I'm happy to see the "first posts" facet arriving on the Beta Review system.

I like that it encourages reviewers to make a decisive move on a question or answer, but frankly, I think there should be a No vote, but okay option in addition to the I'm done and Not sure ones. I think that there are some posts that are perfectly acceptable, but that show no demonstrable lack of effort or lack of clarity that might warrant a downvote.

I am a firm advocate for voting good quality posts up, I just think that forcing an option of voting or making the reviewer throw their work back into the pool untouched (assuming no edits or flags, etc. are needed) may be detrimental in the long term.

  • I'll go for simply renaming to "Not sure" button to something more neutral like "Next". When I do click it, I'll usually quite sure that I don't want to take any action on it.
    – Shawn Chin
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 10:54
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    @ShawnChin I would agree, except that I suspect, but do not know for sure, that "Not sure" behaves as if no review was performed at all on it.
    – jonsca
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 10:57
  • I believe clicking "Not sure" ensures that the same post does not appear again. When I simply wish to temporarily skip a question, I click on the "review" tab label (immediately above "Not sure") and questions do reappear now and then.
    – Shawn Chin
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 11:01
  • @ShawnChin We'll have have to get some clarification on that, then, as I thought it dumps it back into the pool for further review by N other parties.
    – jonsca
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 11:03
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    Yes it does. I'm with you now. So perhaps a "Looks Good" button like what we have on the Low Quality Post tab then?
    – Shawn Chin
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 11:05
  • I had not read this earlier answer by Kiamlaluno when writing this, but he definitely beat me to the idea. I think this is still important enough to discuss, though.
    – jonsca
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 13:58
  • As I mentioned here, I think a single button ("I'm done", or "Next") would be enough for the new queue.
    – bfavaretto
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 21:19
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    @bfavaretto As long as it didn't do the equivalent action of "Not Sure' then absolutely.
    – jonsca
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 21:25
  • @jonsca If you mean the system should be able to log "post is ok" versus "not sure/don't care", then we do need at least two buttons. With a single button, it wouldn't be possible two distinguish between the two (just like it currently works).
    – bfavaretto
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 21:33
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    @bfavaretto Yes, I agree, that's the crux of what I'm bringing up. Users should be able to review a post without being forced to do anything to it. I had thought you were saying wrap all of that into one button, I misunderstood.
    – jonsca
    Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 21:42
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    YES!! I really want this feature implemented. As I said in my other comment there are posts that require an upvote. Then there are posts that don't really need action. They don't need a downvote or a close vote, as they are valid questions, but I don't deem them worthy of an upvote.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 16:07

2 Answers 2


I found your question because I was about to post a similar one and was looking for duplicates. Needless to say, I agree. ;)

Often I find myself reviewing a post where I see nothing that needs changing; the poster has done everything necessary and the quality is good. If the voting currently stands at 0 (or less), I'm happy to vote up. But where the voting is already >0, I become less sure. On the one hand, I want to pass this question through review, but another upvote feels like a misleading vote for the importance of the content, which is not the purpose of a review (I think). I'm also conscious that several other reviewers may be looking at the same post; if we all hit +1 for reviewing purposes, I really feel that we're adding misleading information to the vote tally. I would appreciate a Fit for purpose button; it could even automate the process of adding one vote if the current tally is <= 0, but otherwise just take the post out of the review queue.

Note: I think this is closely tied to the issue raised here. I do not believe a "Fit for Purpose" option would encourage more review gaming and it might even reduce the harm done, if the gamers just switched to hitting "Fit for Purpose".


I'm sympathetic, but...

A big problem with the old /review interface was the demotivating feeling of being overwhelmed by volume - when you're looking at a list of 30 posts, and then realizing that this page is only .01% of the total... It starts to look like you're being asked to boil the ocean. It didn't help either that there was effectively no guidance on what you were expected to do with this information. They were great "info-porn" tools (like most of the 10k tools), but not a particularly effective way of getting new folks involved in the moderation of the site.

I should mention at this point that some of you did try your hand at cleaning these stables, and put a lot of effort in - I do greatly appreciated this, but... The number of people using these tools was tiny, folks were burning themselves out, and the amount of work kept growing. Particularly on Stack Overflow, this was simply not a sustainable model for encouraging community moderation.

So the philosophy of the new Community Review Dashboard queues is simple:

  • Bite-sized tasks to provide some feeling of accomplishment.
  • Specific action items for each task.
  • Task-specific guidance to help introduce new community-moderators to the tasks.
  • Limits on what can go in the queues to ensure they can actually be cleared.
  • Rate-limits on what any given person can do in a day to discourage folks from burning themselves out.

None of these are intended to replace the way in which most people use Stack Exchange: browsing through questions, answering, voting, editing and flagging as they go. Rather, these queues focus on specific areas that just aren't getting quite enough attention organically.

The "First Posts" queue is no different...

A new member's first action on the site - and the response it garners from the community - tends to set the tone for whatever comes next. If your first post is spam and it's destroyed within minutes, the site looks like less of an easy target. If your first post is an incredibly well-researched answer and it gets an immediate up-vote, the site looks like a good place to hang around and contribute to. Therefore, it is important that we make the most of this opportunity to provide either positive or negative feedback.

That doesn't mean you have to though. Speaking for myself, there are a lot of posts on Stack Overflow that I really don't have much of an opinion on. Either I know nothing of the subject, or I'm just bored by the specific problem that's never personally afflicted me. Sometimes I'll still edit, if I see obvious formatting, spelling or grammar corrections - but most of the time I'll just move on - "Not sure" is the proper response here - I would much rather leave it for someone who has an interest to rate, critique, or correct.

I am a firm advocate for voting good quality posts up, I just think that forcing an option of voting or making the reviewer throw their work back into the pool untouched (assuming no edits or flags, etc. are needed) may be detrimental in the long term.

Collecting "Meh" votes is completely useless, except perhaps as cathartic busywork for the voter. The bigger problem here is that if you're encountering a lot of posts that you can't see your way to acting on, we're failing to put the right tasks in front of you. There's a limit to how well we can do this, since all we really have to go on is the tags you've been active in (or specified in your preferences) - but if it turns out that folks tend to shrug their shoulders at, say, posts older than a week, or posts with an existing vote, or posts written in iambic pentameter, then we might still be able to adjust what you see.

So for now, we're tracking everything: who's using the queue and what they're doing or not doing in it. There's no point in making changes to what's in the queue until we see what folks are doing with what's in there now...

Update: A "no action needed" action was added after observing entirely too many people unable to bring themselves to click "Skip". We're still observing this (both manually and automatically), and on occasion blocking folks who use it to rubber-stamp posts that badly need action.

  • 10
    Do you track “closed the tab in frustration because the queue kept throwing posts at me outside my comfort tags and didn't let me act on the posts (no voting and commenting on the LQ and close queues)”? Commented Sep 14, 2012 at 21:19
  • 1
    I agree with the premise of the whole system, but I don't like the way it was implemented. There are some first posts that do need an upvote and I'm happy to dole them out. However, there are questions that I don't deem worthy of a upvote, but they don't need a downvote or a close vote either, as they are valid questions.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 16:05
  • @davies: the guidance for voting isn't "is this / is this not a valid question"? It is: "is this useful, clear, showing effort" and "is this lacking research, unclear, useless". You should be able to vote one way or the other, assuming you're familiar with the topic; if you're not, don't hesitate to just click "not sure" and move on...
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 16:35
  • 1
    I suspect most people are voting "Not Sure" and imagine that the queue of First Posts isn't going to significantly decrease.
    – BradRem
    Commented Sep 17, 2012 at 20:21
  • It's hardly a majority - too early to be very confident in the numbers yet, but there's definitely headway being made there.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 18, 2012 at 6:11
  • @BradRem Yup. I'm sorry to say, but that's what I'm doing.
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Sep 26, 2012 at 16:01
  • Calling a non-upvote review a "Meh" vote is unfair and not what the OP is trying to say. I think I probably explain why in my own answer. -1 because "Meh" and "cathartic busywork" is unfairly dismissive.
    – itsbruce
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 6:43
  • @Shog9 I disagree. Non-review upvotes clearly often reflect how important and useful the content is to people. How often, in a non-review context, do you upvote a question just because it's reasonably formatted? I would never even consider that unless the current vote were 0 (and then I probably still wouldn't). Review upvotes have a much narrower motivation and context than non-review upvotes and conflating them is not helping anybody, I think.
    – itsbruce
    Commented Oct 18, 2012 at 6:47

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