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I just failed an audit on this question: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/review/first-posts/60664.

This was submitted as a first post from a new user, but that's wrong. I remember this post and it was mostly definitely not from a new user. I searched for it as a duplicate and couldn't find it, on either Programmers or SO.

My recollection is that the question was down-voted or deleted. It was not really a very good question, so maybe it really was deleted.

So I was intending to flag it as a duplicate by someone apparently cheating the system, registering a new user so they could ask the same question again. Instead, I got the "you failed an audit" rap over the knuckles.

Surely this is always a risk if you set real questions as audits that could easily have been seen by the reviewer? I know it doesn't 'really' matter, but somehow it doesn't seem the right thing to do.


Some helpful answers and comments prompt me to make one small suggestion. Since it appears that failing an audit may not be all that rare even for experienced reviewers, perhaps the language could be reworded slightly. Less of the "gotcha" and perhaps more of the "we all miss one occasionally but don't make a habit of it." Just a thought.

  • That most certainly was a “new user”, as this is the first question by the asker. It is conceivable that this question might have been closed as “opinion based”, but it isn't really bad either. If I am unsure in a review and need more context, I just follow the link to the actual question. – amon Apr 26 '14 at 8:43
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    meta.stackexchange.com/questions/203370/… This aspect of review audits design is broken – gnat Apr 26 '14 at 10:52
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    @gnat: I'm impressed by your ability to find duplicates. Yup, that's pretty much the same situation. I have to confess I never suspected an audit question -- I don't think I'll make the same mistake again. – david.pfx Apr 26 '14 at 14:09
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    david.pfx, @gnat has very impressive duplicate-fu, especially when it comes to meta. I suspect part of that is that he has the #3 most edits on MSE (after Jeff and Peter) and has thus seen a good chunk of MSE. – user40980 Apr 28 '14 at 1:07
  • @MichaelT: I only wish I could do as well. Even when I'm certain I've seen the question before actually finding it is a real challenge. – david.pfx Apr 28 '14 at 3:42
  • Note that a 'new user' audit will inevitably be not an actual, now, new user - it must have been chosen from a previous 'new user' review at some point in the past. It was then their first post. – Joe May 1 '14 at 18:20
  • @joe: Yes, I got that. Maybe the problem was it was too recent and I still remembered having read it the first time, so I thought it was a cheat. – david.pfx May 1 '14 at 23:26
  • the system is fundamentally flawed. I failed an "audit" by posting a comment on something... – jwenting May 8 '14 at 18:15
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Do nothing.

Even if there weren't issues around certain aspects of the review system one failed audit isn't going to cause you a problem.

The audits are designed to catch so-called "robo-reviewers" who automatically click the button that's going to get them one step closer to the badges you can earn by reviewing. These people will fail multiple audits and will get banned (albeit temporarily) from the review queues. If you only fail the occasional audit it's not going to affect your ability to review at all.

I occasionally fail the close audits but that hasn't stopped me being able to review.

  • I'm not too worried, and I understand the purpose. It's a bit like dying in a game from a trap that wasn't supposed to be there. Gotcha! – david.pfx Apr 26 '14 at 14:13
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    Chris is 100% correct - it's perfectly normal to find yourself at odds with a decision the community made (thus becoming the action the review audit system expected you to take). One or two is nothing to worry about. Failing them consistently probably means you need sleep. – Tim Post Apr 29 '14 at 14:34

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