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This post outlines a problem: You're doing it wrong: A plea for sanity in the Low Quality Posts queue

However, posting to meta isn't going to solve the issue, in my opinion. The majority of reviewers don't read meta posts.

Nor will people read the instructions in the queue if they get updated.

The solution here is to update the UI itself.

The current UI is just four buttons. "Looks OK", "Edit", "Recommend Deletion", and "Skip".

The issue is that people don't know which post goes in which bucket, and just assume -- many a time assuming wrong. Given that opinions on what should and shouldn't be deleted have always been divided (example), it's reasonable to predict that many of the reviewers will have a different picture in mind.

I propose a different solution: Provide more options that focus on what the post is, not on what should be done with it. Internally, it's fine if the buttons actually do the same thing. Using the categories from Undo's post, we could have the following buttons:

Looks good Partial answer Not an answer Link only answer Needs improvement Wrong answer Skip

The first two would internally equal a "looks good" vote, the next two equal a "Recommend Deletion" (with slightly tweaked, more specific comments), "Needs Improvement" will fire up an edit box (which, if canceled without any edits, will focus on the comment box with a suggestion to comment), and "Wrong answer" will auto-downvote, and focus on the comment box with a suggestion to explain why it's wrong.

(I do see that these are a lot of buttons to have, perhaps we could reduce them a bit)

We have precedent for this kind of "illusion of choice" UI. It may not have been deliberate, but the "off topic" options in the flag-to-close interface all do the same thing; they raise a generic "off topic" flag (with the possible exception of the migration flag; I forget). Even from the moderator UI it isn't possible to distinguish which exact flag was raised, and I suspect they're all stored in the database as the same thing.

But the choice there provides a very useful function. Since we force users to choose, they will generally read the options and decide what type of post it is. If it doesn't belong to those types, they will be less ready to flag and might put some thought into it. When the close reasons were updated to have the multiple "off topic" choices which had clear descriptions, this was one of the advantages that I loved about the new system -- it forced people to think, instead of work off of the vague idea of "This post, me no likey".

Of course, we should supplement these options with an explanation of what they do in the tips box shown in the review queue, to avoid confusion. But by having people categorize the type of question, rather than what they think should be done with it, we might be able to solve the issue of the LQ queue.

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    +1 - summed up in an image: i.stack.imgur.com/NxX9I.png – ᔕᖺᘎᕊ Mar 28 '15 at 19:52
  • Interesting point and I think it is indeed a good option. Anything that can help contain all the craziness is welcome. Still, I would focus on help text on tooltips asking to better outline the issues, and I'm not sure if even that would be able to stop all the down voting craziness. People seem too keen on cleaning the site and too lenient on helping. – Fernando Cordeiro Mar 30 '15 at 8:02
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    I’m not sure that we need seven buttons, and I’m not sure what the buttons should be, but I agree that “Looks OK” either should be renamed or should be augmented with a wider range of alternatives.  I recoil at the thought of clicking “Looks OK” for a rotten, worm-eaten apple or a wrong answer. Just renaming “Looks OK” to “Not Horrible” or “Not Not an Answer” would be helpful. – Scott Feb 5 '17 at 22:05
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I'd personally drop the "partial answer" and "link only answer" buttons.

I doubt very many people would even use a "partial answer" button, especially since the line between that and "needs improvement" would be extraordinarily narrow if not nonexistent. Is a block of code with no explanation a partial answer or something that should be improved? I'd say it clearly falls under both. Yet one option would cause absolutely nothing to happen, while the other would prompt me to edit the post.

As for the "link only answer" option - that has caused much confusion over the years, and adding it as a separate button would probably just bring back all that confusion since you are visually separating it from the "not an answer" button, which is the flag reason we want people to use for these situations. An answer consisting of only a link is not an answer. I don't think separating them is necessary at all. Keeping a single "Recommend Deletion" button that opens up a dialog makes more sense. In this situation, you'd basically be renaming the button to "Not an Answer" which is accurate for all the options currently in the deletion menu.


Also, to throw some comments out about the other two options:

The "needs improvement" option should be bypassable by commenting to explain what could be improved on the post, in case the user isn't familiar enough with the subject matter to perform an adequate edit on it. Pretty much the only scenario a random user is going to be able to help with is fixing formatting issues.

The "wrong answer" option could benefit by having its own dialog menu pop up. The user could select if they want to downvote the post (if they have downvotes remaining) as well as post a comment explaining why they're downvoting (if they have domain knowledge). I don't think it should require a downvote, but I do think this option would be useful to those users who know the answer is wrong and it deters them from using that "Looks Ok" button, while still providing the system with a general idea that the flag should be declined outright for inappropriate use.

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    The "link-only" answer would have to lead to a second question... "Assuming the link broke, is there enough information in the answer to find the information again". Because if you take a perfectly good answer, and turn the whole thing into the text of a link, people will flag as link-only. – Ben Voigt Mar 29 '15 at 0:24
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I like the idea of a "Bad Real Answer" category.

How about this:


Looks OK • Edit • Spam • Recommend Action • Skip


And after clicking "Recommend Action:"

  • "I'm having this problem too" question
  • "Thank you" reply
  • Commentary on another post
  • Link-only answer
  • Incorrect, unclear or partial answer

"Incorrect, unclear or partial answer" would leave it in place, for other users to downvote. Other options under "Recommend Action" would recommend deletion.


Note: There are two reasons I included "Spam" in the set of action buttons even though thematically spam is just another type of content: (1) Because reviewers can usually identify spam quickly, and (2) to declutter the list of submenu options (otherwise there would be six!)

  • While the general design seems reasonable, there surely must be some better label than "Recommend Action". Maybe "Low Quality" or "Unfixable" or just "Not Good"? – Ilmari Karonen Aug 19 '16 at 20:09
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    @IlmariKaronen I think you're right. "Low Quality" seems most apt in this case. – jkdev Aug 21 '16 at 1:14
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    But relabeling the “Recommend Action” button as “Low Quality” risks confusing people further.  For years we have had parallel options: “not an answer” and “very low quality”, and we’ve been taught repeatedly that they are different.  Shog9’s Your answer is in another castle: when is an answer not an answer? and Undo’s You’re doing it wrong: A plea for sanity in the Low Quality Posts queue emphasize that a low quality answer is still an answer.  Hiding the categories of non-answers under a heading of “Low Quality” is misleading. – Scott Feb 5 '17 at 21:54
  • @Scott "We've been taught..." Only those of us who've read the meta. Most reviewers don't read it, as Manishearth pointed out. – jkdev Feb 5 '17 at 22:13
  • OK, true, but still:  is it acceptable to offer a solution that makes some sense to (relative) newbies but is confusing to people who read meta? – Scott Feb 5 '17 at 22:38
  • You're right, we need to make it clear for everyone. The categories and options should be self-explanatory... Naming things is hard but it's very important. – jkdev Feb 5 '17 at 23:17
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Maybe here's the source of confusion:

  • "Looks OK" really means "Looks like a good/partial/wrong/bad/low-quality answer."

  • "Recommend Deletion" really means "Looks like a non-answer."

So why not rename the queue "Review Low-Quality Posts" to "Review Non-Answers" or something similar?

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