I find a lack of coherency between the many people that review in SO specially related to new-users. The actual help says:

No Action Needed when this post needs no action from you.

I'm Done is only available if you've done one of the following:

  • Vote up or down to rate the answer's helpfulness
  • Edit to improve theanswer's appearance, clarity, or accuracy
  • Comment to leave constructive feedback for the author, or vote up existing comments
  • Flag to notify the moderators of serious problems

Be sure to leave a comment if you can help the user out, or click Skip if you are not sure and want to go to the next item.

But which is the most important which should be done first? Which would be a manual, guideline to do with this post? I adapted this answer to a similar question but focusing in review, not so much on interaction with the user.

  1. Flag if it is appropiate
  2. Edit
    2.1 Edit the grammar
    2.2 Edit code/ quoted blocks
    2.3 Edit tags
  3. Up/Down Vote
  4. Comment
    4.1 Something to improve of the question
    4.2 Require more details to answer the question
    4.3 Refer to a manual/help page

Is this a good protocol? I tried not to forget to be nice to new users.

  • 3
    "But which is the most important which should be done first?" You really need the context of the post you're reviewing in order to answer that. Feb 25, 2014 at 15:53
  • Yes of course but, just to get the habit. How would it be?
    – llrs
    Feb 25, 2014 at 15:56
  • 1
    What do you mean, "just to get the habit"? Feb 25, 2014 at 16:00
  • 1
    None. Take the time to evaluate each of those actions and consider whether it's appropriate for every post that you review. All of those actions are orthogonal. What action you take or don't take for each option doesn't really affect the others.
    – Servy
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:01
  • @Bolt Well, I like to review the question, to see if I can improve them and specially from the new-users of people with low reputation (<50). And I don't know what is better avoiding to expend 5 minutes for each question but neither 1 second.
    – llrs
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:03

2 Answers 2


All of the above.

But here's what I look for:

  • Is it spam or nonsense? Flag it (as spam or offensive or Very Low Quality, depending on the perceived maliciousness of the post)
  • Is it a duplicate? Close it as such.
  • Is it blatantly off-topic, extremely broad or impossible to understand? Close it!
  • Are there spelling / grammar / clarity issues? Edit! Correct or re-write as much as needed to make it easy to read and understand.
  • Vote! Up if it's a good question or useful answer, down if it's unclear or poorly-researched. Skip voting if you're not sure.
  • Is there a good (helpful, polite, relevant) comment on the post? Up-vote it!
  • Can you offer any additional advice to the author? Then leave a comment!

And if you can't in good conscience do any of the above, Skip it!

  • The duplicate one is an interesting point. I failed a review for trying to flag something as a duplicate, because I recalled a similar question from a few days before, turns out it was the same question. Make sure you search before closing/flagging for duplicate to make sure!
    – Joe
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:13
  • Yeah, review "known good" audits are completely broken when the post happens to be a duplicate; this is a known issue, but tricky to fix I'm afraid.
    – Shog9
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:14
  • Yeah, that's kind of what I figured. I just shrugged it off and moved on, as long as I don't get review banned for something like this, it's not the end of the world - not that it would be comparable to the end of the world if I did get blocked from reviewing.
    – Joe
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:20
  • 1
    If you do get blocked for something like that, ping a mod or post here on meta - they're easily lifted because the system can't really be perfect.
    – Shog9
    Feb 25, 2014 at 16:26

But which is the most important which should be done first?

This relies soley on the post and the user (along with your judgement).

There can't really be a "good protocol" because there are too many variables. You should take into account the question posted (research effort and completeness), if the user seems to be new to SO and/or new to the language they are posting about, if they seem to sincerely want to learn or just looking for "the codez", and probably other things I'm not thinking about.

You need to base your actions on these different criteria and what you feel is most appropriate. For new users, I try not to downvote or even flag right away. I typically try to give a comment on how to make the post better. I think it's silly for us to keep downvoting after 3 or 4 downvotes, especially if the user is new. I think by then they get the point that they did something wrong and probably need to be pointed in the right direction (even though there is plenty of help by doing some quick searching and reviewing of Q/A on SO).

As far as editing, this should always be done (or ask the user to do it so they can learn) when the post needs it. Unless of course, it is unsalvageable then you might as well just flag it and leave a comment.

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