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As the title says, I am proposing this idea motivated by a negative experience that just happened to me (unhappy reviewers who don't care/don't understand my question).

I believe reviewers should be allowed to choose what to review and what NOT to review, without having to look at each one of the posts pending review before deciding whether to review it (they have already started the review). It appears that no such feature is available now.

The more advanced math gets, the more intricate the specializations. I can only name a few generalists: Gauss, von Neumann, and Tao. That's all. I am pretty sure no reviewer here qualifies as a generalist and cares about and understands every question they review.

When I go through the questions, there are many that I don't understand or don't care about at all. If I had to look at every one of them, it would be torture.

It's reasonable to believe that the posts requiring review are a fair sample in terms of topic coverage. So I can imagine what the reviewers have to go through.

Of course, this feature wouldn't work for people who stubbornly choose to do what they don't enjoy doing. But I am sure they are in the minority here.

Your thoughts?

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    $\begingroup$ If a Reviewer is presented with a Question on a topic that requires special study to appreciate, the option already exists to "Skip" that item in the queue. It is unclear how you would mechanically assign items to topical queues. The notion that "no reviewer here qualifies as a generalist" scarcely justifies waiting for perfect Reviewers to perform Community Moderation duties. I'm not sure whether more experience with Stack Exchange communities will change your perspective, but it couldn't hurt. $\endgroup$ – hardmath Apr 14 at 4:45
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    $\begingroup$ Users can already choose tags which they want to be shown in the review using filter: Allow us to filter Suggested Edits and Review section by tag. In addition to that, even if the reviewer does not use any filter, the posts offered to the users based on the tags they favorited/ignored: Are review queues curated for the reviewer? $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Apr 14 at 5:02
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    $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak Nice to know. I guess some people need to familiarize themselves with this. $\endgroup$ – Thinking Torus Apr 14 at 6:20
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You can already filter the review queues by tags.

On each review queue, there's a 'filter' link on the header. Clicking it will show a filter preference for that review queue, on which you can also add up to 3 tags.

Image taken from Stack Overflow's review queue because I don't have access to this site's review queue yet.


Note that there is no tag hierarchy on Stack Exchange, so the system cannot decide by default if some tags are categorized under another tag. You have to manually include the more generalized tag and sometimes its specific tags when filtering the queue.


As the last alternative, it's never wrong to 'skip' review items that you don't understand or don't care.

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    $\begingroup$ Worth emphasis: this seems to conflict a bit with quid's proposed review guidelines, which two days ago was changed from "faq-proposed" to "faq" after little community response. These matters deserve much further community discussion, e.g. see my coment there on quid's answer in the linked proposal. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 14 at 14:37
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    $\begingroup$ @BillDubuque Per my understanding, quid was talking more about "misusing the skip feature" instead of "skipping in general". However, skipping review items won't kick them out from the queue (which is more preferable then choosing a wrong action) and they will just be passed to the next reviewer. $\endgroup$ – Andrew T. Apr 14 at 14:55
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    $\begingroup$ The problem is that we lack a definition of "misusing skip". Quid's proposal uses only vague terms like "cherry picking". Does using skip to refine filtering constitute "cherry picking"? See the discussion there for more. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Apr 14 at 15:07

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