I was reviewing the reopen queue and came across a question that was closed because it was detected by the system as spam (some wording similar to that). The post was not apparently spam, but a very brief question with no context/details/effort on the part of the OP. It had not been edited since closing. In this case, I voted to leave closed—because, although the question was not spam, it seemed like it should be closed anyway. The system then informed me that "this was a test" and, for the first time, I failed the test and that it should have been marked to reopen. My question is: was the computer/teacher wrong? should I have left it closed? or, was the computer/teacher correct and I should have re-opened (or voted to reopen) simply because it was mistakenly closed for the wrong reason?

EDIT: For reference here is the link to the review in question. Thanks @quid for locating it.

  • $\begingroup$ youtube.com/watch?v=GqH21LEmfbQ $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 23:42
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    $\begingroup$ The better way to use the review queue seems to be to open questions in a new tab before voting to close or reopen. This has two advantages. First, you can perform all actions in the new tab; sometimes the review queue inexplicably prevents you from commenting and/or voting. Second, if you only click "skip" in the review tab, you are insulated from the silly "audits". $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2015 at 0:01
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    $\begingroup$ @Carl Mummert Well actually, if you open the question in a new tab and check for the post in question, it is (very) easy to detect review audits. $\endgroup$
    – Surb
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 0:45
  • $\begingroup$ Maybe you could add link to the review audit in question to your post. (I see that you have already confirmed in a comment that this is the audit which prompted your question.) $\endgroup$ Commented May 21, 2015 at 4:55
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak, thanks for the suggestion. The edit has been made. $\endgroup$
    – TravisJ
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 5:25

1 Answer 1


This question seems half-way based on a false premise (although this is quite understandable). Let me try to explain what is happening. I assume we are talking about this review

There are two unrelated things happening that make this confusing.

  1. Some items in the review-queues are audits and just there to test if you are reviewing carefully/correctly. These are automatically selected by an algorithm based on earlier community moderation. This question is considered as "known good" (and in fact is not closed on the site) by this algorithm and thus you were supposed to vote to reopen to pass the audit. (Such audits also exist in the other direction and in other queues.) However, since community opinion and moderation are quite mixed earlier community input is not always reliable. In my opinion, it was also perfectly reasonable to vote leave closed.

    So, technically you failed that audit, but you should not worry about this. Most everybody fails an audit sometimes, and as long as you do not fail it very often (in a relative sense) there is no consequence at all (and even if you would the worst to happen is that you will be blocked from doing further reviews for some time). And, your vote to leave close was reasonable.

  2. The text "Our system has identified this post as possible spam; please review carefully" is unrelated to what I mentioned above. Another algorithm identifies posts as potential spam or low-quality and notifies you about this to alert you to potential problems.

The one algorithm does not know what the other does and therefore there can be such strange coincidences. The system indeed thinks at the same time that this post is good quality and this post is potential spam.

Yet, that according to the system you were supposed to vote to reopen has nothing to do with the spam-warning or the post being closed for the wrong reason. There is no automatic closure for being spam.

Finally, to answer the question in the title. In general you should not vote to reopen a post that you think should eventually be closed only because you think the reason was wrong. By and large the reason is inconsequential.

An exception are duplicate-closures that insert a link and can create redirects. If you think something is closed as a duplicated while not being a duplicate it can make sense to try to change this. Likewise, if you see a closed question that actually has a duplicate it can also make sense to close it as duplicate rather than in the normal way.

However, these are somewhat special case and to get such things sorted out it can be better to post in the dedicated chat room

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    $\begingroup$ "In general you should not vote to reopen a post that you think should eventually be closed only because you think the reason was wrong. " I fully agree. In an ideal world: one could leave a comment in the post to explain why this post should stay closed (so that OP could work on these other reasons too and edit his question in consequences). $\endgroup$
    – Surb
    Commented May 20, 2015 at 23:57
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. That is the review in question... and I agree with your line of reasoning here. That is mostly how I felt (and why I voted the way I did). Thanks for the link to the dedicated chat. I was unaware that it existed (haven't actually used the chats here). Do people just discuss questionable close/reopen scenarios there? i.e. is it a good place if I have a question on a specific review to post a link? $\endgroup$
    – TravisJ
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ That chat room looks really useful. I wasn't so worried that I failed my first audit. I was mostly just worried that I had fundamentally misunderstood what the correct procedure was/would be... $\endgroup$
    – TravisJ
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 1:05
  • $\begingroup$ @TravisJ you are welcome. The chat is mainly there to signal posts that somebody thought should be (re)considered that already passed through the usual review. However some discussions happens there too and the regulars of the room are quite involved with voting so if you have some question related to this (like the one you asked here), you are likely to get some opinion there. However, if you are just somehow undecided about some specific post you are asked to review, a good thing to do can be to "skip." $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Commented May 21, 2015 at 13:11

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