We're grinding through the old /review queues, moving them into the new Community Review Dashboard format.

Recently, Emmett's been slaving over a hot compiler to bring you: the First Posts queue:

The queue

This is a bit different from the preview queues, which tend to focus on a handful of very specific actions to accomplish specific tasks. The items in this queue are simply the first questions or answers posted by new users (limited to those less than 30 days old). The actions are... Anything!

The action item

We're asking you to help introduce new users to the site - give them some feedback, provide some helpful edits, and flag problems for the moderators. This is your chance to be a part of the S.W.A.T. Team of Nice welcoming posse, encouraging the new recruits and helping them learn the ropes.

The only requirement to participate is the ability to cast both up and down-votes on the site, making this the most inclusive queue to date.

If this works out, we'll probably use roughly the same format for the "Late Answers" queue - so please let us know if you run into any problems, or have suggestions on how to improve things.

Ok... I'm seeing a bit of confusion in the answers here, so let me make something clear:

This is not a tool to make lynching newbies easier.

Yes, there's about a 1 in 5 chance that the post you're looking at will be utter crap, or at very least something you'll want to down-vote. But it is just as important to provide some sort of feedback to the new authors whose posts aren't terrible - whether that's an up-vote, or a comment, or even a small edit that puts a bit more of a shine on their already-useful contribution.

If you're after a queue with a higher crap-to-quality ratio and sharp instruments to go with it, there are a couple of those already, and likely more to come.

  • 9
    When I saw the title, I thought it was spam! ;)
    – apaderno
    Sep 13, 2012 at 22:26
  • 7
    When I first saw the title I went "wtf?" Then I saw it was by Shog and went "WHOA WTF!?!?"
    – animuson StaffMod
    Sep 13, 2012 at 22:26
  • 1
    Can we have comment templates like the ones in the Low Quality queue?
    – hammar
    Sep 14, 2012 at 0:19
  • 7
    Who defiled this psot's original title? I'm this close to starting an edit war. If only I were not on vacation and so lazy
    – Pekka
    Sep 14, 2012 at 1:43
  • Where did all the 300k First Questions go? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/147031/… Sep 14, 2012 at 10:49
  • Not on Metas? Here on MSO I'd expect it, at least.
    – ale
    Sep 14, 2012 at 12:55
  • Does the new queue include 101 rep users?
    – Rory
    Sep 14, 2012 at 14:12
  • This is the first time I've read this meta post, and I had no idea this was the original purpose of the First Posts queue. I thought it was just a tool to give janitors a list of questions that had a higher chance of being "bad". Afterall, the text for the queue just says "Review first posts from new users", and not "Help guide these new users".
    – Rachel
    Jun 18, 2014 at 19:26

11 Answers 11


Couldn't the "I am done" button be immediately activated? If a post doesn't need any action, I am immediately done. I know I could select the "I am not sure" button, but for me that means "I cannot decide what to do with this post, so I'll let somebody else decide what to do"; "I am done with the post" doesn't mean "I am not sure about what to do," or "I cannot decide what to do with the post."

If it's too extreme to have the button always enabled, perhaps it could be conditionally enabled immediately, taking into account:

  • The actions of the user outside the queue. If the user has already voted on the post, or edited it, done both, or voted to close, the button should be enabled.

  • The number of times the user has consecutively clicked on "I am done" without taking any action on a post. If the user keeps clicking on that button, it could mean the user is not participating in the queue. It could of course also mean the user is really getting posts for which there is nothing to do, but I would doubt that on (for example) 40 first posts, there would not be anything to do to any of them.

I think that having the "I am done" button enabled from the beginning is like having the "Looks Good" button enabled in the low quality queue. I can understand the need to be sure users are active in the queue, and not just clicking a button to handle more posts, but I think there is a difference between the two queues: The low quality queue shows posts that didn't pass a post quality test, while the first posts queue just shows the first posts of a user, which don't necessarily have anything wrong with them.

  • 5
    The situation where you've already taken some action on the post is legit. The situation where you don't want to take any action isn't. If you don't want to do anything with a post, click "not sure" and let someone else take a whack at it.
    – Shog9
    Sep 13, 2012 at 22:45
  • 11
    It's not about a "I don't want to do anything" situation; it's more about a "there is nothing to do" situation. I am thinking to those cases where somebody has already taken care of the post from outside the review queue, and I can only say "there is nothing left to do."
    – apaderno
    Sep 13, 2012 at 22:53
  • 3
    you're saying that no one else needs to vote (up or down), no one else needs to edit, no one else needs to comment... That's really not something you can determine. If you don't see anything you feel needs to be done, click "not sure". We'll keep an eye on this to see if there are a lot of leper posts that no one wants to touch - but at this point, I'd rather not optimize for that case.
    – Shog9
    Sep 13, 2012 at 22:56
  • 7
    The button says "I am done," not "We are done." ;) If, for example, I up-vote the post, and click on "I am done," that doesn't mean there isn't anything else other users can do. If you are asking me to only click on "I am done" when nothing else can be done from anybody else, then it is probably better to use a single button: Next. What happens when X users up-vote and click on "I am done"? Does the system take nothing else need to be done? I understand it's not the case to optimize so early, but it's a case to consider.
    – apaderno
    Sep 13, 2012 at 23:01
  • 3
    Again, the case where you've already done something is legit - we could handle that in some way. But if you don't want to take any action, then... Well, you really aren't reviewing the post.
    – Shog9
    Sep 13, 2012 at 23:04
  • 13
    @Shog9 I have to agree with kiamlaluno: if I determine that the post is ok (no editing/commenting/closing/flagging/voting required), that is a review. Not all unobjectionable posts warrant upvoting. What am I supposed to do with a post that requires no action? Sep 13, 2012 at 23:10
  • 12
    @Shog9 Sigh I do know what to do with the post: nothing. Sep 13, 2012 at 23:17
  • 7
    @Shog9 If I am not sure what to do, I click on "Not Sure"; If am sure there is nothing to do, I click on "I am done." It is about functionality, as the "I am done" button is not enabled from the beginning. I understand the purpose of the queue is being used, but that doesn't mean doing something for every first posts shown there. With low quality posts, I am not forced to do something for a post, as I could choose "Looks Good." That button is already enabled when I review a post; I am not forced to edit the post, suggest to delete it, or vote it.
    – apaderno
    Sep 14, 2012 at 0:09
  • 9
    @Shog9 By the way, what if I've already voted from the post (say because I saw it from the front page)? What's the rationale in not being able to click “I'm Done” in that case? If “I'm Done” isn't different from “Not Sure” after all, why have two buttons? Sep 14, 2012 at 0:17
  • 4
    @Gilles: that is something we should probably address.
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 0:27
  • 9
    @Shog9 There are only two possible actions in this new queue: something and nothing. That's forcing me to upvote something that may not deserve it or pass the responsibility to someone else, otherwise these new posts will just fester in the queue while we all play "not sure" volleyball with them.
    – jonsca
    Sep 14, 2012 at 14:07
  • 4
    @ChrisCudmore Why? The fact the post is one of the first posts of a user doesn't mean something needs to be done. It's not the low quality queue, where the post didn't pass a quality test.
    – apaderno
    Sep 14, 2012 at 14:49
  • 3
    @jonsca: it's not forcing you to do anything. And yes, it is possible that some posts will hang in the queue (for 30 days) with no action - but until I see this in practice, I'm skeptical that it is an actual problem. The biggest issue with the old review system was apathy - providing a "Meh" button for folks who don't want to make a call doesn't really do anything but create busywork for folks who want to feel like they're participating without actually doing anything.
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 14:49
  • 3
    @Shog9 If I must upvote the good and useful posts and downvote the bad and useless, then what do I do with the rest? Nothing.
    – jonsca
    Sep 14, 2012 at 14:55
  • 3
    @jonsca: I'm not sure where you're going with this, but... You're not new here: you've made hundreds of edits, raised hundreds of flags, cast thousands of votes, and left scores of comments. You know what can and should be done on a post... and what can't or shouldn't. If you're honestly arguing that this queue is going to be clogged by a glut of perfect but somehow mediocre posts, then I expect to see examples of this; if you expect this is going to replace /questions, then... It's not.
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 15:02

While editing a post, the comments are hidden. This is annoying when you're editing to add information that was provided in comments (sometimes multiple comments).


Couldn't we have a separate queue for First Answers and First Questions, please? Reviewing one post type is completely different from another.

  • With questions, I'm primarily looking for clear messages, any indicator of off-topicness, or general low quality signs such as poor spelling or grammar. Generally, things that new users don't know about the site: Scope and how to write questions.

  • With answers, there are indicators that quickly let you see whether something is a "Me too" post, or Spam, or should have been a comment. These are very very common for first answers a user leaves on SE sites, but rarely appear as first questions.

The whole idea of the new review queue was to get people to focus on one thing, without offering them all possibilities there are.

Why not show them one type of post so they can focus (and expect) on the right kind of indicators? This would allow one to stay in the "correct" mindset for the task they want to follow in that moment.

  • And hey, it wouldn't hurt, would it?
    – slhck
    Sep 14, 2012 at 20:16

Posts should not be shown if the reviewing user appears in the edit history of the currently reviewed post (and if it was only a retag) or if the user did already vote on the post.

  • Similar, but I suggest to simply skip the post completely.
    – Flow
    Sep 14, 2012 at 17:30
  • Which I suggested as an alternative...
    – ale
    Sep 14, 2012 at 17:39
  • 1
    The problem with skipping it entirely, @Flow, is that it makes things complicated if you reload the page after taking an action but before clicking "done". And hey, this way you have a chance to get credit for the review!
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 19:58

Here's some ideas I have for expanding this:

  1. All posts made by users that do not have an upvote. e.g: user makes first post and then posts immediately afterward — second post should qualify for this as well.
  2. Probationary period — either time- or reputation-based. Obvious reputation would be 10, as that is the new-user restriction. As for time, some ideas might be a week or 2–3 days. This would apply regardless of reputation; a 2-day old user with 1k reputation would still qualify for this.
  3. First Answer and First Question get included. That way a new user can get a review on an answer and on a question. This idea can also be changed — this means that instead of the first question and answer, we could include the first three etc.
  4. New Question/Answer Ban Level — this would be a lesser ban. Users under this ban are permitted to ask/answer questions, but they must be approved by a certain amount of people (possibly include a higher reputation requirement to do this) before the question is visible. An approval for such questions would not count as an upvote. The catch is that if the questions asked by users (or answer) under this new ban are bad then reviewers will be able to downvote the question. Enough downvotes under this ban, and the user will get a normal ban.
  5. Any combination of these ideas. So for instance, if the user gets enough reputation before the trial period expires, their posts will not appear here. But if they somehow get a lesser ban afterwards, then they will appear on here again.
  • 2
    We talked about #1 and #2; my gut feeling is that it's unnecessary. You don't need the Welcome Wagon showing up at your door every day for the first week after you move to a new place. As I already noted, we do cap these at 30 days. #3 sounds like it might be worthwhile. #4 sorta misses the point.
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 0:01

When reviewing answers, I'd like to be able to see other answers, to watch for duplicate answers.

Also, when reviewing answers, I'd like to see the answer below the question. It's a matter of habit. (That applies to other queues as well.)

  • 3
    If you suspect it's a duplicate - perhaps because there are already 15 answers to the question - then you're best off opening the whole thing up in a separate tab. Chances are, there are issues with other answers as well.
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 0:02

Bug report (two bugs, in fact).

I edited a question with many comments. After I finished editing, clicking the “add / show 8 more comments” button did not have any effect: I could only see the always-visible comments. (That's bug #1.) Chrome 21.0.1180.89.

I reloaded the page. After that, I could click to see the other comments. The “I'm Done” button remained grayed out. (That's bug #2.) Sure, I've done nothing since this page reload, but I have acted on the question in that review queue. I'm done now dammit!


One common pattern I've noticed when using this is posts where others have already put in the helpful comment needed for a new user of the site.

In these cases I've been clicking "Not Sure" as it's not beneficial for me to restate the helpful advice that others have already provided. This feels like a case where it may be worth having a "taken care of" action. Something to indicate I'm not putting it back in the queue for others to act on (because they already have) but rather that there is nothing further to do.

  • Maybe the post need to go back into the queue a few hours after the comment has been added, so you can decide if more action is needed. Feb 3, 2014 at 15:04

My immediate request would be to have some way to easily activate "I'm done" (e.g. keyboard shortcut, or moving it somewhere easier to reach (which I know won't fit in with the rest of the review queue, so option 1?)).

Reason been, all the controls you can do (voting, flagging, editing) are activated bottom left, and the most common "Next" -> Vote -> "Next" action gets quite tiresome (yes, even after 6 minutes).


Can we please get filters by tags, or even better try to serve up questions/answers based on the tags the user has the most points in?

I have to click "Not sure" on 19 out of 20 "First Answers" just because I don't know the language in question, and I don't feel qualified to rate it as good or bad. This seems like a big waste of time if you're asking people to vote on questions selected at random, from topics they have no knowledge of or interest in.

===Reply to Shog9===

Just as a trial, I went to review first posts and noted the first 5 First Answers I was given. This is what I received:


  • : ignored tag, 1 vote / 2 answers
  • : 0 answers




  • ignored tag 0 answers
  • ignored tag 0 answers
  • 15 votes / 6 answers


  • They're already filtered according to your tag preferences and/or tags you've been active in (you can view those tags here: stackoverflow.com/unanswered/tagged/?tab=mytags). If you're seeing stuff that falls outside of this, please post examples so we can fix it. As for explicit filtering, I would very much like to do that, but the UI will take some work.
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 20:54
  • @Shog9 I collected some data about the First Answers I was asked to review, and my experience doesn't match what you're claiming. I put some examples in my post.
    – Tim
    Sep 14, 2012 at 21:20
  • Thanks - I'll check into this, but my guess is that there's nothing in the queue specific to your preferences and so it's just giving you something random.
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 21:31
  • @Shog9 My 'favorite' tags might be somewhat narrow (vim/opengl*/google-app-engine), though I've got 200 answers in the Android tag, and I have a hard time to believe that there's not a single android question somewhere in those 30,000. Maybe at the very least we could not get shown ignored tags. Thanks for looking into it!
    – Tim
    Sep 14, 2012 at 21:42

I don't think we need one button for "I'm done" and a separate button for "Not sure". Couldn't we have just the "I'm done" button? It could mean all possible scenarios:

  • I've taken some action, and now I'm done
  • I don't think this post requires any action, so I'm done with it
  • I don't want to review this particular post, give me another one

It's okay if only the first scenario counts for badges, I suppose the system has other ways to track if some action was performed or not, without depending on a separate button.

  • Check out the other queues - quality, close, edits - their purpose is clearly to encourage specific actions, not just to get folks looking at stuff. You're never forced to act on a given post, but action and inaction are clearly distinguished. The hardest part of designing this queue was finding a UI that allowed a wide variety of different actions while still drawing this distinction.
    – Shog9
    Sep 14, 2012 at 16:59
  • I understand that focusing on specific actions is important on the other queues, but I really don't see why distinguishing between action and inaction is so important. Also, consider this: A) the disabled button encourages at least one action; B) crap to quality ratio is lower here; C) there are more actions for crap than for quality posts. IMO it's more risky that users take the wrong actions here just to enable the damn button and feel like they accomplished something. You even had to add "This is not a tool to make lynching newbies easier", in big, bold type, to the announcement.
    – bfavaretto
    Sep 14, 2012 at 18:33
  • Keep in mind that for users with < 3000 reputation points the only tools available are: up-vote, down-vote, edit and flag. Even for users with 20K, close is only available on questions and delete is only available on down-voted answers. I suspect the perception of this as a crap-cleanup tool from the folks answering here comes primarily from experience with the low-quality queue and with the old First Posts page (which actually dragged in a lot more posts from unsuccessful new users than it did from folks who hit the ground running). I'm hoping that - with time - this will soften.
    – Shog9
    Sep 18, 2012 at 6:16

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