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As you may or may not know, Stack Exchange moderators have access to a Private Team SE site where staff and mods can discuss stuff and help each other (similar to Meta Stack Exchange, but with restricted access).

Today a discussion opened there inviting questions from mods for the CM (community manager) team. Here is the most important part of the post:

The CM/Mod Quarterly Meetup is your opportunity to ask questions that matter to you personally or folks from the communities you moderate. You can ask any question about the Stack Exchange network, even if the answer requires us (CMs) to contact our colleagues in other departments. We can't promise that we will answer every question, but we will do our best to bring the information that interests you.

If there is anything you would like to be raised, please post about it here before 16th November.

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Since I got access to the review queues in Ask Ubuntu, one thing which I noticed a lot is that our community has (or at least IMO has) less number of reviewers.

Because of the less number of reviewers, I noticed that many reviews got invalidated and this is worrisome.

I would like to know if Stack Exchange has an eye on the state of review queues of its communities (something like a dashboard which shows which community has lots of pending reviews, lots of invalidated reviews, less number of reviewers, etc.).

If there is such a dashboard, I would love to see it.

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    I can report from personal experience that Stack Exchange has an eye on the state of review queues of its communities. Stack Overflow requires only 3 close votes from reviewers to close a question. This may be due the large number of high reputation users at Stack Overflow which helps duplicate questions having a particular tag to be matched to their best duplicate questions.
    – karel
    Nov 7 '21 at 10:13
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    I wonder when the last time was that the Close votes review queue reached zero, or even <50?
    – Paul
    Nov 15 '21 at 0:37
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    @Paul I think that at the end of 2017, during Winter Bash, the Close Votes queue went into the teens
    – Zanna Mod
    Nov 16 '21 at 9:54
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    See meta.askubuntu.com/questions/19487/2020-a-year-in-moderation and similar annual posts
    – Zanna Mod
    Nov 16 '21 at 10:30
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AFAIK, many people in the Ask Ubuntu community have expressed frustration about the misuse of Community bot comments.

Please talk about this issue to the SE staff.

I know that SE staff would not be interested to completely remove this feature, but they can do some other things like:

  • Make the Community bot comment option available on a per-site basis (for example, like this Unpinning the accepted answer from the top of the list of answers).
  • Make the feature of being able to comment using Community bot limited to few reviewers (based on factors like reputation, tag badges, etc.). I don't think this is an ideal solution.
  • Give moderators the permission to stop a user from using the Community bot comment feature if they misuse it. I know that moderators can suspend users, but that might be overkill in some scenarios.
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    my view on this feature is that misuse isn't the problem - it's just a bad feature, and there's no way to use it that is good. I will complain about it :)
    – Zanna Mod
    Nov 13 '21 at 4:19
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I made two answers to the question on Teams:


I asked on Ask Ubuntu meta what people would like to be discussed in this diffuse meeting-like arrangement :)

The most popular answer concerned the lack of activity in review. There are few enough active reviewers on Ask Ubuntu that many posts do not get the attention they need. For example, we found that over 1000 First Post reviews were invalidated between the start of 2021 and the retiring of the queue. We also found that many Close Votes are aging away. The Suggested Edits queue used to move fast and has become quite congested in recent times, even though the number of edits being suggested has reduced over time. Right now our review queues don't look so bad, though.

The answer asked if CMs have a "dashboard" to help monitor review activity, and if such data could be shared. I mentioned the annual year in moderation posts which give an interesting summary of that kind of activity (I would love some graphs though), but I would be grateful for any suggestions for us to monitor review activity in a way that could be shared to encourage people to participate.

Here is the answer to the above:

We have a dashboard that we have been using since we kicked off the work on review queues. The dashboard lives in a Google Colab notebook and requires access to a private dataset. I believe that it is totally fine to share the final charts with the community. At the same time it is not an easy task from a technical perspective to give you access to the dashboard at any time because of the dataset.

I believe we can recreate some of the charts on Stack Exchange Data Explorer. The two primary the tables to look at are:

  • ReviewTasks represents posts in the review queues and their states.

  • ReviewTaskResults represents a review task that is created for a user when they visit a particular review queue and clicks “Submit”, “Skip” or any other action buttons.

Here is a question that describes the SE DB schema in more detail.

It is worth mentioning that the Stack Exchange Data Explorer does not have data about users who performed the reviews. It means that, for example, one cannot query the number of reviewers over time. The easiest way to do so is ping me (Nicolas) or post a question on Meta Ask Ubuntu and tag it “status-review”. We will query the data and share the result with you all. -Nic

So it looks like I need to write some queries and on, say, a monthly or quarterly basis post the results. Please someone remind me to do this if nothing has appeared by the end of the year - I am too busy to do it just at the moment.


Another answer to my Ask Ubuntu Meta post about this meeting was about the comments from review appearing to be posted by Community♦. I passionately hate this feature and much of the Ask Ubuntu community seems to feel the same way. I am planning to make a meta post asking people not to use it at all (as a personal request), but might there be any possibility of turning it off on a per site basis?

Here is the answer:

Thanks for the great question - I learned a lot in digging for the answers here.  First, I’m sorry that this interface element is causing you disruption. I hate when we break workflows or cause problems on sites because things don’t work as expected.

I’m afraid that I don’t have an answer for you yet, though I promise to dig into it and see if this is something that we could put behind a site setting or something. However, with that said, I think it’s important to point out that the only things that can be sent from the Community user are the default responses - anything custom is required to be sent non-anonymously (and attributed to the user’s account).

It would be helpful if you could let me know (feel free to email me or just comment here) whether you are looking for a feature to remove the ability to use the default comments at all or only to remove the ability to leave them without attribution.

Again, fascinating question. I don’t doubt that this is an issue that’s come up before, but as one of the newer members of the team, it’s always fun to dig into things. (And thanks, Catija, for helping me learn!) -Philippe

I emailed Philippe to clarify that while I dislike generic comments and don't have much hope of them being used appropriately at the moment, the major problem is that they can be posted as Community.

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