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For those who have looked through the stats on First Posts Review Queue, you will notice I sit at the top of most reviewed with over 4500 reviews.

I have over the past months become aware that it was mainly myself doing the bulk of reviewing First Posts. I decided this was not very democratic and decided to limit my activity in that review queue.

However, over the summer I have noticed the number of posts to be reviewed in that queue was increasing quite substantially. I think at one stage it might have peaked at over 50 posts.

The current trend for this review queue seems to be the number of posts to be reviewed balloons up to about 20, and then one or more users, (including myself more recently) steps in and bulk reviews a load of posts.

This does not seem to be a very sustainable approach, ideally lots of users should be reviewing a small number of posts each. Is there something we can do about this?

  • This question is just about 2 months old now. Did something change? I just crossed 500 rep so I have access to this queue. It's almost always empty... – Brick Nov 11 '17 at 13:31
  • A couple of users stepped up to the plate and between them and myself are able to keep the queue clear. Its still a lot of work though, we seem to get a significant number of First Posts. Also since the election has started I have noticed an increase in the variety of users active in the review queues. Not sure if the two are related or not. – Darth Vader Nov 11 '17 at 15:04
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I agree, and I think the issue extends beyond just First Posts, to a few aspects of community moderation.

There are certainly enough users to handle the queues, if even a small fraction were consistently active in the review queues:

  • 249 users who can access the review queues (>= 500 reputation)

  • 28 users with close vote privileges (>= 3,000 reputation)

Bearing in mind that only one user is needed to review a First Post, and we only get at most 10–20 questions/day, there are, in theory, sufficient users to handle the flow of questions.

Unfortunately, we can't expect every user with sufficient rep to be here every day. I suspect many of these users haven't been active in months, and far fewer actually visit the site on a day-to-day basis. Even fewer actively contribute to review.

Many review tasks spread across few reviewers leads to the situation we have now, where dedicated users like you have to handle an awful lot by yourself (thank you for doing that, by the way!). So many systems rely on review working, and we need more people to share the load. I've been trying to contribute what I can personally, but the queue always seems full!


The same seems to be the case for the Close Votes queue (and question closure in general) — it's rare to see a question closed without a binding vote involved, which is unfortunate. Generally, moderators only use their binding votes on blatantly inappropriate posts, and that's a good thing, because ideally users should be able to decide what to close democratically.

In reality, there are probably less than 10 users who actively are able to close questions, which makes it much harder to close questions in a timely fashion and give the authors feedback on how to improve their question.


So what can we do?

  • Ideally, we need more reviewers, and to figure out why people don't review. Is it simply because we need more users here? Are the users here who can review choosing not to? Can we incentivise reviewing?

  • I don't feel like loading more reviews on to the users who are doing this already is sustainable. Honestly, reviewing 20 posts a day, every day, just to keep the queue down, stops being fun. The only real solution here is to spread the work across more users, or else the site's bus factor drops dangerously low.

Encouraging people to review is hard, and encouraging people to review well is harder. But a thread like this is a start. Raising attention to the problem is probably the best solution for now, and the new top bar might affect reviewers anyway, so it's worth monitoring.

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    I would love to use the mod hammer less, but there simply isn't enough community activity to close questions any other way in most cases. It's an unfortunate problem, but not an easy one to fix. – Jacobm001 Sep 15 '17 at 20:16
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    @Aurora0001, I completely agree with what you are saying, and I would also like to thank you for your contribution to this community as a newer user. I would like to add that having reviewed your edits, you are are making a really positive impact on the community. I think part of the problem also stems from some users not being aware they have sufficient rep to access the review queues. And bulk reviewing everyday also reduces the quality of reviewing. That's one of the reasons I haven't been reviewing so many posts recently. – Darth Vader Sep 15 '17 at 20:17
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    @Jacobm001 I agree entirely, and what I say isn't meant as a jab at moderators here for closing questions on their own—it's necessary, and better than leaving bad questions open. I just know from personal experience that it's more likely that you vote only when absolutely necessary, as your vote is binding (I certainly do on the site I moderate!). I'm sure you feel similarly—if the community could vote to close, it would be preferable (but that doesn't seem to be happening often, and there isn't really a way to solve this other than changing privilege levels, which isn't likely to happen) – Aurora0001 Sep 16 '17 at 9:50
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    Regarding the "more reviewers" part - My view as a new user (with experience on other sites, including 3000+ on "money" before I deleted my account there) is that there are too few good questions on this site to answer and too few users voting on answers when there is a good question. These both hinder reaching review status. What good questions exist are often buried. I can see how one might be bored with by the time that comes at this level of quality. In the short-term, I think the mods should drop their hammer more to get control of quality, and if you wan more active reviewers, vote! – Brick Sep 18 '17 at 12:39
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    Longer-term, I think the mods and community would do well to put a better focus on the site, flesh out the help section (What can I ask here?), be more consistent with handling of flags, complete the "This belongs on another site" portion of the flagging (which currently only offers this meta site). All things raised in other meta posts but seemingly left hanging. Just my new-to-the-community view. – Brick Sep 18 '17 at 12:41
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Welcome to the life of the mods! I've been worried about this issue a lot lately. Honestly, it's not just the First Posts queue; we're having similar issues with the Close Votes queue as well. Unfortunately, there are very few of us doing the vast majority of the work. On top of that, three of the four moderators were on/have been on extended summer vacations.

There haven't been a lot of interesting questions lately, and I think a lot of our older users have gotten bored and moved on. With luck, this will self correct over time. If it doesn't... I honestly don't have a solution to the problem at this time.

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    I have to admit I wish I brought up the issue with the First Posts review queue sooner. When I started to take on more reviewing there wasn't that many posts. But for some reason over the last summer the number of new users has dramatically increased, and that's when I realized the issue with the review queues needed to be raised. – Darth Vader Sep 15 '17 at 20:22
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    Is it possible to lower the threshold for the Close Votes to allow more people to contribute? Would it make a difference? – Bex Sep 18 '17 at 12:34
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    +1 Regarding the part about quality and that leading to boredom. – Brick Sep 18 '17 at 12:43
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    @Bex I think the limits are the same networkwide for graduated sites. There have been discussions on MSE though about how to change the system but afaik it stands as it is for now. – Ghanima Sep 18 '17 at 13:16
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    @Ghanima Agree that limits are networkwide. For consideration: I have seen the "hack" that mods will use their binding vote when they see a few user votes ahead of theirs but not enough activity to finish the action. – Brick Sep 18 '17 at 13:27
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    @brick, which is what we already do (as anyone with access to the close review queue's history or the data explorer could tell)... but there is always a downside to that and we wouldn't want to upset the community to be deprived of their privileges... or that would be the next meta post of yours ;) – Ghanima Sep 18 '17 at 13:49
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    @Ghanima Just to be clear in my philosophy: I'm good with mods stepping in where their is no community or not enough community. My metas have been about cases where (IMO) there are inconsistencies either within the site or between this SE and the network. Acting first may be / may seem heavy-handed, but close away if there's any sense of consensus among the (apparently) few people who are participating. Especially if there's back-up in the help ("What can I ask here?") or in the larger SE universe norms. – Brick Sep 18 '17 at 13:56
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    @brick you'll find plenty of closed posts with just three or four votes (and the binding mod vote being the third or fourth). So I think we already do just as you've suggested. Feel free to discuss other issues separately, i.e. if you want to suggest an update to the helpcenter. – Ghanima Sep 18 '17 at 14:01
  • For me, reviewing is a tedious chore. At least the site has stopped putting up the big HEY REVIEW SOME STUFF banner. – scruss Oct 17 '17 at 15:32
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The First Posts Review Queue is a waste of time! It may have some meaning on Stack Overflow, but the majority of post on raspberrypi.stackexchange are First Posts.

I skim all questions in the newest "All Questions" queue. I see no need to look at First Posts Review Queue.

I apply the same principle I used at work (when I used to get hundreds of emails from staff); viz. If you want me to READ your post you need to have a Title which describes the issue, and explain your issue in the first paragraph.

I will then provide an answer to any sensible question (if I have something to contribute), but am reluctant to make any other comment these days.

Questions which don't clearly state the issues and provide evidence, and/or exhibit no evidence of research, I silently ignore.

EDIT Today I noticed a red dot on the new toolbar. This turns out to be the First Posts Review Queue, which I never check - so I guess I will have a permanent indicator which effectively hides REAL items to check.

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    There is nothing wrong with your approach and concentrate your effort on questions you think you could contribute to. The sheer number of your answers and their vote count shows the value of that to the community and countless readers of your answers. While it would certainly be appreciated if more of the long-time high-rep users of our site that are still active contribute to the reviewing and flagging more, there is no way to force them... and again there is nothing wrong in focusing on the things one does best (and pro bono for that matter). – Ghanima Sep 16 '17 at 12:23

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