I noticed when reviewing First Posts and Late Answers that whenever I Upvote a comment on the post, The I'm done button gets enabled.

I don't think this should be so because this will be an alternative for users who don't concentrate on the post. They'll just upvote a comment and click I'm done.

This should be disabled or comments shouldn't be shown on reviews.

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    Since everyone keeps saying that comments are second-class citizens (among other reasons), this request makes perfect sense to me. – Bernhard Barker Nov 5 '13 at 8:15
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    I wonder why this was [status-completed] in first place – CRUSADER Nov 5 '13 at 8:31
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    @CRUSADER - Agreed. I don't think there was enough discussion before implementing that request. – Andrew Cheong Nov 5 '13 at 8:35
  • @PreciousTijesunimi comments on the post from 2012 could very well have been cleared long ago. – Mołot Nov 5 '13 at 9:42
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    Every argument against comment upvoting so far fits commenting just as well, so maybe also ask for comments not to count as review? If comments should count as review, accepting upvote prevents from posting comments like "what he says" when up or downvote are not appropriate and there is no reason to close. – Mołot Nov 5 '13 at 9:57
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    I don't see why this shouldn't be a valid action. If a question is currently not really answerable, but with minor effort it should be answerable, leaving a comment and balancing the votes on the question on -1/-2 will encourage a new user to improve their post. If someone else already left that comment, I upvote that comment. I will however not downvote such a question if it is already negative, and flagging such a question feels unnecessary and inappropriate to me. – Sumurai8 Nov 13 '13 at 21:31
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    If you're wondering why this was declined (or who to award the bounty to), read psubsee's answer. – Shog9 Nov 13 '13 at 21:32
  • @Shog9 OK. Thanks. I just wanted to know the status of things. Thats why I added the bounty – Walker Nov 13 '13 at 22:06

This argument seems to be based on preventing users from trying to get easy badges (targeting the robo-reviewers) rather than making reviewing better. You have to accept that as long as there is an award, there are some people who are going to take the path of least resistance to get that badge. We will always have robo-reviewers, you can't stop or prevent it, so all you can do is help limit it without impacting the ability of reviewers from doing their job.

I don't think this should be so because this will be an alternative for users who don't concentrate on the post. They'll just upvote a comment and click "I'm done"

Good, I'd rather them do this than something else destructive. It is just as easy to upvote or downvote a post as it is to upvote a comment, so if robo-reviewers are not just clicking "No Action Needed", then I'd rather give them a non-destructive action to perform. By reducing the options for robo-reviewers, you are going to encourage them to vote on posts and that is harmful to the site. In fact unnecessary voting on posts is the main reason "No Action Needed" was added to give robo-reviewers a less harmful action to perform.

This should be disabled or comments shouldn't be shown on reviews.

(Emphasis mine). Why in the world would this be helpful? A couple of months ago, commenting on reviews was broken and there was a major uproar about it. Comments tell you a lot about what has already happened and helps your review better, and also avoid duplication. A what would you rather see a single comment with several upvotes or duplicate comments that effectively say the same thing? This was the whole reason this was added.

So will this prevent robo-reviewers from voting on comments just to get past the review quickly? Yes, it will, but they will find another way to review quickly and that way may be more actively harmful to the site.

So looking at regular reviewers and not "robo-reviewers", you are now going to encourage them to vote more. And typically, it is going to be on poor quality posts, which means a downvote. Not everyone wants to downvote a fixable post right away, especially one that has a few downvotes already. Many will hold off on voting to give the author a chance to address what is wrong.

Imagine a hypothetical post from a new user that is only missing 1 or 2 small bits of clarification. And someone has already asked in a comment about the missing info. Personally, if the post could be good, I don't think voting at that time is right. I'd rather give the user a chance to fix it, especially if they are new. Too many quick downvotes are just going to discourage them and possibly prevent them from returning to address the comment. So if I am not going to vote yet, what are my options?

  • Leave another comment saying the exact same thing as an existing comment? We don't want that, in fact, that is the reason this was done in the first place.
  • Upvote the comment to show support for it?

In the end, the comment upvote is helpful for regular reviewers and helps limit noise on posts. And just like too many downvotes can be seen as piling on, too many duplicate comments can have the same effect to a new users, so the ability to upvote helps limit that. Sure, you can still do that, but in order to get out of the review (and get credit for it) after upvoting a comment, you now need to do something else, and that's the problem I see.


Comment upvote may be reasonable action no matter if it's a good or bad post, because it helps to bring readers attention to important clarifications and suggestions related to the post.

On the other hand, senseless upvoting of comments in review isn't really harmless - for example, couple "robotic" votes in real bad post would pull it off the queue and hide it from attention of thorough reviwers.

The way to ensure that voting on comments isn't abused is, just like with any other review actions, via audits:

Test items in review queues that are... nudging... users that don't seem to be paying close attention to what they're reviewing.

To make review audits more efficient in catching those who senselessly upvote comments, I would rather consider replacing the text of actual comments with a generated funny nonsense similar to one used in suggested edits audits, preferably keeping its size close to one of original comments text.

Replacement like that would leave no chance to consider an upvote as reasonable action, and on the other hand would be harder for careless reviewers to trick, as recognizing it require reviewer to actually read and understand the comment prior to voting.

Worth noting that comment replacement seems to make better sense in "known-bad" kind of audits, although maybe is also worth considering for "known-good" ones, because upvoting senseless comment is audit failure, no matter if post is good or bad, it indicates that reviewer isn't paying attention. Attempt to flag should probably be considered as pass, following the same logic (but if "robots" will try to first flag the comment to ensure it's not an audit, this will at least slow them down in damaging reviews of real posts).

  • @psubsee2003 edited the answer to make it applicable here (mostly aiming to just preserve the idea you liked so much:) – gnat Nov 13 '13 at 21:58
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    You addressed my concern, I like it. – psubsee2003 Nov 13 '13 at 22:00

My initial reactions were (in case others might begin with the same line of thought):

  • Someone else may have already commented on what's wrong or what can be improved about the post—therefore upvoting that comment counts as a valid review—no need for duplicate comments.

  • If upvoting a comment didn't count as a review, reviewers would be limited to editing a post (which may be better left as a learning task for the asker), or voting on the post, which is no more difficult than voting on comments, yet less informative than voting on comments.

However, I don't believe these thoughts were coherent, for the following arguments:

  • If you agree or disagree with a comment regarding the sufficiency or deficiency of the post, then it'd be consistent of you to upvote or downvote the post, in addition to upvoting the comment that reflects your views.

  • Or, to argue to contrapositive, if you're voting on a comment that isn't relevant to the sufficiency or deficiency of the post, then you're not exactly reviewing the post—therefore the action shouldn't count as such.

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    If something is wrong with the post then that could be shown through votes or editing not by upvoting a comment. Remember reviewing first-post and late-answers are to help new users learn how to use the site. How will upvoting a comment help a user who doesn't know the significance of upvoted comments learn how to use the site? – Walker Nov 5 '13 at 8:15
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    I see. I didn't think this through. A user would upvote/downvote the post anyway, besides voting on a comment relevant to the sufficiency/deficiency of the post. I take my position back. @Dukeling has a good point too---that comments have generally been considered non-permanent and second-class citizens on SO. Not sure what's customary to do on Meta---should I delete this answer? – Andrew Cheong Nov 5 '13 at 8:18
  • I've edited my answer instead. – Andrew Cheong Nov 5 '13 at 8:28
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    And what with posts that don't really deserve being downvoted into oblivion, and just need some simple things to fix them? The ones that aren't good enough for upvote yet, but show research effort and are useful? – Mołot Nov 5 '13 at 9:56
  • @Mołot - Hm, that's a good point. But I wonder---if posts get "downvoted into oblivion" for that reason alone, wouldn't the actual issue be that the post is showing up in the review queue way too frequently? In other words, perhaps such bandwagon/waterfall voting effects are a symptom of a separate problem. – Andrew Cheong Nov 5 '13 at 10:01
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    @acheong87 downvoted into obvilion is a stretch since each post is only reviewed once in a review queue, but it still encourages voting when voting may not be necessary yet. Not every post that has something wrong deserves a downvote yet. – psubsee2003 Nov 5 '13 at 10:02
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    acheong87 it seems to me that downvotes attract downvotes. We're only humans here. And @psubsee2003 is right, maybe it's only my impression and I exaggerated, but encouraging voting when vote is not earned either way is a bad thing to me. – Mołot Nov 5 '13 at 10:07

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