On my History Review page there are approximately eight pages, each with 50 items, where the names of two moderators dominate the close review. In over 400 reviewed posts, I counted the names of only five reviewers who are not moderators.

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Only 20 of these 400 posts were reviewed by users who are not moderators. For example, the following is on page 6.

Screenshot page 6

The second most prolific mod whose name appears is Glorfindel

Screenshot page 5

This continues up to the present day, June 1, 2020. Obviously there is a drastic shortage of reviewers on ELL, and it is admirable that the two mods have undertaken the thankless task of clearing up the review queue.

They did it for the good of the community, the backlog has been dealt with great success but maybe it's time to step back and allow other users to review?

  • 2
    I think it's actually the users (like me) that have been slacking off in this case.
    – M.A.R.
    Jun 1, 2020 at 17:39
  • 2
    @M.A.R. I don't think so. The review queue is always empty when I drop by, so even if I wanted to contribute, I couldn't. Regular community members have a limited number of close votes which prevents us from dominating the queue, moderators do not.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 1, 2020 at 17:48
  • 1
    It's also a bit unsettling to look at some of the "leave open" reviews and find that they've attracted multiple close votes since they were booted out of the queue. We need to find a better balance here. It was a big adjustment for me to go from "active reviewer" to "moderator" because I couldn't do as much in the review queues. I filled that gap by editing, commenting and voting instead.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 1, 2020 at 17:59
  • @ColleenV Just a week ago I was complaining to snailplane and Glorfindel I was drowning in close reviews. I did over 140 in a day, but "I still don't see the end of the tunnel", I said.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jun 1, 2020 at 18:45
  • @ColleenV Somehow I was under the (erroneous) impression that only mod-close was binding. So I adopted a new review policy since elected that if I personally think a post should be closed but better left to the community to decide, I leave it open just so other reviewers will decide its fate. That came from a vague memory of me closing a question left open by Glorfindel. I can't find it in the history, so I must be tripping. Could have been a different queue. Thank you for pointing that out!
    – Eddie Kal
    Jun 1, 2020 at 19:02
  • @EddieKal Yeah, the "Leave Open" option clears all the close votes and boots it out of the queue when a moderator does it. Generally, you want to hold off on doing that as a mod unless it's something like a "bandwagon" vote situation (people closing too quickly because a question already has a bunch of votes) or the question was improved but it's still in danger of being closed. If you edit the question right after it's been closed, that will bump it into the reopen queue which will give it another chance with the community, but if you are sure it should be reopened, just reopen it.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 1, 2020 at 19:23
  • @ColleenV Okay I've found the post lurking in the recesses of my mind. It was not a question in the close review queue, but rather an answer in the first post and low quality queues. ell.stackexchange.com/review/low-quality-posts/105469 ell.stackexchange.com/review/first-posts/105466 Are moderator actions in those queues also binding? For instance if a mod says a LQ-flagged post "looks okay", does the post stay in the queue or get cleared?
    – Eddie Kal
    Jun 1, 2020 at 21:01
  • @EddieKal I'm not sure - I would assume it boots it out of the queue, but I rarely have picked "looks OK". Usually I skip instead of say "looks OK".
    – ColleenV
    Jun 1, 2020 at 21:17
  • @EddieKal If a moderator chooses looks okay, it's removed from the queue. (I know it because I am moderator on a Stack Exchange site.) Many moderator's actions are blinding. When a comment is flagged by a moderator (which doesn't choose Something else.), the comment is deleted. When a moderator flags a post as very low quality, the post isn't deleted, but the moderator can handle that flag, and the post will get an automatic down-vote.
    – apaderno
    Jun 2, 2020 at 9:14
  • @kiamlaluno aren't newly appointed moderators trained or given some form of guidance, a handbook, before they can moderate a site? Wasn't there something on Meta about training mods to handle especially sensitive and delicate issues, e.g. users' preferred pronouns?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 2, 2020 at 9:26
  • @Mari-LouA No, they aren't. There are places where moderators can ask, if they don't understand how something works.
    – apaderno
    Jun 2, 2020 at 9:40
  • @Mari-LouA There was some talk about more training before I resigned, although what I saw was mostly experienced moderators asking for diversity and inclusion training or conflict resolution stuff. SE may be working on putting the information that is scattered across the network into a more accessible form. That doesn't really help new mods know what they don't know though. But on the other hand, most mistakes a mod can make the sites can recover from just by discussing them, as long as we assume they were mistakes and not malicious.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 2, 2020 at 13:56
  • Given that the review queue has grown to more than 50 items again, I'm inclined to do some reviews. As a moderator, I try to focus on the clear cases and let the community decide about the 'gray area' ones.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jun 6, 2020 at 7:59
  • I'd like to know who is voting to close so many posts. I don't recall the close review queue on ELL being this busy. However, 50 reviews is not a worrysome issue IMO
    – Mari-Lou A
    Jun 6, 2020 at 8:33
  • @Mari-LouA mods can see that (even before the question is closed; when it's closed, it's visible to everyone, either in the banner or via the timeline). I checked six random questions from the close vote queue and the first close vote came from six different users.
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jun 7, 2020 at 9:33

1 Answer 1


Sure. Absolutely. Happy to oblige.

There was a sizable backup in close reviews roughly just a week ago and I thought "Well since no one is doing it I better take it on." Good to know people are looking at the queues!

I very specifically put this as a problem in a question during the moderator election and talked about how not a lot of people are doing the reviews. I thought getting my hands dirty might be one way of clearing it up. But maybe not. So it's yippee for me.

  • 3
    It's hard to find that balance between using your binding vote too much and not enough. Moderating is very much a "learn as you go" job.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 1, 2020 at 19:04
  • Also, you may not know, but there should be a special section in help center for you now that you're a moderator.
    – ColleenV
    Jun 2, 2020 at 13:58
  • 1
    Seems to me you are very ( or rather too much ) enthusiastic on your job since you were elected....
    – user17814
    Jun 3, 2020 at 22:09
  • 2
    @Kentaro No, actually it is the opposite. i don't review as much or as actively as I used to. It's just as a mod I don't have a daily limit as other people face, so I can do an unlimited number of reviews, which has been a joyful discovery and a source of drudgery at the same time. I am quite happy to do fewer reviews.
    – Eddie Kal
    Jun 4, 2020 at 7:18
  • @EddieKal Thank you. I am afraid to say now I have noticed I may be not understanding what is the problem on this topic. Please forget my message.
    – user17814
    Jun 4, 2020 at 14:52

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