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I was recently very surprised about the expected workflow for low-quality posts when stumbling across the Meta Post Am I reviewing correctly?.

It would be nice if the guidelines, as discussed in other Meta Questions or the Community FAQ, were more readily apparent to people starting out on review queues.

I think the help text, space-constrained though it may be, does a poor job of reflecting those standards.

Here is the current help text:

This answer was flagged as low-quality because of its length and content.

  • Looks OK if nothing is wrong with this answer
  • Edit if you can fix all the problems with this answer
  • Recommend Deletion to recommend that this answer be deleted
  • Skip if you are not sure and want to go to the next item

You can also leave a comment on the answer, but you will still need to choose one of the above actions to clear the post from the review queue.

Here are a couple fairly easy suggestions:

  1. Add a link to the relevant community FAQ on reviewing guidelines for that particular review type when someone clicks on more info. This could easily be added to all review queues. A non-trivial number of people will read them and be much better informed before reviewing than they otherwise would have been.

  2. Improve Action Descriptions. The biggest surprise was that Recommend Deletion is akin to flagging, rather than merely not looking OK. Right now the explanation for Reccomend Deletion is just tautological filler. It doesn’t help my understanding of Recommend Deletion to know that clicking it will “recommend that this answer be deleted”. Instead, why not use the same format as every other action help text: “[action] if [condition]”?

    • Recommend Deletion if the answer is blatantly bad

    Other word choices I'm not crazy about:

    • Can you only click Edit if you can fix “all” the problems with an answer?
    • Can you only click Looks Good if there is “nothing” wrong with the answer?

Here’s an example of an updated help blurb:

This answer was flagged as low-quality because of its length and content.

  • Looks OK if the answer meets our quality standards
  • Edit if you can improve the quality of this answer
  • Recommend Deletion if the answer is blatantly bad
  • Skip if you are not sure and want to go to the next item

You can also leave a comment on the answer, but you will still need to choose one of the above actions to clear the post from the review queue. Review Guidelines »

  • 4
    A close button for answers in the queue is not necessary, because answers can't be closed, only deleted. – ProgramFOX Feb 12 '14 at 17:36
  • Questions already have a "Close" button, but they don't have a "Recommend Deletion" button. – ProgramFOX Feb 12 '14 at 18:03
  • 1
    What about a suggest edit that encourages bad answerers to improve their answers within 2 days before it is deleted? – StuperUser Mar 26 '14 at 11:13
  • 3
    @Sarah, that seems like it has merit, but this is relatively low hanging fruit. I'm guessing it would require very little work to change the help text on a couple of questions and it would vastly improve. – KyleMit Oct 31 '14 at 15:00
  • Thanks for taking a look at it. – Sarah Oct 31 '14 at 15:27
29
+200

I fully agree that these help texts are confusing and should be changed, however, not necessarily as you suggest (though you are pointing out the right problems).

What needs to be covered

Let me first recapture what the options mean according to my understanding:

  • Looks OK: This is a serious attempt to answer the question in parsable English. It is not a link-only answer, spam, offensive, a duplicate of another answer nor is there something else inherently problematic about it that requires moderator attention. It may still be a wrong or unhelpful answer.
  • Edit: As above and you can to improve the answer.
  • Delete: The opposite of Looks OK: The answer is at least one of the following:

Suggested text

Now, this is quite a lot to capture in a concise help text, but let me try:

This answer was flagged as low-quality because of its length and content.

  • Do not delete if this attempts to answer the question in accordance with the guidelines. It may still be a wrong or unhelpful answer.
  • Edit if it this answer should not be deleted and you can improve its quality.
  • Recommend Deletion if there is something inherently problematic about this answer other than being wrong or unhelpful.
  • Skip if you are not sure and want to go to the next item.

You can also leave a comment on the answer, but you will still need to choose one of the above actions to clear the post from the review queue. Review Guidelines »

Note that I also changed Looks OK to Do not delete (alternative suggestion: Keep – see also this question).

Something similar should be done to the corresponding help text for questions. One could also think about renaming the whole queue to something that also includes the aspect of misplaced content, however the best I can come up with is the very clumsy low-quality and possibly misplaced posts (this is indicative of another, related problem).

Why is this important?

Right now, Looks OK is the correct choice for a lot of posts that do not look OK by a standard interpretation of that two words, such as:

  • answers that are completely or partially wrong;
  • answers without arguments or references for their claims;
  • questions which do not indicate the results of obvious previous research;
  • posts in very bad, but still understandable English;
  • very badly formatted posts.

(Some examples do not apply to every site, e.g., answers without references do not “look OK” on Skeptics SE.)

On the other hand, there is no hint in the interface that Recommend Deletion does not apply to such posts, and thus this is the choice of many reviewers. Consequently, a lot of posts get incorrectly deleted. Of course, this queue is about improving the quality of posts, but often this can only be done by the author. E.g., a reviewer cannot write a whole new argument to an answer that just states a solution (moreover so, if that solution is wrong).

Admittedly, these posts usually aren’t highly valuable content, but often they are content from new users who just need to learn how things work around here (or are bad at English). But if their posts get deleted without good reason and they aren’t given much chance to improve them, they will probably not care anymore and leave for good. Moreover, should they stay or if the author is not new to the site, such an incorrect deletion is likely to cause dispute.

Though I cannot prove this, I am pretty certain that this wording is responsible for a lot of confusion amongst high-reputation users as to what constitutes an closeworthy question or deleteworthy answer and where to draw the lines between comments and answers. Here are a few examples of comments or meta posts indicative of such a confusion:

  • 4
    Makes sense, people are often reluctant to vote Looks OK for bad but completely valid answers, since well, it doesn't look Ok. But since the low quality review queue is not about voting but deleting, "ok" here really means only "do not delete" instead of actually "looking ok". Maybe one should change the name of this button in the first place. I don't know how often I clicked "Skip" since I couldn't simply downvote an obviously not-OK answer until I realized what this queue actually is for. – Christian Rau Oct 20 '14 at 12:36
  • 3
    @ChristianRau: Indeed; I included a change of Looks OK to Do not delete in my proposal. – Wrzlprmft Oct 20 '14 at 12:44
  • 2
    Renaming "Looks Good" was previously discussed; the result was "Looks OK". (My preference is for "Meh", but nonnative speakers may not understand.) – Jeffrey Bosboom Dec 1 '14 at 0:44
  • The options for delete that I'd want are: spam, offensive/abuse (since gibberish counts as abuse and is eligible for -100 penalty), attempt to reply (is comment or question), noise (thank you, do you have solution?), link-only, no useful information (duplicate info or unsalvageable low quality). – bjb568 Aug 30 '15 at 22:01
-1
+500

The excerpt might need some refinement here.

I shall review the options here first.

Looks Okay: The answer actually attempts to answer the question at hand without putting in any misleading or unneeded information. The answer follows the Help Center and Tour guidelines for the correct site and cannot be flagged/closed for any other reason such as:

  • Not an answer

  • Offensive/Rude

  • Spam

The answer of good quality and is not a link-only answer or just some crap thrown out there nor needing the attention of any moderators.

Edit: A nice edit should remove any content that makes the post not be as described as above and the post can salvageable. Edits should only be used on answers so that they do not dramatically change the answers and the answer is now of good quality and meets the requirements required.

Recommend Deletion: The answer is extremely bad and cannot be saved by edits and is not salvageable. The post is also the opposite of the requirements and is:

  • Spam
  • Offensive or rude
  • Unreadable
  • Link-only
  • Duplicate of previous answer(s)
  • Really is very low quality

Now with this said, the excerpt should be changed a tad bit more to make it more clear. "Recommended Deletion" has been changed to "Should be deleted" since it seems to make more sense (at least to me):

This answer was flagged as low-quality because of its length and content.

  • Looks OK: The answer is of good-quality and meets the requirements of the Help Center.
  • Edit: The answer can be kept and can meet the requirements of the Help Center with an edit.
  • Recommend Deletion: The answer is of very low quality, cannot be changed to meet the requirements, and is unacceptable.
  • Skip: You don't know what to do and want to skip the current item.

You can also leave a comment on the answer, but you will still need to choose one of the above actions to clear the post from the review queue. Review Guidelines »

With the current blurb, confusion can be everywhere as said by @Wrzlpmft. Lots of users tend to choose "Recommend Deletion" since it does not match the requirements above exactly. With the new blurb, "Recommend Deletion" gets less confusing: the answer is out-right unacceptable and must be deleted and cannot be saved by edits.

With a more thorough definition of "Looks OK" and "Edit", reviewers are more likely to choose those options and save countless of answers that deserve another chance. Incorrect deletions can cause multiple disputes and can lead to some serious trouble and should be avoided with a clearer blurb.

Users must remember that maybe the answer isn't high-quality doesn't mean it gets deleted. Answer that need only an edit or is of decent quality are okay for SE, hence OK in "Looks OK" and "Edit".

  • 1
    Your suggestion for Looks OK seems even worse to me than what we have now. “Good quality” is even stronger than “nothing wrong” and applies even less to wrong answers and partial answers. As I elaborated here, I consider any reference to quality at this point (including looks OK) inherently problematic. – Wrzlprmft Dec 18 '15 at 7:57

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