What are the guidelines for reviewing?

What should one avoid doing when reviewing?

How can it happen to be banned and what are the implications of this?


The site offers several review queues that make helping to moderate this community more streamlined. For details on these queues see What are the review queues, and how do they work?.

When you decide to review please do it in that spirit of helping to moderate this community.

Do not turn it into a game or a competition. Yes, there are badges, stats, and leader-boards but don't make performing well there your objective. While it might seem harmless, empirically it is very hard to avoid negative effects on the quality of reviewing and it can create conflicts.

Do not rush it. Some care should be taken when evaluating posts for review. Yes, if one is used to doing it some posts can be evaluate quickly, but still please be diligent.

One more point that might not be obvious.

Reviews should be conducted in line with MSE's community standards. This means you should not (a) ignore rules or guidelines for questions you like, or (b) close questions that you dislike, but do not violate any rules or guidelines. For example, if you consistently vote to leave open questions with insufficient context, your review privileges will be revoked. On the other hand, if you consistently vote to close questions simply for being low level, your review privileges will be revoked.

On the site itself there is more leeway but in the review queue please try to take a middle of the road position. If you don't want to do this, or don't know what this is supposed to mean, that's not a problem, there is no obligation to review.

Do not cherry-pick via skip. If you review, please, try to review the posts that are presented to you. Of course sometimes one feels badly placed or unable to evaluate a post. Then one should skip. But skipping through the queue to find specific types of posts is not really in line with the ideas of the queues.

Failure to comply with these guidelines can result in a review-ban. You then will be blocked from reviewing for a certain period of time. Other than that the site can be used normally, this is not an account-suspension.

The decisions to review-ban are made by the moderators. We have a set of indicators and thresholds, and discuss it in cases of doubt. As any moderator action, these decisions can be questioned.

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    $\begingroup$ You should clarify what you mean by "cherry picking". In fact SE already provides methods to cherry pick via review filters Focusing on topics / posts that one knows well surely increases the quality of reviews, so it should be encouraged, not discouraged. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 14 at 14:30
  • $\begingroup$ In fact, just recently I had thought that we maybe should point out the filters there. Yet note it says "Do not cherry-pick via skip." Thus there is some precision; of course using filters in a reasonable way is fine. To put this more clearly. If one wants to review one should want to review posts one does not necessarily know. What is for example not alright is to go to the queue in order to kick out a particular post, this is against the spirit of queue. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 14 at 14:38
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    $\begingroup$ Maybe more crucially then the not knowing the post is, one should go there with an open mind as to what one will vote. Going there with the preconceived idea of voting everything one way is not acceptable. Yes, we cannot read users minds, but we observe and draw our conclusions (that might even be wrong). $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 14 at 14:42
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    $\begingroup$ If the review filters are not precise enough then one might have no choice but to use skip to enhance the filtering. It seems there is some type of "bad" review behavior that you deem "cherry picking", but it is not at all clear to me precisely what you mean by that. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 14 at 14:42
  • $\begingroup$ I gave an example "go to the queue in order to kick out a particular post" $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 14 at 14:43
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    $\begingroup$ It would be helpful to explicitly enumerate in the answer those behaviors you propose to discourage, because "cherry picking" is far too fuzzy. Also you should break the points into separate answers since otherwise the votes are meaningless (e.g. if one agrees with some things you proposed but disagrees with others, then how should one vote?) $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 14 at 14:50
  • $\begingroup$ The key point is to review with an open mind and not as a tool to implement a preconceived idea. If the actions make it plausible that this is not the case, review privilege might be revoked. Generally user with opinions more to the extreme ends are not good reviewers. If they realize that this is the case, they should ideal just refrain from reviewing. If they don't we might interfere. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 14 at 14:54
  • $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque there is no real point in voting here. These are guidelines as they are. If you want to discuss some aspect, open a separate post. It is tagged support and not discussion for a reason. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 14 at 14:55
  • $\begingroup$ What does "it is tagged support" mean? $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 14 at 15:01
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    $\begingroup$ The main idea of this thread is to inform the community what can lead to a review ban. The discussion that lead to this thread happened internally. If you want to discuss some aspect of this thread you can create a separate post. Of course specific requests for clarification in comments are still welcome, and I'll update the post as the need arises. Generally "support" thread are for requesting/providing information, and "discussion" is for discussion. $\endgroup$ – quid Apr 14 at 15:15

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