because of the different front page style on SO. However, on a small site, it would be easy for a user or a few users eagerly cleaning up the site to wash out new questions on the front page. It's been a problem we've had from time to time even without the current tools.

Am I making something out of nothing, or is this a real problem?

If this is a real problem how should it be addressed?

  • Limit the number of posts reviewed per hour (limiting the queue)?
  • Making /review edits not bump?
  • Somehow change the front page algorithm?
  • Large numbers of edits (from any source) can be an issue on the SF front page too.
    – user147520
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 21:05
  • This is why I prefer the default view to be "newest".
    – Iszi
    Commented Aug 28, 2012 at 18:15
  • A potential solution: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/122567/… Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 15:50

3 Answers 3


Am I making something out of nothing, or is this a real problem?

I'm of the opinion that "front page edit pollution" is usually not a real problem, provided the edits are substantive. The whole point of bumping is to get more eyes on the post, so complaining that these are thrown up in front of more people only makes sense if the changes shouldn't have been made at all.

However, encouraging one person to make dozens of quick reviews is a bad idea in general, particularly on a smaller site.

So the "solution" here is indeed stricter rate-limits.

However, keep in mind that at this point, most folks are working through a backlog of older posts - in the future, this should be less of an issue, as there will be fewer old, unreviewed posts floating around.

For what it's worth: edits are fairly rare during reviews, even with the new system putting them front and center. The goal is to actively encourage fixing problem posts rather than simply deleting them or ignoring problems - but realistically, rarely on a site do more than 1% of reviews result in an edit - and usually, the number is lower. An increase in useful edits to borderline posts coming out of this would be a very nice problem to have...

  • 3
    On a tangentially related note... A thing to keep in mind: a lot of edits done by a 2k+ user in a short amount of time on a smaller site are still a problem. We might want to enforce some sort of rate limiting on those, even if they're done with the best intentions (e.g. an organized retagging effort).
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 21:14
  • Even if the edits are substantial improvement, you're pushing back new posts that need the attention more. Reviewing cleanup edits is necessary, but exposing new questions and answers is more important, I think. Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 21:57
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    @AnnaLear: Don't make janitorial tasks tedious and annoying unless you want people to stop doing them.
    – sth
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 0:24
  • @sth When a janitorial task results in flooding the home page with dozens of trivial edits on low-volume sites, it's already tedious and annoying for everyone save the person making those edits.
    – user149432
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 1:05
  • 1
    This is the point in the discussion where folks need hard examples of what they're talking about, since the current /review queues definitely do not encourage large amounts of trivial editing (or large amounts of editing period).
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 1:13
  • @Shog9 I don't think Anna's comment (or subsequently sth's and mine) is really about the review queue, unless there's some way to use the review queue to conduct organized retagging efforts that I'm unaware of.
    – user149432
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 3:26
  • @Shog9 But specifically to your point about the review queue not encouraging large amounts of editing; I don't see that. I spent some time in the low quality posts queue on Arqade tonight: editing was pretty easy, and you're immediately given another post to review (and edit). Even balancing editing with voting to delete and signing off on posts that were okay, I was able to flood the front page in 30 minutes after ~45 reviews.
    – user149432
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:03
  • You are an exception to the norm, @Mark. Congratulations! (as I said in my edit: if this actually becomes an issue, it'll be a nice problem to have)
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:07
  • @Shog9 My mother always said I was special, but perhaps could you elaborate on what about the review system doesn't encourage large amounts of editing? There isn't any friction to it, and it seems much easier than randomly looking for things to edit outside the queue.
    – user149432
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:12
  • 2
    @Mark: I mean that the primary resistance to editing has never been that finding stuff to edit is hard - it's the work involved in the edit itself. Currently, there are no queues that require editing in order to dispatch an item - there are always two other options, both of them less time-consuming than the edit.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:15
  • @Shog9 Ah, I understand now. Danke!
    – user149432
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 4:20

I did propose a feature that would prevent or warn users from flooding the frontpage a while ago: Warn or block users from flooding the front page with edits. I think rather than bluntly rate-limiting, defining the limit as a maximum percentage of the frontpage that was edited by a single user would help to scale this to different frontpage velocities.

I don't think this should be seen as a problem of the /review system, it only encourages such mass edits, they were always possible. Any limit should be independent of whether it was done from the /review path or from anywhere else.

  • It makes it a lot harder to explain to the over-eager editor, because now this activity is encouraged en-masse.
    – C. Ross
    Commented Aug 26, 2012 at 22:33

I suggest the "bump" be not (necessarily) immediate.

That is (probably for all edits) make the bump occur some time inversely proportional to the number of characters changed, or some other criteria.

Community already randomly bumps questions, so, perhaps at least for testing this, it could be that smaller edits just get put on a queue for Community to bump at some near future time.

  • The whole point of bumping questions is for the edits to be reviewed by the community, and possibly reverted if inappropriate. What you are proposing would make it too easy for spam/vandalizing/otherwise inappropriate edits to survive for a while, do we really want that?
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 2:50
  • @YannisRizos In that case you're in the "this is not a problem camp". And I'm still expecting any signficant changes to be bumped immediately, and on sites with lots of questions there should be no delay either. The only situation where this delay should occur is where a site has had quite a few edit bumps and few questions recently. The delay should probably be no more than 24 hours.
    – Mark Hurd
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 2:55
  • I'm not in the "this is not a problem" camp, I'm just saying that your proposal doesn't really solve the problem and will potentially create a lot more. Letting inappropriate edits survive longer is not an option, letting people know that they might have taken it a bit too far with their edits for the day is a far better solution.
    – yannis
    Commented Aug 27, 2012 at 3:06

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