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This is a semi-serious question but I would like to ask for your opinions and/or have a discussion on this. Sometimes when I go through the review queue (closing, reopening, low quality) I am wondering whether my current mood has made me looking at these queues. That is, I do not have a fixed schedule, rather I go through the queues when "I feel like it". This might mean that I only do it when something happened which I deem unfortunate, like a not so thoughtful post got upvoted or someone is copying from an earlier post without attribution, or something of that sort. Being marmot or human, this might imply that I am more likely to close a question than when I am in a neutral mood. Of course, if that's true (which I cannot objectively judge) this might potentially be a reason for concern.

Questions:

  1. Did you ever have similar thoughts/concerns?
  2. Are there a study or data on this?
  3. If that's a potential or known problem, is there a way to avoid it?
  • 4
    (1) Yes, but very rarely: some weeks ago non-MWE questions flooded TeX.SE, that is when my mood affects my downvotes and close votes quite considerably. It is like a teacher checking students' essays - if the teacher is angry, the average point is obviously lower than usual. – The old JouleV Mar 26 at 4:48
  • @JouleV Yes. What is somewhat different in the teacher's case is that they do have a schedule so arguably their mood fluctuations may average out. And they grade the full class, and not just some random person that had submitted their question at the "wrong" point in time. – marmot Mar 26 at 4:53
  • 2
    (1) No, I look at the lists when I have time but not enough to answer. (2) I don't think there are, as far as I know. (3) I don't think the problem, if it exists, is somehow avoidable. – CarLaTeX Mar 26 at 6:02
  • I use the queue(s) when I can't find any interesting questions to answer, i.e., when I'm bored on the site. However I think that the issue is more general: I might cast more close votes when browsing the question list (so, not involving the queue at all) in case I'm annoyed by something (which could be something or somebody on the site, or something else unrelated to the site). However, as long as you still try to be fair in your judgement of the question I don't think it is necessarily a problem, instead it is just an advantage that more reviewing gets done. – Marijn Mar 26 at 13:35
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    I almost never find anything in any of the queues, I'm on site quite a bit but I rarely see a number indicating a nonempty queue, and if there is one and I click through to the queue it usually says its empty. So I have almost never used it at all. – David Carlisle Mar 31 at 9:52
  • I try to never got through review queue when I'm angry in any kind. This helps a lot. But I must admit, that I've almost stopped closing a questions etc. The feeling of „whatever I do, I do it wrong and provoke anger or even hostility” prevents me from doing more. – Schweinebacke Apr 5 at 12:52
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  1. Did you ever have similar thoughts/concerns?

No. The use of the review queue should not guide you on things that require attention. If you see something that needs attention and it's not in the review queue, that should not deter you from doing something. You can use the review queue as a gauge, but if something needs addressing, manage it.

Users are often scared that making a decision that could affect a post negatively (this includes downvoting and voting to close or as low quality) will be frowned upon. As such, they generally refrain from such actions until someone else takes that first leap. The network is set up so that incorrect decisions are easily corrected, so don't fret about showing your opinion through voting.

  1. Are there a study or data on this?

There's no way to report one's mood while performing reviews, so there's no data available.

  1. If that's a potential or known problem, is there a way to avoid it?

The problem isn't really attributable to people's mood, but more that actions taken on posts in the review queues are directly related to badges and therefore people may misuse them in an attempt to gain some reward. My suggestion would be to identify what you perceive as an issue, check whether it is in the review queue and manage it there if it is, otherwise deal with it on the spot. Almost certainly (hopefully?) the reason for the post being in the review queue in the first place is because someone took that conscious approach to addressing some issue related to the post.


If all else fails, and you're not sure what to do, you can consult the chat room to get some community consensus, or flag it for moderator attention. The latter suggestion is really not necessary as moderators only need to step in if all else fails.

Review queues in general are still a good measure of what requires action on a site. It's often something you can work through on a slow day.

  • -1 because there I cannot see any attempt to understand the question. – marmot Apr 9 at 16:16
  • @marmot: I don't understand your comment... Your question is extremely fuzzy (dealing with emotions during reviews). There will be little to no factual evidence to support any of your notions, so it depends on the person. Answers will include "Of course, you're predisposed to closing a question when reviewing the close-vote review queue" or "No, think objectively and don't let mood affect you." What else are you looking for? The question seems to beg for an emotional answer, which seems like it may as well have been solved in a chat. – Werner Apr 10 at 0:50
  • it does not beg for an emotional answer. It asks for an answer in an era in which there is a discussion of implicit bias and the like. The question is whether or not we would close differently if we made sure that we calm down before we go through the list. And yes, there is no official data, hence the question. – marmot Apr 10 at 0:55
  • @marmot: "An era of implicit bias"? What does that mean? You never mention "[making] sure [you] calm down before [reviewing]." Either way, answers to your question will include "Yes," "No" and "Maybe," all of which is very subjective. I'd be interested to see if you get one for each of these, and how they're voted on. – Werner Apr 10 at 1:29
  • Please do not move my words around such that they do not make sense. I wrote "in an era in which there is a discussion of implicit bias and the like". (Seems like you are begging for an emotional reaction.... ;-) – marmot Apr 10 at 1:32
  • @marmot: Are we "in an era in which there is a discussion of implicit bias and the like"? I didn't know about that... What bias is this towards? And what does "and the like" refer to? Please elaborate. – Werner Apr 10 at 1:39

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