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This post is part of a larger effort to create Help Center pages for each of the Review queues. You can learn more about this project in the overview post. These posts will be locked so that everyone has a chance to review each original draft and provide feedback in the answers. We will continue to collect feedback until November 9th, 2020.

We are looking for your feedback on this draft for the Low-quality posts queue.
When reviewing this draft please consider the following:

  • What is essential to know about using this queue?

  • Is there any information that’s missing or should be removed?

Heading: How do I use the Low-quality posts queue?

Access earned at $Privilege-PostEditing reputation
Posts entering the Low-quality posts queue have been flagged as problematic by users or recognized by the system’s quality checks to be potentially low quality. This may include:

  • questions or answers that are very short, in the wrong language or gibberish

  • new or follow-up questions written as answers

  • answers that do not attempt to answer the question asked or contain only links and no explanation

  • comments entered as answers (“I have the same question” or “thanks for the great answer.”)

It’s important to remember that an incorrect answer is not “Low Quality” by our definition. Incorrect answers should get a comment explaining any issues or be downvoted, not flagged.

Basic workflow

First, check to see if the post is a question or an answer; it will be labeled as "Question" or "Answer" at the top. The majority of posts in this queue will be answers.

  • Choose Looks OK for questions that are on-topic, sufficiently detailed and not too broad. Use this option for answers that answer the question as asked, even if they may be incorrect.

  • Edit if the post is good quality but you can improve the post to make it better. Avoid editing posts that should be closed or deleted, as it will remove the post from review.

  • Recommend Deletion or Delete if you think that an answer does not address the question at all, is link-only, or is incomprehensible. Do not vote to delete answers that are simply wrong. You may leave a comment explaining the issues with the answer or choose one of the provided canned comments.

  • Recommend Close or Close if you think that a question should be closed (See What does it mean if a question is “closed”?).

  • Skip if you’re unsure about the post’s quality.

Some of the content of this page is adapted from information in our Meta Stack Exchange FAQ, which also contains more in-depth guidance if you are interested in reading more about this queue.

Other drafts

To review other drafts in part of this project, please see below:

Stack Overflow only:

  • Minor issue: the official name of the queue is "Low Quality Posts", and the heading in your quote should use that name. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Nov 2 at 22:18
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    @sonic no. The capitalization is wrong - moving forward all of the queue names will be adjusted to match our standards, which is for sentence case, not title case. – Catija Nov 2 at 22:21
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I think the page in general is fine. But, seeing Ryan's answer mentioning that unexplained posts aren't a reason for deletion, I am wondering:

Could this page be made one of the help center pages that can be edited by moderators?

Different sites have different customs, and what is not supposed to be deleted on one site can be a reason for deletion on another. It is of course not easy for new users, especially not if they're trying to get the hang of queues on different communities. But I don't know how else to solve this problem: On Stack Overflow posts that just give the code aren't eligible for deletion, while on one of the sites I moderate, we actively use the low quality posts queue to be a good subjective site and delete the 'code-only' in favor of more substantiated answers:

Great subjective questions tend to have long, not short, answers. The best subjective questions inspire your peers to share their actual experiences, not just post a mindless one-liner or cartoon in hopes of being rewarded with upvotes for being merely “first.” Sharing an experience takes at least one paragraph; ideally several paragraphs. If I’m asking about how to bake cookies, don’t give me a list of grocery items: milk. butter. vanilla. eggs. There is virtually nothing I can learn from a short, static list of grocery items that make up a recipe. Instead, tell me what happened the last time you made cookies from that recipe! Share your detailed experiences, so that we all might learn from them.

On IPS, a post that would be the equivalent of a 'code-only' answer on Stack Overflow would be deleted, and it would be great if we could add a few words to the 'Recommend deletion or delete' section, so that the enumeration of reasons to vote to delete there would include 'or lacks proper back-up'.

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    Perhaps we can re-use the custom close reasons moderators can set in some way? – Luuklag Nov 3 at 10:14
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    Eh, just an editable help center page is already existing moderator functionality, though I do know it's limited to just a few pages. Custom close reasons seem more related to the canned comments for deletion, which is a bit different from the help center page. – Tinkeringbell Nov 3 at 10:21
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    (recommenting from a similar question on another post) At this point we're not planning to make them site-specific, particularly as they may change in the future as we continue to work on the close review project. Once this has stabilized, we can discuss making them site specific, though if we do this, we'll likely do it with the caveat that we may occasionally need to do a network-wide override, so y'all should keep a copy of your current version somewhere so that you can re-adjust if that happens. – Catija Nov 10 at 20:08
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Clearly explain that spam and offensive posts should be flagged and skipped, not reviewed for closure or deletion

In its current form, the help page doesn't explain what to do if someone encounters a post that is spam or rude/abusive. As written, the page implies that such posts should be reviewed as "Recommend Deletion". However, this is a very, very bad choice for such posts, as that review outcome will prevent the appropriate penalties from being levied on such posts, and allow post authors to undelete such posts without a trace. Also, spam and rude/abusive ("red") flags are automatically dismissed with this review outcome (or an outcome of being closed), and won't stick around for a moderator to review them.

I understand that the help page is supposed to be a much shorter description than the FAQ answer, but please add explicit instructions to not review spam and offensive posts as "Recommend Deletion" or "Recommend Close", and to instead follow the "link" to the post, cast the appropriate flag, and "Skip" the review item.

Ideally, the review queues would have the following two extra features to avoid this issue:

  • Provide a separate review button for spam/offensive posts, which casts the appropriate flag and doesn't count as a standard review for deletion or closure
  • Not train users through review audits to review spam posts as "Recommend Deletion"

But those are out of scope for this post.

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    Complex instructions that require a user to open the post in a new tab just aren't a good fit for a top-level help center page. That said, once flagging is added as an option in the future, we'll make a change that addresses this. – Catija Nov 3 at 7:48
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    @Catija Options to red flag will be added to this queue? Is that status-planned? – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Nov 3 at 7:51
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    Eventually all review tasks will have the option to flag the post. That's in the designs, yes. – Catija Nov 3 at 7:52
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    @Catija In the meantime, though, would it be hard to merely add the words ", or that are spam or rude/abusive" after "that are simply wrong" in the bullet describing "Recommend Deletion"? – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Nov 3 at 7:55
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It would be useful to remark that Editing removes the item from the review queue, so this is a good starting point:

  • Edit if the post is good quality but you can improve the post to make it better. Avoid editing posts that should be closed or deleted.

but I would emphasize that editing prevents posts from being deleted in this specific queue.

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Emphasize that "unexplained answer" ("code-only answer" on Stack Overflow) is not a reason for deletion

On Stack Overflow, by far the most common mistake I see in Low Quality Posts reviews is people recommending deletion of code-only or command-only answers. I've even seen, on multiple occasions, people recommending deleting of correct code-only or command-only answers.

I could imagine people describing such answers as "incomprehensible" due to the lack of explanation, so it might not be 100% clear with the proposed phrasing. Given the frequency with which this happens, it would be better to be explicit that such answers should not be deleted in this queue.

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    Based on Tinkeringbell's answer, I disagree. On some sites in the network (e.g. Interpersonal Skills, Puzzling, etc.), "unexplained answers" are actually eligible for deletion, and users are expected to review such answers in favor of deletion. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Nov 3 at 8:08
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    I'm sure some wording could be devised that would work for most sites. I'm far more concerned about this queue deleting too much content than not deleting enough. It's much easier for a site to teach its power users "yeah, we delete that stuff here" than for a site to teach everyone "please stop incorrectly deleting useful content." One leaves answers that can be downvoted or re-flagged, and the other leaves no trace for most users. – Ryan M Nov 3 at 11:30
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    If we make these editable on a per-site basis, that may be the best solution. In most cases, answers should have some, even minor, amount of explanation in them. – Catija Nov 10 at 20:13
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For some time, editing a post in the Low Quality post queue would automatically generate a downvote. It would be good to clarify this, since its documentation (here and here) is a bit confusing. Also, to prevent people from editing trivial things that would lead to a downvote.

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  • "Also, to prevent people from editing trivial things that would lead to a downvote." What do you mean? – Mast Nov 3 at 9:47
  • @Mast that back in the days (I think not anymore) a trivial edit on a post in the LQP would trigger a downvote. So people editing in good faith say tiny grammar mistakes would trigger this downvote. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Nov 3 at 9:49
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    The downvote now only happens if a user has cast a "very low quality" flag. – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Nov 3 at 17:23
  • @Sonic ah, ok. So if the post enters there because of the system, it does not, while if it goes through because of a VLQ flag it does. I guess there is no way for a user to know that, and in such case infer that an automatic downvote will happen if they edit. – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Nov 3 at 19:49
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    @fedorqui'SOstopharming' Almost correct. If a user casts a VLQ flag after it's already entered the queue automatically, it's still downvoted. (No downvotes are cast for NAA flags, though.) – Sonic the K-Day Hedgehog Nov 3 at 19:50
  • I think it would be better to just remove the feature that editing generates a downvote. It's perfectly acceptable to edit a post that doesn't deserve a downvote, while editing a post that's low quality is discouraged. It makes absolutely no sense to assume that just because someone edited a post they would want to downvote it. – Donald Duck Nov 5 at 14:24
  • I didn't even know this feature existed before I read this answer. Now I'm worried that I've accidentally triggered automatic downvotes by editing posts I absolutely don't think deserve to be downvoted. – Donald Duck Nov 5 at 14:26
  • @DonaldDuck agreed. It may have theoretical sense, but can lead to unwanted and unnecessary downvotes. That's why I think its logic needs to be clarified or, at least, made knowledgeable to all – fedorqui 'SO stop harming' Nov 5 at 15:45

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