This is something that has been bothering me for a while actually. On Stack Overflow, I'm a 20K+ user who spends a decent amount of time in the review queues (I have Steward badges for two of them). That being said, I encounter this on almost a daily basis:

Congratulations! This was only a test, designed to make sure you were paying attention...

Now, that's fine and dandy as a feature to keep people from gaming the review queues for badges. But, what I don't understand is why everyone must be subjected to this. Overall, what I'm saying is; Is it necessary to continue to audit 20K users who already have all the badges in that particular queue?

I can't think of anything I'd gain from robo-reviewing at this point, and this isn't making me feel like a "trusted user." But, I could be wrong and overlooking something entirely.

  • 6
    This. The audits can be spotted a mile away and every time I see the tell-tale highlighted random nonsense I go "sigh, not again". They would be more tolerable if they weren't so obvious to anybody who is awake, breathing, and not brain damaged whilst reviewing. But at the very least, the superfluous "Congratulations" step should be removed.
    – Pekka
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 14:53
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    I guess you will get that once you are elected ;)
    – Habib
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 14:54
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    We should just change the copy to say "trusted user except to review close votes" or "mostly trusted user."
    – djechlin
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 14:54
  • @Pëkka That would be a perfectly acceptable solution to me. Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 14:54
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    @Habib Nope, moderators get audited as well. We are trusted to unilaterally delete every post on the site, but not to accept edits. ;)
    – yannis
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 14:59
  • @Yannis Now that's just silly. Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 15:01
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    Hm, it is a bit, but on the other hand I have seen moderators failing audits...
    – yannis
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 15:02
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    Even 10K users err while reviewing: e.g. they think that this is an answer. (Didn't realize that this has now been converted into a comment after flagging for mod attention.)
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 15:40
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    @devnull: You do realize that there's currently no clear consensus on how to deal with link-only answers like your example, right? In particular, there seems to be considerable support for the view, as expressed by Tim Post here, that answers with nothing but a working link should not be flagged, but simply edited / downvoted / commented on. Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 16:17
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    @IlmariKaronen I understand that it's difficult to have clear consensus on such issues. While a link to a site hosting a popular tool is likely to remain alive for a long time, it in not infrequent that links to blogs and personal websites become dead. As an example, see the history of this (now deleted) post -- the only changes that were made were to fix the broken links. A link-only answer is useless with a broken link.
    – devnull
    Commented Feb 14, 2014 at 16:23

3 Answers 3


History has shown that there are plenty of very high reputation users that abuse/mis-use the review systems.

People that abuse the system also tend to get high review counts.

As such, meeting the two qualifications that you have mentioned doesn't result in users with virtually no risk of abusing the review system. (They're lower risk, sure, just not almost-zero low.) Keeping the audits in there is still worthwhile, even if a few great reviewers get audited too.


As a counter-point, I review a lot (the most close and re-open reviews on ServerFault) and I sometimes fail an audit, on average maybe once a week. About 50% of those failures are ones I'd argue about if I had an opportunity, but the others are legitimate failures on my part to read the question clearly enough. So even though most of the audits are obvious, they do act as a reminder to me to really read what I'm reviewing before voting one way or another.


All 10K+ users do not have the same level of reviewing experience, no matter the reputation. I've come across my share of 10K users that didn't even know there are guidelines outlined in the help center as to what is on-topic and what is off-topic until I brought it to their attention! So to assume that all reviewers will perform at the same level, just because they have 10K+ reputation, is an invalid assumption. The audits are there to ensure that everyone continues to perform well, and to ensure robo-reviewers are caught and handled appropriately.

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