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The quick back story is that I answered a couple of bounty questions and suddenly found myself with enough points to participate in activities like first-post reviews. Now I want to contribute to this site beyond just the usual Q&A, and I like the way the reputation system works, but I feel that if I start diving in to the review queues too soon that it may be received poorly and damage my reputation (not just in the number next to my name).

Are these fears unfounded? Have I really earned the right to participate in these higher functions or is there something else that needs to be seen from my contributions to the site before I take on more responsibility? The last thing I want to do is ruin someone's experience because I should have waited longer to accrue more experience.

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    If you're uncertain about some action you want to take, you can also ask here in meta, or on chat (both general room and mod room are fine), to see what others think. And we always welcome more reviewers! – Bob Oct 31 '14 at 0:39
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    The review queues have a "Skip" button for those situations you don't feel you're eligible to judge for whatever reason. :) – Ƭᴇcʜιᴇ007 Nov 4 '14 at 14:49
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First of all, the reputation and privileges system, as it stands today, wasn't designed with the case in mind that someone would just rake in 500 point bounties and get the privileges by only answering a few questions. It is generally assumed that the privileges are earned "naturally" by applying yourself in the community.

That being said, you've earned your reputation with good answers and your wish to help out in the community is admirable.

I personally feel like you should exercise your privileges and get a feeling for the community and how you can improve it. Reviewing content (be it through review queues or by browsing the site) is a good way to learn about what makes a great post and what doesn't.
Just because you're reviewing a post, doesn't mean you have to take an action.

Everybody makes mistakes and, hopefully, we learn from those mistakes to improve ourselves. Even if you have a ton of experience and have spent years on the site, you'll still misjudge content or ruin someones day. I still prefer that to not getting involved at all.

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    I agree with this, if you feel comfortable participating, do it. This is run by the community, which everyone is part of - including you. If you make mistakes, hopefully someone that notices will point them out to you. If not, someone else will fix them. – Raystafarian Oct 31 '14 at 9:48
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As soon as you have the rep, you can certainly dive in! If you don't feel ready though, don't. Take some more time around the site then, read Meta, and the Help Center extensively! They are a wealth of information.

Trust me, starting the mod stuff too early will only piss people off. If you take your time, and dedicate some time to learning, then it does not get so difficult.

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The mere fact that you feel the need to be cautious about diving into the review queue and took the step of posting on meta about it tells me that you're probably well suited for reviewing and moderation activities. Congratulations, you passed the first test!

So yeah, you have the right idea. Take it slow at first: pay attention to feedback (e.g., reply comments, approved/declined flags, approved/declined edits), verse yourself in the flag reasons, and note how moderators and high-rep users contribute to the site through commenting and meta activity. You'll get it all pretty fast, I'm sure. Welcome to the site!

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