The SO review section includes:

  • Review first posts from new users.
  • Review late answers from new users.
  • Vote whether or not to close questions with close votes.
  • Approve, reject, or improve edits suggested by users.
  • Identify, then improve or delete low-quality posts .
  • Vote whether or not to reopen closed questions with reopen votes.

A user like me, with 788 SO reputation at this moment, can only attend the two first review options, which are normally empty, so I would like to know what is more important for the community (in order of priority):

  • Answer new questions: these ones get the most attention, so I would probably not list it as the top priority.
  • Answer old unanswered questions.
  • Review and edit/flag old questions.
  • Create new good questions: As I state here I don't normally have questions to ask the community, as I usually find the answer by myself, by googling or by digging into SO.
  • 1
    I'd say 1 or 2+3, as 2+3 usually go hand in hand. There's more of the low-hanging fruit in #1, but #2 is more satisfying if you manage to actually find an old and good question that you can answer. – John Dvorak Jun 7 '13 at 11:04
  • Definitely, a better title! Thanks for the edit! – Alejandro Colorado Jun 7 '13 at 11:15
  • @Jan-Dvorak, 2+3 seem to be a "lonely" work but, as you say, probably more satisfying. – Alejandro Colorado Jun 7 '13 at 11:17
  • Changed in the title "<1k" to "<2k" because the next "step" in the review section is 2k. – Alejandro Colorado Jun 7 '13 at 22:02

As you use the site more, you'll find that your contributions are more opportunistic than anything. Once in a while you'll come across a question that you know you can simply nail, or find an unanswered question in a niche tag you can answer, or find a tag that probably never should have been created in the first place.

Then you might happen upon a question that could be great with a suggested edit, and leave a nice comment welcoming a new user. Later on you'll run into a nightmare problem of your own and come back to ask for a bit of help.

On sites the size of Stack Overflow, or even half the size of Stack Overflow, every single thing you do that's positive is equally important for the health of the site. The massive amount of work we have to do only gets done if it's effectively distributed among many.

On new sites, asking great questions and providing great answers is really the life blood you can contribute. Getting a large collection of well manicured content available for people to find through searching is priority number one. But - once the site takes off, keeping it manicured is just as important.

Just make sure that you use the privileges you manage to unlock as you find opportunities to use them. If you just do that, and make sure that you're having a good time doing it, then you're definitely maximizing the time that you're willing to give to the benefit of the site.

  • Can I propose including a mix between your answer and @ChristopherW's in the review section so that users like me (<2k rep) get this feedback? – Alejandro Colorado Jun 7 '13 at 22:04
  • +1: especially for that last paragraph. Using the tools that are open to you is very important to contribution. – SomeShinyObject Jun 7 '13 at 22:53

For The SO Community

Edits, edits, and more edits. There are edits to be made everywhere. Whether you are un/indenting code, fixing grammar or formatting, or removing ALL CAPS type, suggested edits drastically change the quality of a post and allow it to get answers more quickly. Yes, they go into a suggested edits queue, but that just makes us >2k members get off our butts and work harder. Submit valid edits and you will help out with the quality of content on the site.

For Website Purposes

Generate content. The purpose of a website is to do such. Submit good, technically sound answers. Ask good questions in line with the FAQ.

For Stack Exchange as a whole

Become a member of another site. Chances are there is another site with a topic you are interested in. Are you a parent? Are you a Linux or Ubuntu user? Do you travel? A photographer? All these sites contribute to the Stack Exchange as a whole when they succeed.


There is a lot to do, regardless of your reputation on Stack Overflow.

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