I just wanted to review first posts and got this one. A few days ago, I already came across that quesiton by normally browsing AskUbuntu.

I knew that the wording of the question was exactly the same of the one I came across a few days ago so I concluded it's either a verbatim duplicate or a test quesiton.

I googled for the original quesiton in a different tab and found it. Then, I tried to mark the question I was reviewing as a duplicate of that question. It didn't work because the question I pasted the URL was the same as the one I was reviewing. So it wasn't verbatim duplicate but a test.

The website should know that the reviewer knows what's going on when they paste the URL of the original quesiton when attempting to flag it as a duplicate. This is when – in my opinion – there should be a message stating that it's just a test.

I then went on to comment on that question stating that it's a verbatim copy of that other question (which I linked to), just to make sure it isn't a bug emerging when someone makes a verbatim copy of a quesiton – knowing that I could delete my comment if it was a test and my comment was therefore unnecessary because I still had the first question open in a different tab.

When posting that comment, I got this message:

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.

Apart from what I think should happen if the reviewer attempts to flag the question as a duplicate of the actual question, I think it's inappropriate to show this message when the reviewer tries to comment. Not only could I just have commented the question in a helpful way, but this particular question also was basically answered by a question on the Unix StackExchange site. I could've linked to that question in a comment as someone else on the actual question actually did. That helpful comment was not visible when reviewing, therefore the link could have been added by a reviewer, even if they didn't know about the original question on the same site but only about the question on the Unix StackExchange site.

So I think this behavior is inappropriate and wrong in at least 2 ways and should be changed.

  • 7
    Haha VTC an audit as a dupe of itself has happened to me more than once >_<
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Oct 27, 2016 at 20:08
  • 2
    You aren't alone. Don't let it bother you.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Nov 2, 2016 at 1:38
  • 1
    The only point of an audit is to make sure people are paying attention, in that respect, they do work. What I do to avoid this situation is, always open the original post and if you notice a difference, it was a audit :)
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 11:28
  • @MarkKirby What if someone actually copied a question or answer of a different person?
    – UTF-8
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 12:15
  • I am not sure I understand your question. In what context?
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 12:17
  • As I understood it, you just look whether the comments are the same / the number of upvotes is the same / OP's username is the same / whatever. If there is a derivation, you take from that that is a test click on "no action needed". But if what you got to review really was a copy of a quesiton/answer someone else posted earlier, you shouldn't press "no action needed" when reviewing the plagiarization.
    – UTF-8
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 12:21
  • 1
    You should flag the copy, do it on the original question to bypass the review and just skip the review, so you don't fail, then a mod can look at the copy and take action. That is about all you can do.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Nov 4, 2016 at 12:26

1 Answer 1


This is simply the way the system works. There's no need to take it personally. The important thing is to demonstrate that you are indeed paying attention. Typically, for me, this means opening the link to the question (or parent question of the answer) being reviewed in a new tab, and examining the whole to gain context. If it's a test it will be glaringly apparent to even the casual observer that something purporting to be possible spam or a poor quality answer will have a number of upvotes or an accepted mark. If you truly look at the entire Q&A in the review you will reduce the frequency of failed audits. Just keep in mind that no one is immune to audits and we've all failed our share. The fact that you are receiving tips in comments on how to deal with this issue is proof positive of this as no one ever learned anything without making a mistake along the way.

  • I can't agree with this because the system is in place as a protective mechanism, and yes, while people shouldn't take it personally, we should make attempts to have the best system in place to accurately track bad actions, and improve on our implementation of ensuring attentiveness. The immediate assumption that a Comment has a negative weight is being pointed out as imprecise, and I'm glad someone has already brought it up. In addition, in my situation, the comment which I feel added value to the answer, is now lost.
    – earthmeLon
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 21:14
  • 1
    @earthmeLon To the best of my knowledge the system has improved (at least since I started here) Feel free to write a better answer. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to. As a member you have the right/obligation to do so. IMHO Your opinion carries as much weight as any other members, express it here and the community will let you know whether they agree. As far as the lost comment is concerned, comments get deleted for numerous reasons. Many of us are glad this question was asked as you can tell by the number of votes.
    – Elder Geek
    Commented May 12, 2018 at 22:53

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