Earlier today, two new queues were rolled out to each site as part of the new review queue workflows: A 'First Questions' and 'First Answers' queue that will replace the old 'First Posts' queue. These queues come with new canned feedback options, which include code specific options for both questions and answers that shouldn't be showing on non-code related sites.

I asked about it in an answer underneath the announcement of the changes, and it was recommended I turn it into a separate, proper feature request, so here it goes: Can the canned feedback options in these queues be made configurable per site?

While there is a generic 'Question is unclear' for questions that lack details, some sites could really use a version that asks for more specific details, more like the code-specific canned reasons do. For example, on Interpersonal.SE such a comment could ask question authors to include a specific goal (as questions lacking those will be closed), or the comment could point out that answers need to be backed up with either experience or research, but shouldn't be just thoughts/opinions on what can be done. I'm assuming other sites can have other requirements, for example the ones that do identification questions could ask for pictures or a specific set of details this way.

If making things configurable is very unfeasible, could you somehow load the 'Post Owner Guidance' from site-specific off-topic close reasons into the canned feedback list for first questions? That way, what needs to be done to improve the question can be dropped as a comment before the question ends up closed entirely and shows the notice. That still doesn't give many options for answers, and doesn't work if sites don't have updated their post owner guidance to be different from the off-topic close reason, but it might just be an easy way to make the canned comments for reviewing first questions match the things that need to be improved in questions often enough that a site has its own close-reasons to handle the questions that don't have this.

  • Shouldn't there be a per site meta call for discussion about this posted as featured by the specific site mod?
    – bad_coder
    Commented Aug 29, 2021 at 16:46
  • I'm not going to post an answer since CGCC's only had a single canned comment used so far, but they're also completely useless for us. The "question is unclear" one is the only one I could actually see being used (since it's so vague it'd be hard to misuse it if you tried), but the others would all be unhelpful and probably harmful. Commented Sep 7, 2021 at 14:35

4 Answers 4


We got a canned comment asking for working code on RPG.

Here is the comment. The answer was reviewed in the First Answers queue here.

Staff Kristinalustig stated in this comment:

The code-specific options shouldn't be showing on any non-code-related site. If you're seeing that anywhere, please let us know!

  • 1
    I reported this on our local meta (and then found out about this post so uhh, here's a link) Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 19:40
  • 4
    Ditto for skeptics. After flagging, there was not suitable option to deal with spam answers, except skip, which loses count of the fact I reviewed it.
    – W.O.
    Commented Aug 26, 2021 at 22:59

First I want to confirm that Math.SE also gets a canned response referring to "working code and documentation citations" in the first answers queue, which is often inappropriate. The latest update from SE staff says that they will address this problem by "revisiting the text of some of the feedback strings to try to make it as general as possible." However, I agree with one of the answers in that thread that rephrasing the comments to be more general makes them less useful. I believe there are very specific use cases of this functionality on various SE sites that warrant customizable responses. Allow me to demonstrate the need for this feature using Math.SE as an example.

First of all, Math.SE already has quite a few canned responses gathered and used by the community. I see this revamp of the review system the perfect opportunity to incorporate some of them. This meta post was created 9 years ago to collect comment templates, and is still actively contributed to. A few of the templates are frequently used by users during review that address problems specific to Math.SE. Let me give two examples.

Math Stack Exchange has long faced the problem of people (often new users) flooding the site with homework-like questions that are stated as a bare problem statement or with a plea along the lines of "I have no clue how to solve it, please help". Skimming the thread referenced above and the linked meta questions will show you that active users on the site have generally agreed that such questions should be discouraged. While there is no blanket ban on homework-like questions like on Physics.SE, the policy has been that such questions need to be edited to provide context. To encourage new users to add context, reviewers often use this comment template, for example here, here, here, and here. (Since the questions that attract these comments tend to be of low quality, they may be deleted after a few days if the OP hasn't made improvements, so apologies if the links die.) Since the concern over problem-statement-only question is both specific to Math.SE and quite pressing, having a custom canned response in review that addresses it would be very welcome.

Another problem is that when new users first post on the site, they are often unfamiliar with MathJax, which is a markup system that allows us to typeset math expressions beautifully. Without using MathJax, these posts can be hard to read. To address this problem, there is a comment template for users that are not familiar with MathJax, which would be a good fit for a response in review after editing a post to improve the typesetting. Again this is a problem quite specific to the technical sites, so it would make more sense to allow the sites to customize the response, instead of leaving it out or adding it across the whole network in a broader phrasing.

The updated plan on improving the review queue system promises that reviewers will be able to add custom comments under their own user name through the "share feedback" interface. While this is a move in the right direction, I still believe that the ability to customize canned responses per site is important. A custom canned response posted through the Community♦ user conveys community consensus, while a comment template or a custom response, however frequently it is used, does not. Being able to tell a new user "welcome and here are the rules and conventions of this community" should be one of the goals of the review system. Thus having such messages carry the authority of the Community♦ user would be optimal. At the very least, it would prevent frustrated new users from responding "if you're not willing to help, just move on" because they perceive such comments as an individual grouchy gatekeeper harassing them. I believe this is the reasoning behind introducing canned response in the first place, but since different SE sites are more or less distinct communities, it would be much more productive if each community is equipped to apply their own standards.


Code Review

Code Review is a code related site. However Code Review is for asking "how can I improve my code" not "what is the answer to X" style questions, unlike much of SE. As such the following comment from Community is not just irrelevant/nonsense (like asking for code on non-code sites) but outright harmful advice. By leading users down a path to guaranteed failure.

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. – Community♦ 2021-08-28 14:48:48Z, License: CC BY-SA 4.0

If a normal user was posting such comments, I'd mod message and go on to suspend the user for creating a toxic environment.

  • 4
    This answer is related to my answer on the workflow question.
    – pacmaninbw
    Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 17:13

English Language Learners

On ELL the canned comments aren't helping. Initially they contained references to "showing the code". However that may be fixed.

But more fundamentally, the comments aren't useful because they aren't specific enough. And they cannot be made specific enough.

Reviewers are clicking the box to leave feedback, and because it is easy lots of new questions get a comment about "adding details".

The impact is being negged by an anonymous mod. A new user won't know that "Community" is not a real person, only that someone is telling them to add details. But New Users don't know what sort of details to add. The feedback is anonymous, so the new user doesn't have a contact to ask. There is no engagement with the new user.

A useful comment could be written by a reviewer to explain what sort of details, though it differs in each case.

The automatic comments have no welcoming tone. They are usually not helpful. And they cannot be flagged.

This feature is not appropriate to ELL and should be turned off completely.

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