I sometimes get first-time posts in the review queue that I cannot really judge, since I have no knowledge of the universe whatsoever (e.g. "Does this question even make sense?" / "Does this answer even come close to addressing the question?").

Should I mark them "No action needed" if they seem to be non-spam and decently formatted, even though I have no way of checking if the text is complete nonsense or might not address the question (if the post is an answer)?
[To clarify: That seems to be the mode the moderators are supposed to operate under, but it might not be the way the review tool is intended.]

So, if in doubt I could always say "Skip" and hope that somebody with expertise on the subject gets the question in their queue. On the other hand, if the post seems to contain no spam/offence (or otherwise obviously inappropriate content) I might just as well approve of it and let the community decide on the post's quality via votes.

What is the consensus here? Where is the threshold for Approving/Skipping in such situations? I don't think there is a one-fits-all rule here, so a rough threshold seems to be the most sensible thing, right?

  • 1
    Personally I think being completely unfamiliar with a topic puts you in a better position to judge whether an answer actually addresses the question (assuming said question makes sense). Commented Mar 31, 2013 at 23:26
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    When in doubt, skip. When real undoubtedly crap, DV. Commented Apr 1, 2013 at 3:33

1 Answer 1


For context, here are the instructions currently provided for the First Posts queue:

No Action Needed when this post needs no action from you.

I'm Done is only available if you've done one of the following:

Vote up or down to rate the answer's helpfulness
Edit to improve the answer's appearance, clarity, or accuracy
Comment to leave constructive feedback for the author, or vote up existing comments
Flag to notify the moderators of serious problems
Delete answers that do not attempt to answer the question

Be sure to leave a comment if you can help the user out, or click Skip if you are not sure and want to go to the next item.

When you're not familiar with the subject, you can't reliably vote up. You could still downvote if something is obviously not an answer or is otherwise unhelpful. For example, an answer that looks correct but is condescending and sarcastic could be downvoted. On the other hand, editing the answer to improve the tone would likely be a better approach in that case.

I would say your main options for these posts are "vote down" if it's obviously bad, "edit" when you can improve the tone or grammar, and "delete" or "flag" when something is obviously junk, offensive, etc.

When in doubt, don't be afraid to click "skip" and move on to another post. Barring some of the more obscure universes, there are other folks on the site who can help out with reviewing the first posts you may not be able to accurately evaluate yourself.

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