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I've read How should I review First Posts on topics I am completely unfamiliar with?, but my question relates to the following line in the available guidance:

Edit to improve the answer's appearance, clarity, or accuracy

Is there a list of basics that should be considered when reviewing a question/answer? For example:

For questions:

  • Is the title clear?
  • Does it have relevant tags?
  • Is it on-topic?
  • Is the SPaG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) correct?

For answers:

  • Does it actually answer the question?
  • Does it reference any sources referred to?
  • Does it repeat information in another answer already posted?

I'd like to ensure that if I review any questions, that I'm consistent with the approach taken by experienced users.

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    The fact that you've given it this much thought indicates that you've given it more thought than about 95% of reviewers. – Valorum Feb 9 '17 at 13:58
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    Personally, the best advice I can offer to a newer user wanting to improve their editing skills is to use the edit history tab on questions to see what changes have been made by more experienced editors. There are 14 users who've made more than a thousand edits. Reviewing their recent edits should give you a very solid understanding of the sorts of changes that should be made. Often it's not a case of following set procedures but more a case of "doing what feels right" – Valorum Feb 9 '17 at 14:01
  • @Valorum Thanks, that's helpful. I'll spy on some edits for a while until I get an idea of who-does-what. In my head I'm usually thinking SPaG, Tag or Flag? – Longshanks Feb 9 '17 at 14:19
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Firstly, thank you for taking the time to post this! It's rare to see such a conscientious reviewer, and much appreciated. I hope you'll be more active in the review queues in the future!


There's a fairly small set of possible actions you can take on a First Post or Late Answer: you can upvote, downvote, (suggest an) edit, add a comment, flag, (vote to) close, (vote to) delete, or upvote a comment. Or of course just click No Action Needed or Skip.

Here's a rough checklist, off the top of my head, of what to consider when reviewing these posts:

  • Is the post good? Is it an interesting question, or a useful answer? If so, upvote.
  • Is it so bad that it shouldn't stay? Is it spam, abusive, or nonsense? Is it an off-topic question, a duplicate, or otherwise worthy of closure (excessively broad, unclear, or opinion-based)? Is it posted as an answer without attempting to answer the question, or incomprehensible? If so, flag. (I see you have less than 3k rep; higher-rep users might vote to close or delete in this case.)
  • Is it bad but not that bad? Is it a useless or poorly researched (but still on-topic) question, or an incorrect or poorly written answer (but still a comprehensible answer)? If so, downvote.
  • Can you improve it? Does it have any typos or spelling/grammar mistakes, or is it poorly formatted in some way that you know how to fix? If so, (suggest an) edit.
  • Do you have any feedback for the user? Some new users take well to any feedback, either using it to improve their post or just letting it make them feel at home. Even if the post is from a drive-by unregistered user who's unlikely ever to return, a little helpful commentary feedback can still be useful for anyone else reading it in the future. If you have anything useful to say, leave a comment. If someone else has said it already, you might consider upvoting their comment.

If you don't know the answers to some of the above queries (e.g. because the post is about a sci-fi or fantasy work you've never read/seen and know nothing about), then click Skip. This means your review count isn't incremented and the post stays in the queue to be reviewed by someone else, hopefully someone more knowledgeable about the topic.

If there's really nothing to be done on the post - it's neither good enough to be worth upvoting, nor bad enough to be worth downvoting or editing, nor interesting enough to be worth commenting on - you can click No Action Needed. But at this point I'll quote a moderator from another site, in a post from which I personally learned a lot of what I know about reviewing:

The one thing that causes new users to leave most often is a lack of human interaction. Don't let new users ask or answer into the void. No Action Needed is almost always flat-out wrong. You are the only one to review a user's first post; bear this in mind when reviewing.

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    +1 to mentioning the "skip" button. Too few users seem willing to admit that sometimes they simply aren't equipped to deal with a question. – Valorum Feb 10 '17 at 1:20
  • @Valorum Yep. Some people are more interested in getting Reviewer/Steward badges than actually reviewing well. Hence suggestions like this arising. – Rand al'Thor Feb 10 '17 at 1:21
  • Disappointingly, no-one mentioned Skippy the Jedi Droid, presumably for fear of looking like they're endorsing robo-reviewing :-). – Valorum Feb 10 '17 at 1:29
  • Thanks @Randal'Thor, that's all really useful. I've given reviewing a shot in the past, and I'll certainly try to be more active! – Longshanks Feb 11 '17 at 9:38

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