For the nth time this month, I've written a considered, thought-out comment to help guide the poster of an off-topic question to a more useful resource - only to find that after all my thought and typing it was simply a review audit, and no-one would benefit from that advice.

Please could selecting "add a comment" be made to pop up the "this is an audit" box, rather than waiting until I've written the comment?

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    This seems like it would be an easy exploit for people to figure out if something is an audit or not... can you address that concern? – Catija Feb 12 '18 at 20:00
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    It's just as easy to work out it's an audit by following the link to the question, and we don't express concern about that. – Toby Speight Feb 12 '18 at 20:15
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    Related: Clicking “Add comment” fails review audit - has the pendulum swung too far the other way? – Toby Speight Feb 12 '18 at 20:20
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    FWIW, as you found it originally worked the other way - folks complained about that endlessly. – Shog9 Feb 12 '18 at 20:29
  • @Shog9 surely there’s a middle ground that solves both problems. The original method except that didn’t fail you (could pass, or just do nothing) for example. – Stella Biderman Feb 12 '18 at 20:34
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    We tried that too - people complained about leaving comments on posts that didn't actually need them / were deleted / etc. @StellaBiderman - the middle ground here is probably to disable comments in review unless coupled with some other action (as with the Low Quality review), but there's a bit of a downside there too. – Shog9 Feb 12 '18 at 20:36
  • @Shog, the "other way" was to immediately fail the audit - which is clearly bad. I'm certainly not requesting that! I'm just asking not to have my time wasted by being able to actually enter a comment - something like a "comments disabled on this message" popup would help. – Toby Speight Feb 12 '18 at 20:40
  • I don't have any visibility of how users attempt to game audits, or how prevalent that is. Is it a problem that an audit can be detected, and is it actually easier for users than just to review properly? – Toby Speight Feb 12 '18 at 20:42
  • This isn't specifically about gaming (although I suppose it's a bad idea to plaster every audit with a message to the effect of "you can't comment because this is an audit"). It's about trying to make a fake post that looks real (because that's the point of an audit) without encouraging folks to waste their time on it. Erring on either side tends to cause problems: originally you'd fail a "known good" audit by simply clicking the "close" button (which a surprisingly high number of people do simply to refresh their memories); now you fail after selecting a close reason, which costs time. – Shog9 Feb 12 '18 at 20:54
  • I use SEAutoReviewComments (top post on StackApps) so I hardly ever waste a comment on audits. – iBug says Reinstate Monica Feb 13 '18 at 2:16
  • @ɪʙᴜɢ, I do too, but often modify my saved comments to suit (the question in question was clearly off-topic and should have gone to ELL or ELU - I don't have a saved custom-close for that). – Toby Speight Feb 13 '18 at 9:18
  • The post I was addressing was in the Triage queue - do people really select Unsalvageable, then should be closed, then off-topic because..., then Other (add a comment) and start writing a comment, all simply in order to test whether it's an audit? Following the link to the question would be much easier for anyone so devious. – Toby Speight Feb 13 '18 at 9:23

I think that this is an excellent suggestion, and I hope it gets implemented. I disagree that it can be exploited to figure out if something is a review audit. Right now it goes

Click comment => type comment => click enter =>learn it’s an audit

Changing this to

Click comment => learn it’s an audit

wouldn’t really change anything. You learn it’s an audit a little earlier, but you don’t ever learn it’s an audit before you make the choice of how to respond to it.

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    This is how things used to work. People complained, hence why it was changed to the current behavior. – Servy Feb 12 '18 at 21:17

There could be a better solution.

As Servy said,

This is how things used to work. People complained, hence why it was changed to the current behavior.

So, if it is an audit, after revealing, show your comment so that you have a second chance to retrieve it, just like when a question is closed while you're typing your answer you're notified and can save your answer (you can still force post it wtih F12 Dev Tools, however).

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