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A common problem I've noticed in the reopen review queue is that if an edit is made while the review task is active, the task's view shown changes from the question to a diff view of the edit. This changes the whole focus of the review from the question to the edit. This means that many reviewers review as "Leave Closed" if the edit is very minor, even though the question itself is in a reopenable state.

The official advice given is for users to review the question, not the edit:

Likewise, don't fail to reopen questions that were closed incorrectly just because the edit was minor - they still don't need to be closed. You're not reviewing the edit, after all: you're reviewing the question!

Yet because of how the system works (the edit is shown by default), users still tend to just review based on the edit. Some of these questions are substantially overhauled shortly before getting their final close vote (possibly by inertia or carelessness); if they are then edited again, this happens.

I once made a minor edit to one of my own closed questions on a certain site, that another user had voted to reopen. The problem is, as there was a pending reopen vote at the time of my edit, the whole focus of the review task changed from the question itself to my minor edit. A moderator made a binding review as "Leave Closed", and they later clarified that they did so because they only saw a minor edit. (It's worth mentioning that I voted to reopen the same question later, being sure not to make any edits, and it was successfully reopened.)

I understand that the diff view is very useful in many cases, such as if the review task was created by an edit within five days. Ideally, I'd request that the diff view only be shown if the task was created as a result of an edit within five days, and not show it if the task was created by an external reopen vote, but I see that as being potentially controversial.

I originally proposed another way (10k-only) to solve this problem, to show reopen reviewers the number of reopen votes on a question, because if they only saw an edit but there were active reopen votes, they'd judge that there's something else about the question and more fully consider it for reopening. However, it was negatively received, as people were concerned that reviewers would simply follow along with other reopen voters rather than make informed decisions.

I'm also aware that reviewers can click the "Question (revised)" tab to see the question instead of the diff, but as was demonstrated by the above scenario, most reviewers, including some moderators, don't bother to click on other things when reviewing.

How can we get users to follow the official guidance and prevent reopenable questions' reopen effort from being derailed by minor edits?

  • If you chose to downvote this, is it because you don't think this is an issue? – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Sep 8 '18 at 18:46
  • But, you can add a comment on edit to clarify your edits, and ppl in queue will see it. Right? – Suvitruf Sep 8 '18 at 19:14
  • @Suvitruf Comments aren't shown in the review queue by default if a diff view is shown. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Sep 8 '18 at 19:16
  • Hm, are we talking about the same thing? In edits queue I can see comments monosnap.com/file/lGqa47wpD0o9sazbFz0YfrylTwB6ob# – Suvitruf Sep 8 '18 at 19:18
  • @Suvitruf Ah, sorry, I thought you were referring to comments, not edit comments (also known as "edit summaries"). Edit summaries are intended to describe the nature of the edit. Also, users without enough rep to vote to close won't notice the existence of a review task or a pending vote, so they can't comment on the question in their edit summary. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Sep 8 '18 at 19:20
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    I have to admit, I can't understand why this is getting downvoted… the prevalence of mis-informed reopen reviews seems impossible to deny for anyone who's looked through more than a few review results. Maybe there are some lucky sites that don't suffer this? Don't know which those might be, though. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 9 '18 at 2:54
  • @NathanTuggy Someone commented on the deleted question I linked that they'd rather make reopening much more difficult than closing, even if it means misrepresenting the question to reviewers. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Sep 9 '18 at 2:56
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    @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog: ... !!! That's one of the dumbest things I've ever heard on Meta. I'm glad I don't know who it was; I would hate to have site interactions colored by that. – Nathan Tuggy Sep 9 '18 at 2:58
  • @NathanTuggy If you wouldn't mind posting an answer with details on why this would be implemented, that would be very nice. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jan 20 at 0:34
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    Is there any data about how prevalent of an issue this is? – Alex Jan 20 at 1:28

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