Occasionally, Stack Exchange receives suggested edits that replace a valid answer with spam. One particular answer on ELL has received this treatment fifty-two times (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52).

I pointed out this problem a while back, and J.R. locked the answer for one week. After he did so, the spam suggestions stopped for quite a while. Unfortunately, they started up again recently, targeting the very same answer! And this time, thanks to Robo-Reviewers™, the spambots finally succeeded and got an edit in.

Apparently we have a problem with users reviewing content without looking at it! One reviewer approved spam on this answer eight times (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8). This user has approved 192 edits and rejected 5; clearly they aren't paying attention and need a review ban.

I'd like to encourage all reviewers to read what they're reviewing. Don't just click "approve"!

  • 3
    +1 but you knew already I agreed :)
    – oerkelens
    Commented Sep 11, 2014 at 12:53
  • 1
    I had been thinking of writing a very similar meta post. Thanks! Now I don't have to.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 4:57
  • 1
    I would time out for a months the reviewers that approved that...
    – Braiam
    Commented Sep 19, 2014 at 14:55
  • I do not understand your post. Can you please explain to me how spam gets into these edits? Also, what do you mean by the Robo-Reviewers finally got an edit in? Is a spambot a person? I'm afraid I just don't understand this phenomenon. Not site-savvy, I guess. Do basically mean that the real people reviewers just don't actually read the posts?? Isn't there a difference between spam, spambots, and real reviewers??
    – Lambie
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 21:32

2 Answers 2


Reviewing is a voluntary effort. If you're going to review, please take it seriously. A careless review is worse than not reviewing at all.

Moderators should analyze the review statistics, particularly for the users involved in this incident. Such carelessness, as well as anomalies such as particularly speedy review processing times or approval/rejection rates that deviate significantly from the mean, should be grounds for temporary review bans.

  • 13
    I agree that review bans seem necessary. I don't think I'd like to see bans based on speed of review though or approval/rejection rates. Those might be grounds for review by a moderator for possible ban, but they should not automatically trigger a ban.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 4:55
  • 1
    Agreed, and recidivism should be grounds for a [quasi-]permanent review ban. Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 11:46

Moderators, please hand out review bans for flagrantly bad reviewing such as this. Everyone else, if you see it, please inform the mods.

I don't think we are at this point now, but if this becomes a significant issue in the future, we can discuss turning review audits on. I'm quite confident that the user who approved 8 spam edits would have gotten an automated time-out or three. But audits are also very obnoxious for honest reviewers, and they would appear to be quite frequent because this is still a relatively low traffic site.

  • I think we are at that point now with at least 2 reviewers who consistently approve flagrant spam changes to one of my answers. There's absolutely no integrity being displayed.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 12, 2014 at 23:18
  • Two bad reviewers approving spam on one answer does not justify turning on audits. Those are for when the problem is endemic and fixing the mistakes is eating up too much of everyone else's time. At this point, moderators can hand out a review ban or two and the matter is settled. Audits don't make bad reviewing go away; they cause short time outs for the most flagrant of abusers. At substantial costs to other reviewers. And they're trivial to bypass. They are an attempt at triage, not a magic bullet. Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 4:30
  • 12
    A ban has been issued. The rest of the community should remember that reviewing is a responsibility. If you're not going to review carefully, then don't bother reviewing at all. If you are unsure about what you are reviewing, use the Skip feature.
    – J.R. Mod
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 10:01
  • 2
    @EsotericScreenName- Maybe I misunderstood the meaning of review audits. I was thinking that they could be enabled on a per-user basis and not site-wide. I agree that we aren't ready for a site-wide action.
    – Jim
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 16:21

You must log in to answer this question.