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I just encountered this answer to the question Is it safe to download and burn a disc image on an infected PC? in the First Posts queue.  It was an audit, so it displayed as it were a new answer, with no votes or comments.  I thought it was questionable, so I posted a critical comment.  As soon as I did that, the seven comments that had already been posted over the past two weeks magically appeared, and I saw that somebody had already said the essence of what my comment said, so I deleted it.  Then I clicked on “No Action Needed,” and I got the dreaded “STOP! Look and Listen.” screen of death:

(image has been edited cosmetically to make it less wide)

  1. I question the choice of this answer as “high quality”.  At least four of the seven comments on it are critical.

  2. I posted a comment, withdrew it, and said “No Action Needed”.  I didn’t downvote it or flag it.  The audit failure message says, “… you should have considered leaving it as-is …”.  Well, that’s what I did!  Why did I get an audit failure for that?

For the record, my comment was

Your logic is circular.  If you admit the possibility that the malware is so sophisticated that it might recognize an ISO file for an operating system and infect the ISO, then you should also admit the possibility that the malware will have corrupted any checksum/hash software on the infected box to recognize the infected ISO file and report back the checksum of the original, untainted image.  If you mean “burn the CD on your machine but go to a friend’s machine to check the hash”, you should say so.

… which adds little to what Zoredache already said.


Update:

It happened again.  I got a First Posts audit (and again, I would debate the claim that this was a high quality post – it was just absurdly popular).  I posted a comment and then clicked on “No Action Necessary”, and I failed the audit.

In case I’m being misunderstood (which seems to happen a lot), let me emphasize: while I’m unhappy about the way the system takes highly popular posts and assumes that they must be high-quality, that’s not the thrust of my complaint.  I’m complaining about the fact that, if I post a comment and then click on “No Action Necessary”, I fail the audit, even though the message says, “you should have considered leaving [this post] as-is”.

Second update: Good news: If you leave a comment and then upvote, you pass the audit.


P.S. “STOP! Look and Listen.” ???  I don't hear anything.

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    I've been bitten by this as well. Of course, as a mod, I went back and closed it later :). Audits are random and pretty brainless, and hopefully this sort of thing is an outlier. – Journeyman Geek Oct 7 '14 at 0:09
  • OK, I accept the fact that the occasional bad post gets upvoted beyond its value, and so the system thinks it's "high-quality". But what about my point #2, where, given a "high quality" test audit, I posted a comment, deleted it, and said "No Action", and I failed the audit? That sounds like a software bug. – G-Man Says 'Reinstate Monica' Oct 7 '14 at 0:12
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    Hm, I have to say forcing you to not leave a comment on a "high quality" post is stupid too. There's always room for improvement. – Bob Oct 7 '14 at 0:23
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    The machine traps another human, some days you just have to be happy it doesn't have weapons installed :-) – Psycogeek Oct 7 '14 at 0:40
  • There is always the option of Skip instead of no action which indicates nothing should be done which wasn't the case. – Ramhound Oct 7 '14 at 11:01
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    @Ramhound: Yes, but – at the risk of being accused of “gaming the system” – by virtue of reading the answer and thinking about, I had concluded that it was a “high quality” audit. Why should I have been required to “Skip” it? The message says, "“… you should have considered leaving it as-is …” – so why wasn’t “No Action Needed” an acceptable response? – G-Man Says 'Reinstate Monica' Oct 7 '14 at 15:30
  • I have no idea. I judged the question based on the fact my comment is quoted in the screenshot, which indicated to me, I never got a response to some clarification I requested. – Ramhound Oct 7 '14 at 18:13
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I think there needs to be another type of review, one that reviews the posts chosen for audits. Seems like this type of situation happens often enough where people trying to review are getting failures on faulty logic. My experience was this https://superuser.com/review/first-posts/336393 I had tried to post a comment on the answer to ask the user to include references from the manufacture and other supporting documentation to improve the quality of the post but I should have left it alone because it was "high quality"

We already understand that we suffer from Too many upvotes for poor quality answers as well as other issues far too often. To leave the audits as purely random seems to invite more false indicators and could discourage users from participating in the community (I for one will be leaving the review queue alone for awhile). Seems like a simple, helpful change to add an audit review feature.

As to implementation, I would say it should happen much like the audits currently do. Randomly while someone is in whatever queue they would get a page saying "Help us improve our audit process! Does this post fit the criteria to be a good test for X?" Where "X" would state the desired outcome of the audit. Let the user say yea or nay and of course never give them what they vote on as their own audit.

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