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Triage review is being tested at Stack Overflow for about three weeks now. I briefly "triaged" it myself and as far as I can tell, Programmers can benefit from such a review too.

Is there a plan to test it at Programmers?


For those interested to learn more, details are laid out in this post at MSO: Help us test question triage!

tl;dr: there's a new review queue. It'll be getting somewhere around 1-2 questions per minute. The only thing they have in common is that the system is unsure of what to do with them. Some are great, some are awful, some are in-between. We need you to help the system decide which category these questions belong in...

Behind the scenes, a "quality score" is calculated for each question based on an automated analysis of the content. Those that score well are sent immediately to the homepage; those that score poorly will now be sent to Triage. From there, they'll go to one of three places based on human input:

  1. The homepage, where they can be answered
  2. The close or moderator flag queue where they can be reviewed and eventually deleted
  3. A new "Help and Improvement" queue where they can be edited
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As explained in this answer to related question at MSE, there is no such plan.

More specifically, Triage review was not intended to be applicable network wide; it was designed based on assumptions that apply at Stack Overflow but not necessarily hold at other network sites.


For the sake of completeness, per what I additionally learned at MSE (1, 2), site needs to cover following points for Triage to make sense:

  1. Set the goals (for SO, goals are said to be "de-emphasize questions from folks who haven't yet learned... but don't immediately nuke them" and protect home page from "wall of crap")
  2. Enough content to keep scoring algorithm relevant - 100 troublesome questions a month won't do, nor probably 1000 would.
  3. Timely escape - we don't want automatic scoring nor user flags to hide question for hours solely because there's nobody around to review.
  4. It must be clear to many that the existing tools are insufficient: in particular, if the "home page as work area" strategy is working well for a given community, there's little need for anything more elaborate.

How does above match to what we've got at Programmers? Let's see...

Regarding point #1 about goals, first thing that comes to mind is that those stated for SO apply here.

Given meta discussions, we are interested in helping folks to learn (Where and how to improve questions?) - though I am not completely certain that existing tools are proven as insufficient as implied by point #4.

Another goal, about "wall of crap" at homepage, also looks relevant to us, as indicated by multiple recurring discussions about too many bad questions.

Point #2, at first sight, doesn't match. Being 100-200 times smaller than Stack Overflow, Programmers hardly can serve sufficiently reliable data feed into question scoring. One option worth considering to address this is to simply "borrow" Stack Overflow data feed.

This may work because site topics substantially overlap and, especially, because many troublesome questions over here appear to be posted by users who are simply trying to circumvent question block at Stack Overflow. Using same scoring data that is supposed to detect and block them at Stack Overflow would make sense, wouldn't it?

Point #3, about timely escape, also doesn't seem to match at first sight. Per my observations, it rather frequently happens that for several hours there's just not enough 3K/diamond regulars around to make decisions supposed to drive Triage. Not that I complain, but there is just no way to ensure that questions in Triage queue would be reviewed within reasonable timeframe.

Probably the only way to overcome this would be to automatically kick questions off this queue and let them go to homepage after some timeout (say, 1-2 hours) if these haven't got sufficient attention.

FWIW it is quite likely that "kick off by timeout" will be eventually implemented (if it is not there already) in Stack Overflow Triage. Thing is, given their scale, as soon as this queue gets into "mass production", there will be a solid chance that all reviewers press Skip on particular post, making it stuck in there, while as pointed in #3, "we don't want automatic scoring nor user flags to hide question for hours solely because there's nobody around to review".

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