This is the second time I hit the following (or similar) message, but I don't really understand what I did wrong.

STOP! Look and Listen.

This was an audit, designed to see if you were paying attention. You didn't pass. Your review was inappropriate. This was a high quality post and you should have considered leaving it as-is or even upvoting.

Don't worry, we've already handled this post appropriately – but please take a minute to look it over closely, keeping in mind the guidance above.

A first time it was a very long post which to me looked as a hidden\indirect advertisement of some book which I considered missing the purpose of this website, so I decided to downvote it. Well it was an audit which I've failed and I discovered that this post had many upvotes. Ok I learn from this that advertisement is ok here and since I don't agree with it I will just skip such reviews in future. I didn't hit the I understand button, because I didn't agree.

The second time, just recently, I found a normal post and decided to leave some comment. Why did I fail the audit this time is totally unclear to me. So I'm not going to hit the I understand button again.

I saw some posts here as well as the FAQ of reviews. I found posts with similar problems. I found that this "should not discourage me from reviewing", but I do very frustrated.

My question is what is an incentive for me from reviewing posts? More precisely why should I continue review?

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    $\begingroup$ On a personal note, the stupid audits with the "I understand" button are the reason I stopped reviewing a long time ago. $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2015 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ One time, I was reviewing an answer and name of the answer-er was been faded so that I can not imagine the reputation of the user to be reviewed. It was undoubtedly a high quality post, but there are some formatting problems in that post. So, I left a comment, and as soon as I pressed the enter button, it showed me "STOP! Look and Listen..."! But after the comment, I was about to upvoting this, but I failed only for commenting. $\endgroup$
    – user249332
    Nov 18, 2015 at 19:16

3 Answers 3


First Posts review is not particularly useful; don't feel bad about ignoring it. With 2000 reputation you get access to more consequential queues (suggested edits, low quality posts) where the decisions matter more and audits are less random.

"Known good" audits are based on what has been well received. And what is well received on this site is pretty random.

Exhibit A: Unconventional mathematics books

Yes, a covert advertisement. I voted to close. The tag pretty much says that the question should be closed as too broad.

Exhibit B: Order of matrix multiplication

Good question, but had a vague title and lacked the tag . I would pick Edit if I saw it in a review queue. But I agree that failing an audit because of a comment is hardly reasonable: see Clicking "Add comment" fails review audit.

As for incentive: there is no extrinsic one, unless we count Custodian/Reviewer/Steward badges. As an employee of SE wrote,

If, up until now, you were reviewing close votes to make us happy... You were doing it for the wrong reason. The close queue isn't for us - it's for you. If you don't see the point in reviewing questions nominated for closure, then nothing I say or do is going to change that.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks! I do believe that First Posts are important, since it expected to increase the chances that the new user get appropriate response or at least attention. Without this the "new blood flow" would be slower. $$$$ I still have the question about existence of immediate incentive to reviewer. $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2015 at 8:55
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    $\begingroup$ Added a bit on that. $\endgroup$
    – user147263
    Nov 11, 2015 at 12:17

In principle the I understand button should not be pressed unless one has made an actual mistake. Mistakes can happen. They are rare, we are professionals. The opinion of a program is of no relevance.

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    $\begingroup$ Actually, it is not reasonable to expect a stupid program to draw inferences from actions not taken. $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2015 at 2:43
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    $\begingroup$ The one who do nothing do no mistake, that's for sure:) $\endgroup$ Nov 11, 2015 at 8:42

Why should I review?

Because it makes fun!

If it's not the case for you, then stop.

Audit reviews are sometimes helpful to understand rule and sometimes bothering... But as long as you review carefully and conscientiously, they should not be a too big deal (and you get to know how to recognize them after a while).


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