We're nowhere near the point of Stack Overflow with (at the time of this writing) 65.9k questions in the close queue.

I've noticed an uptick in the queue of people flagging questions. In a batch of 20, I often see a question that is not an audit that has no votes on it - this is from a flag. That's good. Increased participation is a good thing.

When it comes to the close review queue, I often see the same people doing reviews. At times, there has been a perception that only certain people close questions. Looking at the close votes of questions I have occasionally seen people who never show up in the recent reviews list.

How can we engage people to be more active in the review queues?

We can't force people to use it, and it wouldn't be the right answer even if we could. Is there a nice way to say "Hey, look, there's something here" that they were unaware of before? Or is it just that they know of it, and don't want to participate in that part of the site? Inquiring minds want to know.

Another point to consider, is that being familiar with the review page itself (even if not doing review queues) is the place where the 10k tools are located. Delete votes, site wide close and reopen votes and even the feedback from the anon and low rep reviews (see what other people are coming to the site for, what they are finding helpful or not and be able to change things (vote on answers or edit questions so that they do become more helpful)).

Considering delete votes, it takes a question to be closed for 2 days before a delete vote can be cast. This is often enough to have it fall off of the front page and so people may not be aware of this additional tool available - they'd never see the 'delete' link on the question.

"only certain people close questions" -- I think it would be more accurate to phrase this as "only certain people close questions or vote to leave open" – gnat Aug 1 '13 at 19:56
@gnat while those who look at the reviews see that, the people who complain about questions being closed tend not to see who voted to leave other questions open. They only see the "closed by". The "left open by" isn't displayed anywhere (and when it is, it is only on a question that was previously closed and one pokes into the edit history). Thus, the perception that only certain people close questions. – user40980 Aug 1 '13 at 19:59
okay that makes sense – gnat Aug 1 '13 at 20:03
We can't force people to use it, and it wouldn't be the right answer even if we could. I'm not convinced. If every time one entered review, >3k users had to weigh in next time they tried to retrieve any page before the site served them anything. Over 3k the addiction has set in, they would do their review if it was between them and finding questions to answer. I give up we can't do that, I do not agree that it wouldn't be the right answer. – Jimmy Hoffa Aug 1 '13 at 21:29
Alternatively, some of the people that would do those things don't have the rep. It takes a good while to build up the rep necessary, and even knowledge sites like these have a very transient population. – JohnP Aug 1 '13 at 21:35
@JohnP Indeed. I am very pleased to see an increase in flagging questions which I hope is indicative of another, up and coming group of people who actively engage with the quality and maintenance of the site. It does take a bit to get that 3k rep, but when they get there, I look forward to seeing their names in the recent reviews. – user40980 Aug 1 '13 at 21:41
@gnat as to a specific invocation of the "only certain people close questions" - from Why don't we just set up a robot to automagically add 5 close votes to every question over the course of, say, 5 hours? - "The same 5 people are doing all the closing." – user40980 Aug 2 '13 at 0:58

This might be a self-balancing process.

When there are little-to-none items in the queue, there is a little interest among most of the users eligible for reviewing. And this is unlikely to change; if one checks the queue occasionally and there's always only 0, 1, 2 items in there, there is little motivation not just to work there but even to frequently check it.

When queue is small, one can expect only small, dedicated group of users doing reviews regularly. From this perspective, perception of most closures done by that small group is unavoidable I'm afraid.

Similarly, when queue grows in size, it begins attracting attention from more reviewers.

One day, typical infrequent visitor decides to take a look at review page - just to check there's 0 as usual, finds 10 (20, 30...) items in the queue and, well, reviews these. Next day, same guy will quite likely get there again, now knowing there might be a queue waiting for them, finds that it's so indeed, reviews and... voila, infrequent visitor has turned into regular reviewer (possibly until queue drops back small).

Note above dynamics might in turn change if queue would grow to daunting size, but that would be a different story.

Balancing described above is mostly based on my own experience of working with SO Late Answers queue.

In December 2012, there were few thousands items in this queue and I was visiting it daily, submitting 50 flags a day (review limit was 40 if memory serves, but I flagged some posts out of the queue, using Skip option to avoid bumping into the limit).

In January 2013, this queue drained to zero and my usage of it has dropped, too. Nowadays, I take a look at it once in a week or maybe even once in a month.

If it ever gets back to larger size, I will be happy to get back to working on it again (after all, I still have some 300+ reviews to do to get Steward badge there:). I think that's about how it is supposed to be balanced.


Easy: it's harder on stackoverflow to get 3k rep and there are more "closeable" questions, less people who can close and more questions to close leads to a queue.

harder is relative, I wouldn't call FGITW harder than what you have to provide at programmers to get rep – Jimmy Hoffa Aug 2 '13 at 16:31

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