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I know this is a bad question, but I was about to edit it. Instead, after upvoting it, I immediately failed the audit.

Isn't it better to tell me I've failed after I've failed?

I.e. After clicking a ?

To put that another way - if I had edited the post, and then upvoted the question, why would that have been ok?

It doesn't make a huge amount of sense to me...

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Voting up is actually a review action; so the moment you did that, you triggered the failure, so the system stops you before you try to do anymore. In effect, that is "after" your failure.

It is possible to take more than one review action, of course; but imagine if it were the other way around, and the failures did not trigger until you clicked "done"; people could say, "Why didn't the system stop me the moment I did a failure action, instead of letting me keep doing more just because I hadn't hit "Done" yet?"

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    Thanks Andrew. That makes sense. Just gotta be more careful... so long as these audit failure stats aren't taken too seriously... Feb 26 '13 at 5:04
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    I believe that most people would get rather annoyed if you allowed them to edit and improve an audit post and then tell them they have passed the audit thus wasting their effort. See here for more info on how audit statistics are taken into account - meta.stackexchange.com/a/168073/201262
    – Ren
    Feb 26 '13 at 9:55
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The post, in the state it was when you clicked the vote button, was not worthy of a vote. It doesn't really matter what you had in mind to do with it as an improvement, the vote applies to the current state.

If you think it's salvageable, then edit first. Then review your work, and if the product is viable then you can vote on it.

This workflow is encouraged by the vote-lock system. Votes placed lock after five minutes, but unlock again after an edit and people have a chance to change their vote. It would make far more sense to downvote such a bad post, then fix it, then either remove your downvote or even upvote. Your vote isn't an "option" that trades in the future. Vote for what you see now.

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Personally, that to me isn't even worth trying to salvage via editing - it's too much work and not quite sure if it's even an answer... I would leave a comment on the post explaining it isn't very clear and asking them to clarify...

I certainly wouldn't upvote it, and to get it into a satisfactory state would require so much editing, I wouldn't be upvoting/reviewing the original post anymore.

As a rule of thumb, even if it looks simple, it's not too difficult to look at the question, and the answer in context, and decide from there... In this case, the audit appears to allow a comment (I'm not sure if I would have passed/failed that one), but looking at the Q&A's shows me the answer is deleted anyway...

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    I looked at the question for the context, and the answer seemed relevant. The answer was only bad mainly for simple things like signing the post and bad grammar. It would only take a minute or 2 to rewrite in proper English and add code syntax blocks; and I don't mind salvaging it - I see that as a genuine way to increase my rep. So it might not be worth it to you, but other people might disagree. Feb 26 '13 at 5:01
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    @DannyBeckett: Do you know that the answer is technically sound and good advice, or does it just "seem relevant"? Please don't upvote things unless the former is true. The site is built on the idea that only actually good things that contribute to the knowledge base get upvotes. We don't do "A for effort".
    – jscs
    Feb 26 '13 at 5:20
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    @JoshCaswell Interesting... the upvote button has a tooltip of "This answer is useful". Feb 26 '13 at 5:21
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    @DannyBeckett: Right. Do you have the expertise to judge the answer as useful or not? If not, don't vote.
    – jscs
    Feb 26 '13 at 5:22
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    @JoshCaswell Yes. Also, you missed the point. This question is about why the order of actions (upvote then edit, or edit then upvote) matters, to the audit system. Feb 26 '13 at 5:23
  • @DannyBeckett: That's why I'm replying to your comment instead of answering.
    – jscs
    Feb 26 '13 at 5:24

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