I was recently reviewing first posts on SO when I was presented with this response:

Why does the C preprocessor interpret the word "linux" as the constant "1"?

Which it obviously perfectly fine so I instantly hit "No action needed". I did not cast any votes, flag anything, edit anything, or in fact do anything other than hit no action needed. I am 100% sure I hit no action needed.

I was then presented with:


Now when I try and review anything I get:

You have failed too many recent review audits – looks like you might need a break. Come back in 2 days to continue reviewing.

But I took a look at the latest page of my review history (~50 reviews) and out of all the audits I was presented with I've passed every one except this issue I just encountered.

Any idea what is up?

  • Do failed audits from one queue affect whether you're review banned in another queue? – Servy Oct 24 '13 at 19:47
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    This is strange; do you have any browser extensions/scripts installed? – Shog9 Oct 24 '13 at 19:48
  • @Servy I can't even view the list of different review queues anymore. Just simply trying to visit the review page gives me the ban message. – Tomdarkness Oct 24 '13 at 19:48
  • @Shog9 only adblock and lastpass. – Tomdarkness Oct 24 '13 at 19:53
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    Thanks for telling us about this bug. The review audit code is very buggy. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/192119/… – Jim G. Oct 24 '13 at 19:54
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    @JimG. I am also using Google Chrome, although I did not open any further SO tabs while reviewing I did have multiple SO tabs open to start with. – Tomdarkness Oct 24 '13 at 19:58
  • @dcaswell I think they removed that again. I've since passed obviously good questions with No Action Needed. – user213634 Oct 24 '13 at 20:13
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    @dcaswell No worries. The reason I did not upvote it was because I remember reading the question after it was linked on /r/programming on reddit and it had responses that were more in-depth than the one presented. – Tomdarkness Oct 24 '13 at 20:15
  • @Servy according to the situation on a question I answered previously, especially Brad's comment, it would appear to be the case. The OP there was review banned but what triggered the ban was a failed audit in a different queue. – psubsee2003 Oct 24 '13 at 21:11
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    @Shog9 what is strange? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Oct 24 '13 at 22:01
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    He's the second person to report this. I'm still not entirely sure I believe it, but two people reporting the exact same scenario for unexpected failure does give the notion of a bug slightly more weight, @ShaWizDowArd. (See my answer for details) – Shog9 Oct 25 '13 at 1:25
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    @Shog9: It might be a good idea to encourage the developer(s) who developed the "honeypot" review audit feature to read these reports and try to reproduce these problems. I assure you - They are happening. StackExchange has a very high level of quality all the way around. The honeypot feature is an exception. [At least for now.] – Jim G. Oct 25 '13 at 2:48
  • I can (and do) test these fairly regularly, @Jim. I wasn't able to reproduce this scenario, even by following as closely as possible the actions described here and observed in the log file (even impersonating Tom's user in our test environment) - that said, that doesn't preclude some sort of edge-case that simply hasn't been identified yet. – Shog9 Oct 25 '13 at 19:22
  • @Shog9: I completely understand. I just wanted to stand up and be counted - I actually experienced the issue that I linked to. meta.stackexchange.com/questions/192119/… – Jim G. Oct 25 '13 at 19:23

The system recorded you as having flagged the post. This will immediately complete the review and fail a known-good audit.

So I spent some time checking the logs. Your previous two reviews - completed just seconds earlier - did result in you flagging the posts (as not an answer and close). I've noticed in the past that I have a tendency to "default" my next action to whatever I've done on previous reviews - it's possible you just clicked "flag" out of force of habit without doing so consciously...

Then again, this is the second time someone's reported an audit failure with these circumstances while strongly asserting that they'd taken no action whatsoever. It's also possible there's some obscure bug that can cause this.

Since you aren't in the habit of failing audits, I've lifted your review ban. If you run into this again, let us know. Two suggestions for you otherwise:

  1. Slow down a bit. Aim for a constant rhythm rather than trying to get each review done in the absolute minimum amount of time. Won't help if there is a bug, but could help a lot if there isn't.

  2. Think twice before hitting "No action needed". Remember, the goal of the First Posts review is to help introduce new users to the system - if you're clicking NAN, you're not doing that.

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    If it's matter of seconds, maybe it's case of race condition? E.g. reviewer flagged item #1, given item #2 and instantly clicked "no action needed" - behind the scenes, when he clicked "no action needed", the code processing the previous action did not yet complete and when completed, things got messed up. Makes any sense? – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Oct 25 '13 at 7:30
  • Doesn't sound particularly plausible, but I haven't looked at the client-side code for this in a good while now, so I won't say it's impossible. – Shog9 Oct 25 '13 at 19:15

Given the fact that you have passed earlier audits in the same review queue by hitting "No Action Needed" and you have said you hit "No Action Needed" on the audit in question, there appears to be something else going on.

This is not without precedence, as a previous reviewer, also in the First Posts queue, said that he hit "No Action Needed" and that triggered an audit failure.

Originally, I believed that was by design when I saw the earlier post, however, given you have passed two with the same action, it is clear that it is not. That means there's got to be something else going on, possibly a bug, or maybe a browser issue, that is triggering failures for the same actions that pass other audits.

Separately, as to why this failure triggered a ban, I can't explain that either. I glanced through your other reviews and did not see a single failure, so either you have audit failures that are not showing up in your history, or there is another problem.

However, since animuson confirmed that deleted posts do not show up in your review history, most users are unable to completely review your review history. If you have a couple of failures in there, that could explain your review ban as I don't think audit failures "expire".

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    Reviews on deleted posts do not show up in your activity. Since most audits that you would fail would be on deleted posts, they tend not to show up. – animuson Oct 24 '13 at 22:49
  • @animuson thanks, I suspected that might be the case, but wasn't sure and was unwilling to guess – psubsee2003 Oct 24 '13 at 22:50
  • @animuson In my history I can see reviews on posts that have been deleted. For example: this question, this answer and another question – Tomdarkness Oct 24 '13 at 23:15
  • @Tomdarkness It's cached. Eventually they'll get removed from the list when the system realizes they're now deleted. For example, you'll have a very tough time finding Delete or Recommend Deletion actions further back in people's histories. I can't find a single one in my history, although I know I've done a lot of them. If I calculate up the total number of actions I've made in all the review queues, it comes out to over 5,000. Yet viewing my activity tab, it says there's only 3,500 in the list. – animuson Oct 24 '13 at 23:24
  • @Tomdarkness: how many reviews does it show you've done in your "all time" stats? – Qantas 94 Heavy Oct 25 '13 at 3:02

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