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Since threads about review audits seem to be turning up fairly frequently now, it seemed like a good idea to open a thread to collect examples of those audits where people failed but feel like they should not have.

This serves both the purpose of getting at least a small idea of the scale of this (ie, how often does it happen), and also means that we will potentially get information enough to suggest concrete changes to the algorithms used for picking the audit cases (if this seems necessary).

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    $\begingroup$ board of shame is a better name for this question $\endgroup$
    – Norbert
    Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 14:52
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    $\begingroup$ And for venting! It's frustrating to spend time thinking about a post, only to be told that I've chosen the wrong answer. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 16:50
  • $\begingroup$ @DouglasS.Stones that too, without each person needing to vent having to open a new thread for it (assuming they actually see this one). $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 11, 2013 at 17:52
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    $\begingroup$ I seem to recall that it is possible to remove audits from the audit system -- this post could be useful for that. But I can't find the source. Is there anyone who can verify this? $\endgroup$
    – Lord_Farin
    Commented Sep 12, 2013 at 14:05
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    $\begingroup$ I get quite a few, but they are glaringly obvious and quick to dismiss. $\endgroup$
    – copper.hat
    Commented Oct 27, 2013 at 20:38
  • $\begingroup$ math.stackexchange.com/questions/535020/… is too broad for sure and to some extent lacks context. $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Commented Nov 3, 2013 at 2:53
  • $\begingroup$ It appears that the audits have now been redesigned - clicking close on an audit wasn't an automatic pass for me just now, but rather gave me a chance to click an option first. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Commented May 22, 2014 at 5:46
  • $\begingroup$ While the thread is obviously useful as a way to vent frustration, seeing it bumped repeatedly gets old. I think it would be better implemented as a chat room, similar to Whining Room on Meta. Or just add the (whining) tag. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ @900sit-upsaday I agree. It was originally supposed to provide examples that could show how it might be improved, but it seems clear that this will not happen. And if you think it is annoying to see it bumped, consider getting a notification each time making you think "ahh, someone is speaking to me" only to see that it is just another answer to this question. $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 17:58
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasKildetoft You can ask SE to be disassociated from this thing; I'm sure that seeing the situation they'll honor the request at once. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Jul 30, 2014 at 18:00
  • $\begingroup$ Should we add the tag (big-list) to this question ? $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 12, 2017 at 17:17

61 Answers 61

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Basis-free, field-independent definition of determinants?

I got a "STOP! Look and Listen." for attempting to mark it as a duplicate of this question. The irony is that this question was actually closed as a duplicate with the same question I suggested as a dupe target, and then reopened. I disagree with the reopening, but in any case I don't think the audit system should choose questions that had been closed before.

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    $\begingroup$ More to the point, marking a question as a duplicate should not count as a "negative" action for the purposes of failing an audit. It is entirely compatible with a question being very high quality! $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 12, 2022 at 19:12
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Failed this audit: https://math.stackexchange.com/review/first-posts/141607

I call BS; this is an adequate (if short) answer and I would in fact upvote it in preference to the accepted answer, if it hadn't been deleted.

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Although this thread seems fairly quiet now, I have to report this one:

Review Close Votes - Math.SE

Although the Question has problems, these are not currently of the unclear what you are asking variety. No doubt the Question was properly closed and downvoted on that account, but subsequently it was edited in a way that makes the problem posed clear and precise.

I bring it up, not to argue for reopening, but to point out that the criteria for Review Audits do not seem to take into account post closure edits, other than to presumably require that the item remains closed currently.

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  • $\begingroup$ Almost the same happened to me. The question had problems, probably leading to a close, but was market as "unclear what you are asking". Nevertheless, the question was so, so clear that somebody commented the answer. I suppose I had to vote for the formatting issues without considering anything else... $\endgroup$ Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 12:43
  • $\begingroup$ @RafaBudría: If it's simply formatting, I often try to fix them and reopen, though in some cases the edit preview flummoxes me and I fail. More dubious are cases that might be closed for lack of context. Sometimes, if I think the Question is of genuine interest, I vote to reopen despite that lack. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Jun 3, 2017 at 14:23
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Just got this one:

https://math.stackexchange.com/review/close/532401

The question shows no effort, starts out with "community, I need to solve the following problem" and then ends with (bold face) "I try several ways, and the hint given below but I have no luck to overcome this problem, I hope someone knows how to do it. It will be really appreciated if someone knows the actual proof, I'd like to learn how did they arrived that such a series converges. Thanks, and I will give some of my reputation for the actual proof. Thanks to all the community" Give me a break.

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  • $\begingroup$ Did you happen to notice who last edited it? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 19:21
  • $\begingroup$ Meh. The annoying bold stuff could be edited out. And the question does have some redeeming qualities to offset the perceived lack of effort. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ See also: meta.math.stackexchange.com/a/22071 $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Commented Nov 27, 2015 at 21:03
  • $\begingroup$ @DanielFischer Ha, no I did not. I don't think that makes any difference. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 18:51
  • $\begingroup$ Doesn't make a difference, I just found it amusing. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 30, 2015 at 18:55
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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/first-posts/1068861

The question is about the boundedness of manifolds embedded in Euclidean space, with closed curves being the motivating example. The answer reads

How is your definition of closed curve? If it just a continuous image of $S^1$ then it is compact, so bounded in $\mathbb{R}^n$

This would be appropriate for a comment (specifically, it appears that the answer is asking for clarification about what is meant by a "closed curve", then addresses only that part of the question).

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  • $\begingroup$ However it does assume a choice of definition and answer, in admittedly terse fashion favored by some, the part of the Question raised in the title. Of course it is far from a true first post, which is irksome. $\endgroup$
    – hardmath
    Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 7:02
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    $\begingroup$ @hardmath I am not trying to argue that the answer is terrible as an answer (it is pretty borderline if you ask me, and my reaction in the review queue was that it should have been a comment, not an answer, hence I flagged it as such, but I agree that it is a close call). My complaint is that it is terrible as a review audit. Review audits are supposed to be unambiguous, and are meant to ensure that people are actually reading what they review and not just click-click-clicking. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Commented Sep 30, 2018 at 11:55
3
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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/close/1140429

This question, while it is nicely typeset and all, asks two questions at once. Therefore it should be closed as "too broad". ("Avoid asking multiple questions at once.")

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I just encountered this queston in the Reopen Queue. I voted to leave closed, as it needs details; as it stands it's just a problem statement. Unfortunately I failed the audit, and I was supposed to vote to reopen. I disagree strongly enough to post this here.

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I passed this one (the alleged closure reason was "too broad", which it's not, and the score was artificially $0$), but Monoids with left common multiples actually does lack context. What is the source of the OP's intuition (is there a special case where this holds)? What did they try?

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    $\begingroup$ I think 'So this is a result which I think is true but have yet to find a quick proof for.' constitutes enough context. It may not be question of the year, but it's far from a PSQ. $\endgroup$
    – Dan Rust
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 10:06
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @DanielRust, I don't see how stamping words like that onto the end of a PSQ make it anything more than a PSQ. $\endgroup$
    – dfeuer
    Commented Sep 17, 2013 at 19:35
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    $\begingroup$ I've had a few now with alleged closure reasons which don't fit but which should be closed for lacking context. Most recently this one. $\endgroup$ Commented Sep 24, 2013 at 18:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Peter: Fortunately, André got there first. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 1, 2013 at 5:00
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Today I was asked to review an answer this question. The answer I was to review has been deleted. The deleted answer stated that the real number group may be equipped with the operation "$+$". I was warned that this was a bad answer. I am supposed to click the "I understand button." This I will refuse to do. It seems to me that is is an excellent hint for the problem.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't agree that this is a good answer (although I completely understand not clicking the "I understand button." I generally refuse to): I read it as a new question separate from the post, not a hint towards the problem. $\endgroup$
    – user61527
    Commented Mar 14, 2014 at 19:34
2
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I failed this reopen audit. The question was closed as "unclear," although I think it's perfectly clear what's being asked (and contains some initial thoughts from the OP about the issue).

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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/close/929400

The system claimed it's marked with unclear what you're asking, but I voted to close this question for off topic due to the question writer's lack of response to another user's question "What did you try? ..."

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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/close/959283

I failed this Review Audit for the Close queue, but curiously it seems a different user is shown passing it! However I'm using it to call attention to the mechanism of changing the imputed Close Reason.

The Question had been closed as unclear what you are asking but shows in review as (potentially) too broad. While one might agree that asking something which is essentially an immediate application of the defintion (Why is the sequence of Fibonacci numbers countable?) leaves Readers wondering what the problem is really asking, it is clearly something that can be answered (and was) in brief but detailed fashion.

I just wanted to point out the strange alteration of the actual close reason. It seems to me many "false negative" reviews use primarily opinion based as the proposed close reason, which I suspect is one of the least actually used reasons, and "too broad" strikes me as a less rare but still infrequent case.

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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/late-answers/1225713

The question is asking for references. A reference is given, with enough context to know that the answerer has not read the book themselves, but found the table of contents useful. This is not a great answer, but is certainly an answer to the question, and not poor enough (in my opinion), to be considered a "low quality answer". Frankly, the question is the problem, not the answer.

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I got this one: Maximal value of dimension. I voted to close because of "his question is missing context or other details".

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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/first-posts/929848

It came up as a first post and I intended to close it, either as unclear what you're asking, or as off-topic.

The problem itself is terribly worded, as most answers discuss. The question also shows no thoughts or effort whatsoever.

Turns out it has 24 upvotes.

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    $\begingroup$ The question looks fine to me. "The problem itself is terribly worded" is the reason why the question was asked in the first place, so I don't understand this complaint. "The question also shows no thoughts or effort whatsoever." Effort and thoughts are not a requirement for questions here. We sometimes ask this for problems that look like homework, but from the first sentence of the question, it is clear that this is not the case. $\endgroup$
    – Sera Gunn
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 1:02
  • $\begingroup$ @TrevorGunn Ok, perhaps the wording is not the issue here. But I disagree about lack of context. I thought that every question lacking at least minimal effort should be closed as off-topic and I have been reviewing accordingly. People downvote and request OP's thoughts on every such question. Could you please link to a source for your claim: "Effort and thoughts are not a requirement for questions here." I'm aware that it is sometimes a grey area, of course. If I'm wrong, I'm happy to be convinced otherwise. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 1:10
  • $\begingroup$ See the discussion here. You'll also note that a lot of discussion re: effort is about homework exercises (which this question is not). You should also notice how many well received questions there are with no effort to solve them by the asker (here's one of David Speyer's). For the question in the review, I'm at a loss for what sort of effort could even be provided to a question of "this doesn't make sense, what does it mean?" $\endgroup$
    – Sera Gunn
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ If you're still not convinced, consider opening a new question on meta so the discussion gets more attention. I would also be interested in seeing what other people think. $\endgroup$
    – Sera Gunn
    Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 1:34
  • $\begingroup$ @TrevorGunn Ok, thank you. I'm actually a bit relieved because I found the "show your effort" policy a bit too strict myself, but I thought that is the way things are done here. $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 28, 2017 at 19:57
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I've commented on an answer to a question about division by zero from a person in the 9th grade saying that the answer may be hard to understand by the OP and I failed because I should have not commented.

I suggest that this specific answer is removed from the test list.

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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/close/1201934

I voted to close the question as being "Too Broad." In general, I think that questions beginning "What kinds of mathematics can be done with [insert topic here]?" are not really good for this site (I'm curious---is there a consensus on this?). Even if the community ultimately feels that this question is appropriate, I don't think that it is a good audit question.

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I failed this audit today:

Is $x_1^2+x_2^2+\ldots+x_{2020}^2=-1$ solvable in $\mathbb{Q}(\sqrt[3]{2}\zeta_3)$?

This post is a standard example of problem-statement questions with no context such as what the OP has tried and where the question comes from, yet it received 5 up votes and was put into review audit. I have cast a closure vote on it.

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This question appeared in the low quality review queue, and I failed the audit because I voted to close the question. I was instructed "You should have said "looks okay"."

The question is not okay. It includes no context, no considerations from the OP, nothing, just a question asking others to give them the desired example/counterexample.

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This question from nine years ago no longer represents an appropriate audit post, given it demands a user to conclude "looks okay", in order to pass the audit:

https://math.stackexchange.com/review/close/1709668


My comments: This does not exemplify a good question, as it violates the quality standards of the site, and is no longer valid as a representative of a post no one should close.

This post was acceptable, at the time it was posted, so I do not seek it's closure/deletion. But it needs to be removed from the pool of review audits.

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    $\begingroup$ I believe the timeline of a post has an entry for whenever the post is used for an audit, but curiously this post's timeline does not have any such entry. Perhaps this is a bug? (Of course, that is tangential to whether the post makes for a good audit or not.) $\endgroup$ Commented Dec 7, 2021 at 12:20
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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/first-questions/1736611

The audit system considers this a good question, presumably because both the question itself and its top answer are highly upvoted. However this question clearly lacks focus, so I flagged it as lacking focus and failed the audit.

It contains at least three questions, (1) what is an elementary example of a coalgebra; (2) how to define a coalgebra without the language of category theory; (3) what is a comultiplication, and why is it the dual of the multipliation. In addition to these, it also includes a side question about how to "de-categorify" a definition. While an expository article about coalgebras can probably answer all these questions to OP's satisfaction (indeed the top answer seems to be exactly that), the question itself still lacks focus and should be pared down.

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  • $\begingroup$ I agree with you. The algorithm used by the software looks for >5 upvotes, no close votes, assuming all such questions and answers are good models. As you note, this is not always the case. Sometimes, when encountering such poor models of a good question, a mere close vote is all that is needed to prevent it from continued presence as an audit. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Commented Jan 24, 2022 at 21:17
1
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I missed this one:

For me, it looked like a text and an image, somewhere behind an image link.
So I wanted to edit the question in order to see both the text and the image on one screen.

... but apparently that's wrong! Pressing the Edit button on an audit test causes you to fail the audit.

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    $\begingroup$ I think the author of the post had made it clear that the goal is to share their note. So the post is off-topic no matter what is in the link and should be closed and deleted. $\endgroup$ Commented May 24 at 9:45
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    $\begingroup$ You don't seem to understand the way I think: I see a piece of text and a link to an image. You state that I should first read the text and decide whether or not to look at the image, but that's not the way I think: first I make sure I see everything, and only then I start reading. $\endgroup$
    – Dominique
    Commented May 24 at 9:49
0
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Latest dubious audit question: https://math.stackexchange.com/review/close/202870

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Yesterday I failed this audit in the following way : The answer was presented as a First Post. I spent some time to understand the chain of ideas and conclude that it is a mathematically correct answer. Although I estimated (and still do) that it deserves more explanations. I don't believe it would be accepted either as an answer in a school test not in a peer-review article. As it was presented as a First Post, it is logical to react and ask for improvement. Therefore I wrote a comment and got the "STOP ! Look and listen" message before I could select to keep the answer.

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    $\begingroup$ While I disagree with your assessment of the answer, it is definitely problematic that merely writing a comment is considered an incorrect action. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 6, 2015 at 17:36
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    $\begingroup$ @EricWofsey. The other comments were not available during the audit. Some of them tend to agree that the answer could have been more detailed. $\endgroup$
    – Tom-Tom
    Commented Nov 7, 2015 at 21:13
0
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Question link: Proving $x^2+x+1\gt0$

Review link: https://math.stackexchange.com/review/low-quality-posts/1042494

Screen capture:

enter image description here

When I got to this question, I actually opened up the post to see the score and the close votes of the post (I almost always do that when reviewing, unless the post is really bad and obviously deserve to be closed).

However, although this question is well-received, I think that this question is pretty much opinion-based, as it asks for as many ways to prove $x^2+x+1>0$ as possible.

I decided to vote to close as "primarily opinion-based" and of course I failed the audit, luckily I hadn't failed any other audits in the last 30 days.

At this point, I'm not really sure if there is a "close vote guidelines" about this type of questions that ask "as many ways as you can think of", or maybe I'm a bit too strict.

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    $\begingroup$ I don't see how a request for a list of different ways of proving a given result can be interpreted as "primarily opinion-based". $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 0:30
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    $\begingroup$ I probably think so too, after seeing the highest-rated question here: "Visually stunning math concepts which are easy to explain". $\endgroup$
    – user061703
    Commented Jul 20, 2018 at 1:28
0
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I failed an audit regarding an answer to the question "Is there a name for categories whose objects are sets?" because I thought that the answer was short and I commented asking to expand it a bit.

In my case, the comment was not negative and it was within the usual scope of the comments: to ask for more information.

Furthermore, I based my reasoning on the fact that the question was present for almost a month, and in these cases I think that it is even more important that the answer should be more detailed to benefit other users besides the original poster.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm not sure that this is a problem with the audit item, so much as it is a problem with the audit system, which considers commenting to be bad form. Frankly, I think that commenting should always be considered a reasonable action from the point of view of auditing. :\ $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Commented Sep 30, 2019 at 20:13
0
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This one: https://math.stackexchange.com/review/late-answers/1522462

Angle 30 can be constructed, through drawing an equilateral triangle, constructing angle 120, bisecting it multiple times and getting angle 30. Is it possible to contruct 3 degrees using geometric theorems and how?

The solution being reviewed reads essentially "A pentadecagon is constructible, and after you bisect its 24-degree slices 3 times, you get 3-degree angles."

The "right answer" is that it is very poor quality.

I beg to differ. The worst anyone could say for this is that it is not totally self-contained, but I think we'd all agree the construction of a regular pentadecagon is unnecessary. It is concise, workable, and on the same level as the asker's context.

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Another gem. The question was whether to close it as unclear, and the answer was clearly no — the OP is explicitly asking how to construct such a completion. This was so obvious that I foolishly didn’t bother to check the original. It turns out that the line How might I go about this? was added by someone else, and the original question was genuinely unclear.

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0
-1
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https://math.stackexchange.com/review/close/1242652

I actually think that this question is interesting, but it suffers a bit from being overly broad. I voted to keep it, but can see the other side of the argument, as well. I don't think that it is a good audit question, as there is a reasonable argument which could be made in favor of closure.

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-1
$\begingroup$

I failed the audit in the "Close" review queue when asked about this question post.

After the revisions, it already demonstrates the asker's effort. It should no longer be closed actually, but I'm not confident in the re-opening process so posting here anyway.

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1
  • $\begingroup$ No one else voted to reopen and there's at least one person disagreeing here on this meta via downvote, so it seems that I'm misunderstanding something. Perhaps people think the math is just fundamentally wrong so it should remain closed, but I was trying to say that IF the close reason was "needs details or clarity" then it was already fixed via edit. Getting the basic math wrong (misunderstanding the definition of a limit) might deserve some downvotes as well as removal from the system, but I don't see how closing as "needs details or clarity" is the proper course. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 24, 2020 at 21:26

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