This got me thinking...

Not about a contest though. I don't want people reviewing questions so that they'll get something in return; folks should be doing it because they care about the questions, about their community. If folks don't care, then what's the point?

But maybe folks do care, maybe they do see a problem... and they just don't realize that they can do anything about it!

There's a really long tail of questions in the queue right now. Questions in crazy obscure topics like "Matlab" and "Objective-C". Topics people do care about.

I'd like to eventually build something into the UI that let the folks in these communities know that there's an opportunity for their voices to be heard regarding the fate of the questions they're working with.

But before we do that, let's see if folks do care.

Let's plaster the site with ads:

Should 662 matlab questions be closed?

We can target folks in specific topics, folks with enough reputation to review items in the close queue... And, now, we can make the ads link directly to the close queue, filtered down to just the questions being targeted.

I'd like to start with maybe a dozen ads targeting medium-sized tags with maybe a few hundred pending review tasks associated with them.

What do you think?

  • 20
    Do it. Why have you waited 3 minutes from having the idea? Do it! Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:26
  • 2
    Sounds cool, but would directly linking to the tool not overwhelm people? Shouldn't there be an interstitial page (or Meta post) explaining what the whole thing is about?
    – Pekka
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:27
  • 12
    I'm very discerning about the ads I want to see. The kittehs better be cute or funny, otherwise no halps!
    – slugster
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:30
  • 1
    Most folks reviewing right now don't find their way in from meta, @probablyPekka... If it's too confusing, then we probably need to fix that too. Note that for folks visiting a queue for the first time, the full instructions are expanded until they explicitly hide them.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:30
  • I'm very open to suggestions, @slugster - as you can probably tell, I suck at designing ads.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:30
  • Totally as an aside: while investigating a bug report I saw lots of Careers ads, and only a few others...
    – Arjan
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:35
  • 3
    [cue uncle Sam] we want *you* to help us close some questions Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:37
  • 1
    What is missing in the particular example is a "why would I get involved here?". How can we make clear not only that we need help, but also what this help is exactly. Because one of the responses I could imagine with an add like that is "Oh hell no, you're not closing an X amount of posts in my favourite topic".
    – Bart
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:53
  • 22
    It is hard to write a catchy blurb that strikes the right balance between "662 crappy questions need to die in a fire" and "662 potentially helpful questions need to be rescued." Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 20:58
  • That poor Matlab kitty... Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 21:19
  • 4
    UX testing shows that there is an overwhelming tendancy for users to ignore ads or adlike things. (e.g. nngroup.com/articles/banner-blindness-old-and-new-findings)
    – jball
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 21:26
  • 3
    I fixed that for you. I love the idea, and I think the ad is already perfect. Just make sure you're equal-opportunity and include puppies.
    – user102937
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 21:44
  • 2
    @Shog9 Your ads need more pie charts!
    – user213963
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 22:02
  • 1
    Not quite, @Dukeling - it'd be a tag on the question (or questions list) that they're viewing. Don't think we can target ads according to viewer involvement.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 3, 2013 at 23:27
  • 1
    This focus on "community" got me thinking (which is always dangerous). It seems the emphasis is always on "We're not (primarily) social". But in this case, a sense of community might certainly help. Is there something to be said to encourage more of a sense of community? Some tags seem to have it, but I don't see that across the site as whole. (Bart, that's a whole lot of words for not saying much at all)
    – Bart
    Commented Dec 6, 2013 at 23:24

3 Answers 3


Stevvve The Adnificent has added the following six ads to the system:

Delphi Django Matlab NumPy Vim objective-c

These should be showing up randomly to users with 5,000+ reputation who happen to be browsing through them.

We'll check back after a bit to see if it's made any difference...

  • 1
    Purely to satisfy my curiosity, could/would you report on their effect at some point?
    – Bart
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:18
  • 9
    Of course, @bart. Because your curiosity is my priority.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:19
  • 1
    Need the kitten to be in more desperate situations to really attract people attention. Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:32
  • 2
    I'm not sure this would get quite the right sort of attention, @Jonathan.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:34
  • Why 5k reputation? Everyone with 3k can see the queues.
    – Cruncher
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:35
  • 3
    Because that's how the ad system is configured, @Cruncher. Rep thresholds are hard-coded at 5K+ and 10K+.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:35
  • @Shog9 makes sense. I thought there was more control.
    – Cruncher
    Commented Dec 12, 2013 at 18:36
  • It's a cute thing and a good idea, however it could respect the filter you've configured for the close vote review queue, or at least apply the filter you set. Now it ignores anything you set there (I see, that tag filter should be "pre-filled" with the tag for which you've clicked the ad, but the close reason would be fine to filter out).
    – TLama
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 12:36
  • 1
    ...the whole point of the links is to point folks to specific tags in the queue, @TLama. They're supposed to override your saved filter. If you want to go back to your saved filter, just leave the queue and then re-enter via the normal route.
    – Shog9
    Commented Dec 13, 2013 at 16:31
  • 3
    2 months or 8 weeks (?) after, did they work?
    – Braiam
    Commented Feb 17, 2014 at 5:45
  • They did, @braiam - could've sworn I wrote this up somewhere, but can't find it now
    – Shog9
    Commented Jun 23, 2022 at 17:30

As I pointed out here, I love the idea of raising motivation for users to be involved in close review activities.

  • I'm not very happy about the badge system because I suspect that kind of motivation creates the robo-reviewer behavior.

  • I love the idea of "Please Review Ads", specifically targeted toward 3K+ rep users.

  • Motivation is key. With over 18,000 3K+ rep users on SO, if they were motivated to perform an average of 2 review tasks each per day, resulting in 36,000 close reviews per day, over 1,000,000 close reviews per month.

  • You're still asking 14 a week, and do to a proper close review can take a couple minutes. It's hard to ask for ~1hour/week work from 18000 people.
    – Cruncher
    Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 18:29
  • @Cruncher, I agree. But the scale of numbers is meant to show how much community cooperation is the issue and the potential of greater contributing. Commented Dec 9, 2013 at 18:52
  • 5
    @Cruncher There are many 'Me Help. Not Work' questions which you can review in 2 seconds. Unfortunatelly, there are very many of them. Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 7:50

I would love to review questions. I only have 1.2K rep, though, and cannot. Ads would not help me be more involved in the process.

I understand that the point of the ads would be to remind users who can review to do so. If you show these ads, please be sure not to show them to users who can't participate!

  • 4
    This is already clearly covered in the post: We can target folks in specific topics, folks with enough reputation to review items in the close queue Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 7:49
  • So it does. Thanks for pointing that out.
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 10, 2013 at 16:55
  • @ShaWizDowArd, I think Kevin was hinting that lowering the 3K barrier would be another way to help. Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 0:27
  • @DaveA not sure, see last sentence. Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 0:32
  • @ShaWizDowArd, I did see that. I'm reading into this a little (considering the nature of his answer). I could be way off. Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 2:32
  • I thought of that while I was writing the answer. I know that others have floated the idea already, so I decided to focus on asking Shog9 not to try to get users excited to close votes if they can't.
    – Kevin
    Commented Dec 11, 2013 at 3:25

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