Doing reviews in low quality queue I often stumble upon weak attempts at answers that nevertheless look like salvageable.

As a rule, these are brief opinions / recommendations that could possibly become of reasonable quality if (note: if) their authors explain why they recommend it as answering the question asked.

Per my reading of Guidelines for reviewing Low Quality Posts, above leaves me two options: either Looks Good or Recommend Deletion. How do I choose between these?

  • For the sake of completeness, two other options mentioned in guidelines are Edit and Skip. Edit hardly applies, as this would essentially require reading author's mind, not something I am proficient with. Skip doesn't feel right either because I only love that button when I am unsure, which is not the case when I am strongly confident about my evaluation of the post content (using Skip in cases like this would simply defer decision someone else who will face same dilemma as I, not quite fair).

An example of the post like I talk about is in this review:

I assume some other languages now have the option of multiple return values.

Interested 10Kers at respective sites can look in LQ queue history at Programmers or at Stack Overflow for more examples.

Note a while back, I felt rather strongly in favor of Recommend Deletion. This preference was based on my understanding of the ideas and features introduced to allow seeing own deleted answers and questions.

I thought, now that author can easily get to their deleted post to improve and flag for undeletion, it looks only natural to vote for removing it while it's not yet OK (heck this could even save them from a couple downvotes while their low quality content is visible and annoys readers).

But closer encounter with the way how deletion works made me wonder if above reasoning is right. When I deleted one of my own old answers, I realized that only recent posts are easy to find out.

When deleted post is more than 60 days old, it is quite difficult for author to discover and improve and this basically invalidates what made me believe that Recommend Deletion is so much better.

Update per discussion in comments: current design is such that notification along with the link to deleted post reaches the user, except when all reviewers select "No comment" in deletion dialog.

  • 4
    Note that the automatic comments posted as a result of using this queue will be in the user's notification inbox, even if the post is deleted.
    – Servy
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 15:08
  • @Servy thanks! I didn't know about this (guess I need to force self to post something eligible for low quality filter, just to test how it feels like being a review target:)
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 16:26
  • 1
    found the reference I was looking for
    – Servy
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 16:28

1 Answer 1


I use a pretty simple algorithm when reviewing these, whether in /review or the flag queue:

  1. Does the post attempt to answer the question? No Delete, Yes goto step 2.
  2. Would it be possible for a reasonably-intelligent English-speaking person familiar with the topic to understand the solution being presented? No Delete, Yes Looks Good.

Note that I don't make any attempt to determine if the solution is correct or helpful or necessarily even relevant to the question as part of this process (if I do happen to be familiar with the topic, I'll go back and vote/comment on it later though). I definitely don't concern myself with the potential for author edits, unless the problems are such that I could fix them myself (in which case condition #2 prevents deletion). Folks whose worthless answers are deleted are free to come back and post new ones with clear, useful information if they care to.

My goal here is to remove the sorts of garbage that tend to infest popular forums after a while: questions as answers, idle kibitzing and gibberish/nonsense/stuff that's been through automated translation software a few too many times.

Also note that from /review/low-quality, delete / recommend deletion responses allow you add a predefined comment - these comments will alert the author of the post (with a link to it) even if the post is later deleted; they work essentially the same way as moderator comments in this regard, and for the same reason.

  • thanks! that's quite a good food for thought. One question, if all the reviewers pick the top bullet at recommend-deletion dialog, the one that gives no explanation ("No Comment" at the screen shot in the answer you refer to), does author remain oblivious to what happened? I ask because I am trying to figure if my concern makes sense, "it is quite difficult for author to discover and improve and this basically invalidates what made me believe that Recommend Deletion is so much better"
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 20:56
  • Yes. Leaving comments is always optional, and only comments create inbox notifications. It's been a year+ now since we created the initial set of canned comments, so... Probably time to revisit them and see which ones still make sense.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 20:58
  • Understood, thank you. All right, so they remain oblivious when all reviewers pick "No comment", does it makes sense to worry about this? Note I am mostly interested to learn about older answers; those earlier than 60 days are shown to them in deleted recent answers tab in user profile and that makes me feel more or less comfortable about deletion
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 19, 2013 at 21:02
  • 1
    I would only worry about this if I felt something of value would be lost should the answer remain deleted and unreplaced. That said, in the past 90 days something like 85% of all LQ-queue deletions have had at least 1 review comment associated with them, so we're doing ok.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 2:24
  • thanks, your explanation covers all I wanted to learn in this question. Side note I'd probably feel more comfortable if some notification was sent even in case when all reviewers select "No comment" (or, maybe, just understand why sending it would be a bad idea), but that's out of scope of what I've been asking about here
    – gnat
    Commented Sep 20, 2013 at 8:20

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