I often get a bit frustrated when I look at the history pages of First Posts and Late Answers and see that some prolific reviewers are clicking the No Action Needed button all the time or nearly all the time (you can only see this if you have >10k - otherwise the history page shows you only your own review history, I think). I check on some of the posts, and I see obvious formatting issues and typos and other things I think reviewers could reasonably be expected to pick up and deal with.

New users' posts are often in need of improvement because the SE format takes a bit of getting used to. It's quite rare that a first question, for example, is correctly formatted, includes all the relevant information, has an appropriate title and tags, and is actually on-topic. And if it ticks all those boxes, then it probably deserves an upvote! I feel there's nearly always something you can do in review of these queues...

Now, there are many conscientious reviewers who do much better than me at reviewing those queues. I find it a real slog, partly because I'm probably overly strict about allowing myself to click I'm Done and often {edit, comment} && skip because I'm clueless about so many topics and would rather give the post a chance to be seen by someone more knowledgeable. Those conscientious reviewers are probably the ones who read meta, so I'm probably preaching to the choir, but on the off-chance that less-experienced reviewers are passing, here are a few things I try to look for myself:



  • Is the formatting correct?
  • Is the English clear?
  • Is the title completely useless? (eg "New To Ubuntu, Got A Problem" or "E: Sub-process /usr/bin/dpkg returned an error code (1)" (new users are unlikely to realise that this error means, speaking as specifically and accurately as possible, that Something Went Wrong)) When choosing a title, I try to ask myself something like "What will help people find the solution they need here through a search engine?"
    • if it's about wireless, system installation or boot, hardware info may be useful in the title
    • if it's about APT, the non-generic part of the error output may make a good title
    • if the title mentions a specific package or command that has nothing to do with the actual problem whatsoever, remove it as misleading.
  • Are the tags correct and are all relevant tags used? (how often do you see a post saying (ahem) something like "I am using sed to edit my file, but instead of adding rainbows it is removing unicorns :..( please help!" that has the single tag ?)


  • Does the question have an answer? Click the link to the right to take a look at it if so (this also has the advantage of immediately identifying audits). If the question has a good answer that sheds light on the problem, then the chances are it's a useful question (answerable questions are usually useful!) and deserves an upvote.
  • Consider downvoting low quality questions, leaving comments if you can advise how to improve. Questions with no answers and a negative score are automatically removed after 30 days, so this helps keep the site clear of useless things.


  • Can the question be answered in its current state, within the scope and format of Ask Ubuntu?
  • Does the OP need to do something to make it better that you can't do for them by editing?
  • Does this question look familiar? It may be a duplicate. If you find an original, read the target post thoroughly to make sure it is really the same issue and has up-to-date answers. Also, when closing as duplicate, I often find the target question and its answers need editing. I feel it gives a better impression to the new OP if we are pointing them at a well-written and formatted post. If you are not sure the question is a duplicate, but it is clearly related, you can leave a comment suggesting the other post may be relevant instead of voting or flagging - this links the posts and may well lead someone to a solution.



  • Is the formatting correct?
  • Is the English clear?
  • Can you make any clarifying additions or add information from a link?
  • Can you correct any minor technical errors?


  • Are there other answers to the same question? Click the link... is the answer you're reviewing a copy of or thank you message to one of the other answers? If so, flag it. If not...
  • Can you verify the answer? If so, please upvote it!
  • Is the answer wrong? Unhelpfully generic? Downvote and comment...
  • Does the answer miss the point of the question? Flag as NAA.

PS: The Skip button is your friend. PPS: By no means is this an exhaustive list. I have tried to avoid writing the most obvious things. If you have any tips of your own, please consider adding an answer or comment :)

  • 2
    I also think this is good for ANY review, not just first posts and late answers.
    – fosslinux
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 1:15
  • 1
    @ubashu :) thanks for reading! The other queues don't have a no action button - you have to do something or skip, and skipping is ALWAYS fine
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 24, 2017 at 4:20
  • @Zanna -- often when going through review cue, I find that you or another has already edited, or commented on a post. Thus, no additional edit or comment is necessary, and i click no action needed.
    – ravery
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 5:46
  • 3
    @ravery sure, sometimes no action is needed :) but someone else having already done something doesn't necessarily mean the post has received all the attention it needs.
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 25, 2017 at 5:53

2 Answers 2


I COMPLETELY concur with @Zanna with the advice in the question. I have made the same categorical plea to specific users who have committed the same pattern of "reviewership" in the community where I moderate.

When I did, I am careful not to come across as scornful, but with an advisory tone. Of course, everyone is free to review however they feel is appropriate, but more times than not, people are not fully considering the ramifications of their actions -- even down to minuscule act of reviewing a post. It comes down to awareness.

Make no mistake, reviewing is one of many Butterfly Effect events in the Stack Exchange Network. Grooming the members of a community is not something that occurs in one fell swoop. No one goes from novice to master in an instant. The maturation of SE citizenship comes in successive waves of grooming by the whole community.

For me personally, my "a-ha" moment came once when another volunteer (non-moderator) at CodeReview noticed my review history and pointed me to First Post Review Queue — what is it? Why is it a bad idea to click “No Action Needed”?. Since reading that, my understanding of the purpose of reviewing and presenting positive feedback was forever recalibrated. I only wish someone would have pushed me to that page years earlier.

To the list of possible comments, I find that I often leave a comment to new users that do not have their badge like:

Welcome to AskUbuntu.  While you wait for feedback/support, please take our [tour].

Being familiar with comment shorthand links can be VERY helpful.

The takeaway: if you see something, say something. Grooming each other is how we form a better, stronger, more productive community. It takes time, but it is always worth it.


When I click no action needed...

When someone else has posted a comment and a reply should be forthcoming I click "No action needed" because the unknowable is unknowable as a former Pentagon chief once said.

That said I had to look back 8 pages in Zanna's history link and all the questions / answers were marked reviewed and none were marked "no action needed**. Sadly there were only three, two of them are deleted now and I remember voting that way. One is still intact and I think I voted "Looks OK".

So apparently I don't vote "no action needed* very often.

When I click skip...

Is when I know absolutely nothing about the Question or Answer even after googling the key words.

Lets face it anyone who claims to know everything about everything is delusional and there are many things in Hardware, Software, Programming, OS, IT, Systems Administration, Management Information Systems, Data Processing and particularly Statistics I don't know.

The Comment button is your friend...

In between "No action", "Recommend delete" and "Skip" lies your comment button. Click that and seek clarification.

As Eliah points out below if someone has already commented and you agree with it, click the up-vote flag beside the comment and then click "I'm Done" button.

  • 7
    Upvoting ("upticking") a comment is considered an action in review, so if you vote up a comment you agree with that requests information, you can click "I'm Done" (instead of "No Action Needed"). Of course, like any single action, it it will not always be right to stop there--but it definitely is, sometimes. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 3:26
  • @EliahKagan Thanks for pointing out up-voting comments on First Posts and Late Answers to click "I'm Done". I'm sure I've done that too but will be more diligent going forward. There is sure a lot to learn about Stack Exchange ecosystem. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 5:58
  • There's no "looks OK" in FP review...
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 6:31
  • That's why I prefaced it with "I think"... I voted "looks OK"... I tried to get into queue last night to confirm but they were all zeros for First Posts and Late Posts so I don't know what the options are. Either way the answer is still there and the status shows as "Reviewed" and not "No Action Needed" as many other are branded. BTW I noticed all yours were marked "Reviewed" too. I couldn't see though what option each reviewer picked. Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 10:51
  • well my "question" wasn't a personal attack on you haha
    – Zanna Mod
    Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 11:29
  • 1
    Personal attacks aren't in your DNA. ;) Commented Jul 31, 2017 at 12:20

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