I recently got this question on a review audit.

Although I agree with what is being said in the Answer, I don't think it is an Answer. Shouldn't it be a comment instead?

I obviously failed, as I was about to flag the post as "not an answer", and was about to comment on the answer to explain why I flagged it.

I would not have flagged it, if the user would have made his comment, but answered the question in a second part of his Answer.

I downvoted the answer, as I'm assuming that audit questions are just based upon the amount of upvotes. I'm afraid that's the only way to solve this?

  • 3
    Unfortunately, often upvotes resemble the community's agreement to a certain statement rather than an "answers" usefulness or if it even does answer the question. The same seems to be the case here.
    – nikolas
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 14:15
  • 1
    That's exactly what it happened to me a couple of minutes ago (same question)! I was about to flag it as "not an answer", but I failed the auditing as soon as I pressed "flag". I'm a bit puzzled by the fact that an high quality comment can be "passed" as an answer only because it has many upvotes. After all, if it weren't an auditing, I could have flagged it before anyone could have a chance to upvote it, and maybe it wouldn't have had any chance to get upvoted at all. I understand auditing is an automatic process, but this specific test could scare reviewers from doing the right thing. Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 18:34

3 Answers 3


I do agree that this should probably be a comment. But audits are chosen with answers that have never been downvoted nor flagged and have 5+ upvotes (and upvotes are reaaaaally subjectives so!). There are a few threads about adding a human factor to audits, but this has not been implemented yet.

Just don't take it too bad, "bad audits" happen and as long as you don't miss them too often, it's not a big deal!

  • Thanks for the answer! It was my first audit miss. Am I on a blacklist now? :) Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 14:18
  • @Joris Don't worry! Unless you repetitively miss them, it won't matters!! Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 14:23
  • 2
    The criteria is actually somewhat different for first-post audits. For starters, it's +10 or more.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 14:56

It seems to me there should be an ability to dispute an audit somehow. Perhaps flagging a disputed audit for review, allowing comments to be included. Granted I know that having a 100% record isn't a requirement, but they should be kept to quality levels anyways.

Also, maybe if a certain percentage of people fail the same audit question, the question should be tossed?


While I agree that this was an unnecessarily difficult audit, and that there may well be valid reasons to flag an answer like that...

I have to dispute a couple of things.

  1. This is not a comment. Comments are intended for transient clarifications and corrections - they are not meant to be used for any and all content that someone feels is undeserving of answer votes. Convert to comment is not intended as a rep-denial mechanism.

  2. This may actually be a reasonably useful answer. I know it doesn't give the asker what he asked for, but that's not always wise. The asker was doing some pretty crazy stuff, and looking for a way to do more of it - sometimes, a good teacher has to say "NO".

Just things to keep in mind in the future.

  • 5
    Sometimes, a good teacher says "No", but a better teacher says "No, do this instead..."
    – apaul
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 16:31
  • The alternative in this case is to do it in the obvious fashion that everyone learns first, before they get seduced by the Ternary Operator of Babylon. While it certainly wouldn't hurt, I don't think the answer needs to be deleted just because the author failed to demonstrate the syntax for if...
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 16:41
  • 1
    I agreed with the Shog before reading his answer? Oh what is this world coming to?
    – animuson StaffMod
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 17:02
  • 1
    I'm not questioning whether that specific answer was appropriate. I'm questioning the fact that such tricky auditing may scare off honest reviewers from good practices. What if, in a real situation, the reviewer, for fear of a bad audit, let a plain comment be posted as an answer? After all some comments sometimes are upvoted only for their flamboyant tone, so such a comment posted as an answer could get a chance to get an high upvote score, while still being low quality in content. Auditing should motivate reviewers not to be lazy, not to ignore things. Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 18:44
  • There's always a chance of this, @Lorenzo. That's why the threshold for using such answers as audits is so high. There are occasional audits that are simply too close to call to be effective in their purpose, but philosophically, I feel that it is dishonest to use criteria other than "this is what the community feels is acceptable" for such things - it is the standards of the greater population of users that must be upheld, after all.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 18:58
  • @Shog9 Ok. This makes sense. But wouldn't it be useful to add a less "scary" message when such tricky audits are failed, explaining the reviewer that (s)he is not a moron, but s(he) has failed a tricky audit and give her/him some more guidance about how to review such answers? This IMHO would encourage reviewers to improve their skills. I don't know if the system allows that to be automated though. Commented Sep 13, 2013 at 19:04
  • That... Could be tricky, @Lorenzo; we're just not set up for basing anything off of past audits right now (most audits are not re-used very often). Improving the default guidance is always something we're open to though.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 2:00
  • @Shog9 I see. Thanks for the clarification! (BTW, Nice pun :-) Commented Sep 14, 2013 at 7:09
  • this was an unnecessarily difficult audit --- I would rather say that this was a bad audit or less strongly a misleading audit. Commented Oct 11, 2013 at 12:47
  • @Shog9 Stumbled upon this audit which should be comment IMO.
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 15:38
  • I disagree - that's rather an important answer, @CRUSADER.
    – Shog9
    Commented Nov 18, 2013 at 16:19

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