I just failed an audit of the "First Posts" queue, by downvoting this answer on "Alternative for “tail -f” that follows filename".

This answer is not correct (as observed by one commenter), and does not add anything to the existing answers (including the answer I wrote, and which I remember). Although it was posted before my answer, it was only a subsequent edit that added any explanation, otherwise I would have merely corrected it rather than posting a similar new answer.

Why shouldn't I have downvoted?

Additionally, the fail message has only the option "I understand". In this case, I don't understand (hence posting here), but there seems to be no option for that.

  • There is nothing wrong with that answer. When it was submitted there was no other answers. So your argument it does not add anything, that the existing answers don't already state, is irrelevant, because it actually did.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2016 at 15:02
  • There is something wrong with it: -F implies -f=name, not -f. Apr 5, 2016 at 15:04
  • The audit system isn't attempting to determine if there is a technical problem with the answer, its trying to determine if the statement is an answer or not, and from that perspective it is a valid answer. Besides the answer isn't even the user's first post.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2016 at 15:05
  • And it didn't exist (in that form) when I posted my answer, otherwise I'd have edited it rather than post something similar. So in audit, it looked like a newer answer adding nothing of value. :-( Apr 5, 2016 at 15:06
  • So I shouldn't be downvoting valid answers just because they're not very good? I thought that was the point of a down vote (as opposed to a vote to close)? Apr 5, 2016 at 15:07
  • I knew at least one existing better answer: I wrote it. Apr 5, 2016 at 15:10
  • Initially I thought there were no need in special explanation of my answer (the first sentence) because all who interested in it can simply read help file for tail to see the meaning of -F option. But critics insisted in additional explanation so I posted a bit generalized addition in order not to be back to this theme anymore. Of course, if I write wiki I'd be more precise. Apr 5, 2016 at 20:05
  • All who need complete explanation can read Toby's post. Finally, Toby got green mark and the first thankful comment under my post from the topic starter Hugh turned to be gone somehow. Now everyone who reads this question thinks it is Toby who answered it first, so I wonder why Toby is not satisfied with such a status quo. I'd better answer new 10 questions to help more people rather then perform infinite editions to this boring theme. Sorry for my bad English. Apr 5, 2016 at 20:05
  • @OlegBolden I declined the edit to your answer for precisely that reason, also left a comment, so you were aware of this question. I think it's rediculois somebody would down vote your answer. Don't apologize for bad granmar, either take the time to fix it, or don't but apologizing is a cop-out in my opinion. I suggest rolling the revision back on your answer, personally, I thought it was fine.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2016 at 22:15

2 Answers 2


Ramhound's answer is very thorough. I'd like to clarify his answer to "Why shouldn't I have downvoted?"

There is no reason to not downvote a technically incorrect answer. In my opinion, therefore, you did the right thing. Downvoting wrong information is good inside and outside review queues, even if it was posted before a similar, correct one. (Though, if you recognize a question in a review queue, it might be a good idea to use the link link on the right to get the full picture.)

Remember, the purpose of review audits is to stop "robo-reviewers", people who just click buttons randomly to get badges. The audits are randomly selected, and sometimes the system picks bad examples. One failed audit every once in a while won't hurt you. (If it makes you feel any better, even moderators get audits, and fail them occasionally when they're dubiously chosen.)

  • I should clarify my answer, is purely from the perspective, that it was an audit answer. So I attempted to provide some the reasons the system would have thought it was a valid answer. The fact it had technical inaccuracies, was outside of the purpose of the audit, answers like that are chosen to make sure people are paying attention.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2016 at 17:54

This answer is not correct (as observed by one person who commented).

So the author of the answer should be pinged so they can fix the answer.

Why shouldn't I have downvoted?

  1. 54 random people found the answer to be helpful.
  2. It was the only answer for a period of time.
  3. While I personally agree that it is incomplete, the author clearly wrote the answer, with the intention the reader knew something about the command itself.
  4. Only 4 random people didn't find it helpful and presumably only two of those people wrote a comment.
  5. This answer wasn't the user's first answer. The audit system isn't very intelligent, it picks bad (audit) candidates, to perform random audits. Its a known issue (and only partially on purpose) in that regard, but it was clearly an acceptable answer, if you performed a little analyse of the question and answers.

and does not add anything to the existing answers (including the answer I wrote, and which I remember).

Except it was submitted and hour and 30 minutes before any other answer to that question was submitted, so the argument it adds nothing of value, cannot be valid.

Although it was posted before my answer, it was only a subsequent edit that added any explanation, otherwise I would have merely corrected it rather than posting a similar new answer.

This does not explain the reason you downvoted the answer as it was currently written. As I explained in a comment, the audit system is attempting to verify you recognize if an answer is acceptable or not. it being technically inaccurate or incomplete is something the audit system cannot verify.

You failed the audit because it was deemed to an acceptable (helpful) answer by 54 other people.

  • As it turns out, the first version was posted before my answer (otherwise I would have corrected this one rather than post a new, similar answer). I'll edit my question to clarify. Apr 5, 2016 at 15:16
  • @TobySpeight - You reviewed the current revision though.
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2016 at 15:17
  • I can only accept one answer, and I see now that I've asked a slightly different question in the body than in the title ("what should I have done?" as opposed to "how does audit select 'good' questions"). As you have each answered one of those, I've arbitrarily given Ben the acceptance, as that answer was slightly more useful in guiding my future actions. No offence intended to you, and I have upvoted! Apr 5, 2016 at 17:39
  • @TobySpeight - Reputation on Meta does not serve any purpose, it can't be gained or lost, so acceptance of an answer isn't important (never is important to me)
    – Ramhound
    Apr 5, 2016 at 17:56

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