There are a number of posts on here about this and I've posted a number of times to the Ask Ubuntu but stuff that doesn't need dealing with ends up at the top of a review queue. There are multiple routes to that situation but it's sucking our ability to deal with today's questions.
I'm certainly not the first person to point out that most busy SE sites (of which Ask Ubuntu is most definitely one) get more new questions than they deal with. This builds up quickly. We're letting 3000-5000 questions enter a "zombie" state every month.
The reason for this post is the activity on this question. It's by no means the only example but it's answered and quite highly voted but it's so old that the original context is now off-topic for us (we only support various Ubuntu releases). Ignore the AU policy aspect here, and look at what has happened:
- One user finds it and votes to close
- That generated a review task that sucks in 7 more people resulting in a 4/3 split to close (meaning the original vote stood).
- This left it on the close queue and 4 more people voted closed it
- Then one user and a mod re-opened.
14 users to do nothing. What a complete and utter waste of time. Those 14 votes should have gone towards making sure one of the ~150 questions that isn't dealt with today is properly dealt with.
As Gilles points out, that instance may be as much about our policy as anything else but again, try not to get distracted by that. The mechanism in which it took up so many people is the part of the problem I'd like to discuss.
There are a number of separate sub-issues around questions on the site but there's altogether too much focus on historical issues (answer rates, etc) and seemingly little on our abilities to deal with our flow. That incorrect focus has us putting emphasis on reviewing fossils rather than the new questions.
I honestly don't have one good solution that fixes everything but I know that review needs to better reflect the current requirements of sites, rather than just giving people a load of pointless busywork.
But I do have some suggestions to help with the problem:
- Prioritise ≤24h questions in all review queues. Make sure that there's nothing out-and-out bad making it to tomorrow.
- Use quality metrics (score, views, top-answer-score) to insulate some questions from review (they can still get straight close votes though).
- Add a workflow for dealing with today to the review system. Build it into something where you aren't picking the type of action, rather that you're dealing with what's most important.
The aim would be to refocus all of review onto our newest posts so we aren't spaffing time over an otherwise impenetrable wall of ancient posts. It's is a waste of reviewers. Let the roomba deal with those.