If somebody is a robo-reviewer on Stack Overflow, there's a good chance they'll be a robo-reviewer on Super User. Should the 2-day and 7-day review bans span across all SE sites?

Or, should they at least span over the site's meta? (Granted, there are very few reviews on meta sites...)

up vote 22 down vote accepted

Not doing this is wasting a bit of signal, probably a fair bit of it. Making the spam-tracking data global, so all sites contribute to and benefit from it brought a huge benefit, and I can't negate that.

However, I have some rather big reservations about doing this, because how folks review can be distinctly different from site to site. Each site has a slightly different style of moderation, both from the community and the elected or appointed mods. This means, it's easy to be great at reviewing on site A while often finding yourself at odds with decisions the community has made in the past on site B. Review audits are ... well known to point this out. Put more simply, 'known good' and 'known bad' can differ vastly between any two given sites and is quite subjective to begin with.

This also moves us into a new level of precedence when it comes to how your behavior on site A can affect your ability to use site B. Currently, there are only two cases where this happens:

  • You are suspended by someone with a very high level of access across the network, reserved only for extremely exceptional cases
  • You originate from a network that our spam system has been tracking, and it slows you down or prevents you from posting (not exactly behavioral, if you weren't the one being a jerk)

I don't know if I want to cross the path of having site-level restrictions follow you around, despite how incredibly convenient it would be for us.

I'm not putting a status on this yet, but as proposed, it's not likely to be implemented. What remains is if you really screw up, on several sites then .. that's a bit more pathological and .. well, I have to think about it.

  • I agree that this would be problematic, even if it would be mighty convenient in some cases. Perhaps folks should be thinking instead about better ways to share information across sites; right now that happens informally, but maybe there's some way to leave a better record. (Network-level annotations?) – Monica Cellio Jul 21 '14 at 15:24
  • @MonicaCellio In a way where such annotations don't precede users, that could be good. E.g. - they don't show up until annotated per-site, and only for very specific reasons. I need to have a think about it. When we have 400 sites well ... something is going to be needed. – Tim Post Jul 21 '14 at 19:41
  • Yeah, you don't want a free-for-all where any mod can add a global annotation to any user; that's important for chat because of chat architecture, but not here. Maybe restrict it to manual annotation by staff to start and then see if any automated annotations make sense. And if you can figure out the moderator-access part, maybe attaching it to the network profile would give you the "step removed" that you're looking for (but, as noted, you'd have to support different access levels on that page, which currently isn't needed AFAIK). Just thinking out loud... – Monica Cellio Jul 21 '14 at 20:03

In theory, I would say this should be strongly considered for the very reason you mention. Review audits (and the resulting bans) are designed to slow (and/or stop) down robo-reviewers who do not pay attention when reviewing posts, so if someone is badge hunting and thus robo-reviewing, it stands to reason that they would do it on any site.

But in practice, the review audits are not perfect and there is some site-specific knowledge required to be able to accurately judge audits. As a result, I think enough users get banned for a couple of days due to poor selected audit questions, or borderline audit questions. These users shouldn't necessarily be labelled robo-reviewers and they shouldn't be punished network wide.

There are a couple of alternatives:

  1. Do not institute the network-wide review ban until after the user has been suspended multiple times (at least hit the 7-day review ban, but preferably the 30-day ban).
  2. Given there is a Network Wide Suspension where a specific user can be suspended across the entire network, maybe a manual network wide review ban could be implemented instead of an automatic one. This would give the community team a tool in which to slow down a user who has been found to be robo-reviewing on multiple sites, but since it is a manual effort, it would help limit the unfair punishment to users who just happened to get a number of border line audits.
  • Good point. There are really two kinds of people that get review banned - robo-reviewers, whom it makes sense to ban network-wide, and serious/honest but incompetent reviewers, who might trip a ban on the site they are incompetent on but still be capable of reviewing somewhere else where they have greater knowledge. – Robert Columbia Dec 6 at 19:30

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