I recently noticed that "reviewing" is a part of community tasks, but I am unsure what exactly this means and am looking for guidance (either as an answer, or a link to an old question, an FAQ page, or similar). In particular: 

(1) How does this operationally work? How do I review?

(2) What should be checked in a reviewed post before you signal (?) it is ok, or flag (?) it is not? (I have no edit privileges, so presumably would flag a post for further checks - is that right?)

(3) Specifically, given my low reputation score, I am apparently only cleared to review (a) First Posts, and (b) Late Answers. (a) seems clear enough; what exactly is (b)? What specifically is of concern in either (a) or (b)?

  • $\begingroup$ It's often useful to search meta.stackoverflow.com for questions about how the site works: Why are “Late Answers” reviewed? $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Jan 27, 2013 at 20:22
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul Natain; Thank you. This clarified only one small part of my question though. Even for "Late Answers", it didn't specify what exactly constitutes a "late answer", or summarize a list of what to look for (some ideas are mentioned)). As to "searching" the site, while I easily find the search page on my desktop, I could not from my phone (you could justly argue I should have waited until I'm home later). $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2013 at 20:26
  • $\begingroup$ That's true. I'd post a full answer, but I have to run now. If no one's answered by the time I'm back, I'll post an answer for all your questions. The main thing is that you just check that the post to be reviewed is a good question/answer and not spam, trolling, or other kinds of junk, and give upvotes/flags accordingly. $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Jan 27, 2013 at 20:31
  • $\begingroup$ It also strikes me as a good idea to have, what I ask about, in one place for future reference, should such a summary not yet exist. $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2013 at 20:32
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul Natain: Thank you very much. Appreciated $\endgroup$ Jan 27, 2013 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ I wasn't trying to berate you for not searching, but just giving a suggestion for future reference to you and others passing by. $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Jan 27, 2013 at 20:33
  • $\begingroup$ You don't have to worry about what exactly makes an answer a "late answer from a new user"; this is something SE machinery decides behind the scenes. And SE developers generally do not disclose the exact details of their heuristic algorithms that continually scan the content posted on the sites. For one thing, they are probably tweaked from time to time; for another, disclosure would aid spammers in circumventing the automated checks. $\endgroup$
    – user53153
    Jan 27, 2013 at 20:58
  • $\begingroup$ I just noticed that you misspelt my surname multiple times! Grrr... You'll pay for this, @grometomule!! shakes fist in mock indignation $\endgroup$
    – user856
    Jan 28, 2013 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ @Rahul Narain: Oh noes! (hides) $\endgroup$ Jan 28, 2013 at 15:54
  • $\begingroup$ @$\mathbb{R^n}: I like your new username, knowing what was the old. :) $\endgroup$ Jan 29, 2013 at 18:22

1 Answer 1


(1.) The posts that are selected for review are the ones that (in the view of the StackExchange developers) are relatively more likely to be of low quality, which includes anything from being poorly formatted to outright spam. What you do when reviewing is, take a look at the post and see if it looks like a useful post and is on-topic. Then do whatever you would do if you encountered the post during your normal browsing of the site, for example:

(2.) If it's a good question/answer, upvote it. If it's spam, trolling, or other inappropriate material, flag it for removal. If it's a duplicate/off-topic/etc. question, vote to close. If it's a new question or a comment posted as an answer, flag it as not an answer. If the content is good but the formatting needs improvement, edit it. If you think of something else to say, whether good or bad, leave a comment. I don't think it's that complicated. :) Of course, if the subject is outside your range of knowledge and you can't tell whether the post is good or bad, there's always the skip button.

The list of comment templates may come in handy. For more suggestions, refer to the Meta.StackOverflow thread "Can we agree on a review 'policy'?" (you should apply your discretion as there may be some differences between the communities, though most of the suggestions there seemed good to me when I just checked).

(3.) First posts are of course the first posts by new users. Late answers are answers recently posted by new users to old questions that have not had any activity for a long time. In either case, these are posted by new users who may not be familiar with how the StackExchange system works: they could be related questions posted as answers, comments that do not answer the question, or spam posts. Give them the same scrutiny you would give to posts otherwise, and consider leaving a comment to welcome the user and nudge them in the right direction if needed.


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