TLDR: My thoughts about dealing with low quality content in scope of limited resources, like edits and flags.
(this is long and perhaps little boring, so you may skip directly to The problem section)
Recently I've started being a little big more active on Stack Overflow and it happened I passed the magic border of 500 reputation points. As a result I am reviewing First posts, Late answers and Triage queues. I consider myself as not very successful at this task, because majority of those questions are about subjects witch I am not even a beginner in. I am not even able to distinguish if the question (or answer) is totally rubbish or it provides some value. So, skipping is frequently in use.
However, this is a separate category of questions. They are asked about matters I do know and they are, well, rubbish. The user asking given question has not even tried to understand and solve the problem for himself.
I used to work as an instructor, training the people in some IT related subjects, so I am always for educating people. But what to do if someone asks a question, where the only reasonable answer would be RTFM (or verbatim copy of the manual)?
I agree, some subject are not easy, even if they look trivial for experienced people. But if someone wants to learn something, such person shall be driven by curiosity. Ok,
man bash is long and boring. And even after 20 years of being either user, administrator as linux based software developer I cannot tell I know everything about it. And I have read it more than once. But sometimes people are coming with totally clueless questions, without any knowledge, without curiosity and - as it appears from discussion in comments under the question - without even willing to try solving it when given some hints.
We all know to gather some knowledge one need to spent some time reading books and articles about the subject, doing exercises and mistakes. And then, person is coming with the question "How to frobnicate my shmoolgulator" and then, as an expert in shmoolgulator, you remember spending days reading books and weeks doing experiments, before you achieve your first reasonable frobnication. And only reasonable answer is: "Sorry chap/lass, I cannot help you right know. But read following resources, start trying, and then come back and ask about specific problems you encountered, we will try to help you. Oh, you need the answer right now, because deadline for the work/school project is in three days. I am sorry for you." Or, if are trigger-happy short-circuited bad-tempered person: "RTFM, you indolent [selfcensored]".
So, after receiving a privilege of being reviewer I happily skipped in and - just after three days - my sanity started going down. When I was able to edit the question (or answer) I did it. But the edition is a scarce resource. I have been stuck more than once because I hit the editions queue length limit. Flagging posts is a little less scarce, as each day is started with fresh limit of 10 flags. However, as I understand the insights of the system, it is just passing the burden to moderators.
So, what should I do in case when I use all my review related resources? Obvious solutions are:
- stop reviewing a queue for day
- continue reviewing and accepting what seems to be acceptable and skipping what I consider as a candidate to flag.
but I am not happy with neither of them.
At the very moment I am following the second choice - skipping. But my doubt is: what is the mechanic of skipping? Is it possible, that every reviewing person would take a second approach and after using her reviewing resources it will skip remaining candidates, making them, practically, unreviewed?
So, what's your advice?