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Summary

The quality of reviews has become very low for some reviewers. Please put more love into your review to increase the quality of the site and save the time of others.

What do you want us to do?

If you review, please spend a little bit of time to consider the following things:

  • Did you read enough of that post? For example, a post starting with “I had the same issue” may as well with a description of how the author solved that issue (and thus be a valid answer).

  • Did you read all the relevant information? For example, take a look at the edit summary when reviewing suggested edits or take a look at the answers before voting to close as unclear.

  • Do you know our current policy regarding that type of post? For example, what are our requirements for critique questions and what happened to tech support? If not, there is a list of resources below.

  • Do you know what effect that button has? For example, did you know that, for all reviews except reopen reviews, choosing Edit dequeues the post? If not, there is a list of resources below.

  • Can you improve the situation with an edit, a comment, or a vote? For example, no action needed should be the exception when reviewing first posts and late answers.

  • Did you (or somebody before you) leave a comment and was it really helpful? For example, tech support and not about design are notoriously unclear and do not help the author of a question; and neither do canned comments that do not match the post. Remember that leaving an elaborate comment does not only help the author but also future reviewers.

  • Does that post really need to be closed or deleted, or is a downvote (and a constructive comment) more appropriate?

Resources

Don’t worry; you do not have to read all of these right now. But if you need some information or help, you will likely to find it here:

Note that many of the above are linked in custom close reasons for quick access. If the above do not help you, remember that you can ask in The Ink Spot or on meta.

Why now?

We¹ did some investigation of review stats as well as some follow-ups today, and we did not enjoy it: Some reviewers need six seconds on average (over a large number of reviews). For roughly the same selection of questions, some reviewers vote to close in 80% of the case, while others vote to leave open 80% of the time. Some reviewers seem to consider nearly every non-answer (questions as answers, thank-you posts, misplaced rants) to be an appropriate comment. We have seen all the mistakes to which I alluded in the examples above.

Note that this is not about occasional mistakes, which are unavoidable and would have little impact since most review decision are not unilateral. This is about systematic behaviours. We have good arguments to review-ban half of our active reviewers. We did not do this yet, but if reviews continue like this, we will.


¹ That is: some of the moderators

“But if everybody does this, even fewer reviews get done!”

Reviews do not exist to be done in some way or just to get rid of some bad posts. The point is also to provide individual guidance to new users, to improve posts, and so on. I rather have one proper review instead two hasty reviews.

Moreover, a good review can shorten the effort for other reviews and even reduce the number of reviews that are needed in the first place, for example:

  • Many posts need nothing but a good edit. It is for this reason that selecting edit in all but one queue dequeues the post.

  • A good comment explaining what is wrong with a post saves other reviewers from determining (again) what is supposed to be wrong with the post.

  • A good comment may lead to a post author improving the post themselves, which may fix the reason why the post was in the review queue in the first place.

  • A misplaced close vote or VLQ/NAA flag causes at least one, but usually more unnecessary reviews.

  • 2
    The reason reviews are probably down is the new site layout, it discourages doing review – joojaa Jan 16 at 15:45
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    @joojaa: This is about the quality of reviews, not the amount. – Wrzlprmft Jan 16 at 15:47
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    May be but out of sight is out of mind – joojaa Jan 16 at 15:48
  • Hm... so it seems like most of my reviews were done completely and utterly wrong - for one, my intuition has No Action Needed and Skip reversed... I didn't miss any kind of (automated) feedback on the quality of reviews, did I? – Michael Schumacher Jun 20 at 18:52
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    @MichaelSchumacher: I didn't miss any kind of (automated) feedback on the quality of reviews, did I? – No you didn’t. But I am glad that you recognised the problem and I am looking forward to your future reviews. – Wrzlprmft Jun 20 at 20:26
  • I'm actually pondering to stop reviewing altogether now :P There's no way to opt out of that completely (i.e. not even see that review stuff in the UI, despite being qualified for it) and concentrate on questions, answers and comments focused on content, is there? – Michael Schumacher Jun 20 at 20:44
  • @MichaelSchumacher: I'm actually pondering to stop reviewing altogether now – Please don’t. We desperately need reviewers that care about what they do (and your comment shows that you do). Also, you cannot opt out of review notifications (unless being review-banned for life). Finally, note that at least I notice a lot of interesting content through reviewing that I wouldn’t notice otherwise. – Wrzlprmft Jun 21 at 9:25

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