I was in review doing the duty and saw a very unclear question so I took action as such:

  • Suggest the OP edit the question along with the other usual language I use in such cases because their question is unclear and so forth but then I select Add Comment button I suddenly see the This is an Audit box.

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Is this the expected behavior by design for this pop up to occur during the Review module process of leaving comments on such test questions?

Note: Not sure if I have the correct tags on this or not.

  • 3
    Given the number of people who complained about failing an audit by commenting (here and here), this is an improvement. I couldn't find an announcement by a developer/community manager, though.
    – Glorfindel
    Jun 10, 2017 at 11:58
  • 4
    If you've taken the time to comment, you're obviously not a robo-reviewer, and since audits are there to stop robo-reviewers, I don't see how this would be a problem. Jun 10, 2017 at 19:46
  • @McDonald's Yes, it's intended
    – Ramhound
    Jun 11, 2017 at 15:15
  • 6
    It's apparently by design, but it's a stupid design.
    – fixer1234
    Jun 12, 2017 at 5:24
  • If this message shows up when you type a comment that's too short, the botters have won. If not, this could be a tool to use against them (if a high quantity of reviews lead to comments, they may be a botter). Manual robo-reviewers may have an advantage but may just not bother and proceed to fail audits.
    – wizzwizz4
    Jun 18, 2017 at 15:38
  • @wizzwizz4 Ya, that's kind of where I was going with this question and what I was trying to bring to light I suppose. It seems like a flaw that could easily be exploited by some form of automation indeed to cheat the system. If you type up a comment and you see this result, then you know it's a "trick" test question. Good eye wizzwizz4 indeed a good eye!! I thought fixer1234 comment summed it up nicely as well per his wording too. Jun 18, 2017 at 16:41

1 Answer 1


This is intended. Posts used as known-bad audits frequently have a handful of comments from people explaining why the post is poor. Showing these would remove the necessity of thinking about the post on its own. So to make sure reviewers are actually considering the posts, some comments are hidden.

Now, an attentive and helpful reviewer like you would be likely to leave an explanatory comment to help the poster improve. Considering, though, that there might be hidden comments already saying what you planned to say and that the post has for some time already been handled appropriately, the system doesn't put your comment through.

  • Does this message show up with a too-short comment? If so, that could be disastrous.
    – wizzwizz4
    Jun 18, 2017 at 15:40
  • 1
    @wizzwizz4 There are already ways to detect audits automatically - just check the real post score. Someone even wrote a userscript to do that. Fortunately, bad reviewers can still be unmasked by looking at their review history. If they consistently make undeniably bad calls, they shouldn't be reviewing, whether or not they're intentionally cheating the system. Also, for the Suggested Edits queue (but not the others), SEDE can reveal concerning patterns.
    – Ben N
    Jun 18, 2017 at 17:00
  • The userscript could be worked around by enabling a special mode when an audit is entered causing the target question to only display the falsified audit data to the user. It would make all API requests for that API key slower when audit mode is enabled though, and probably have trillions of caveats that I don't have the experience to identify.
    – wizzwizz4
    Jun 18, 2017 at 17:41
  • @wizzwizz4: In theory, yes, something like that would be possible, although in the end there would always be some point where the illusion fails. (Can you say "anonymizing proxy"? I knew you could.) In practice, the SE review audit implementation doesn't even try. Jun 27, 2017 at 18:20

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