What is the SO Close Vote Reviewers Chat Room?

The SO Close Vote Reviewers Chat Room is a group of like-minded people who want to make a difference in the CV queue, reviewing, and clean-up efforts.

Table Of Contents

Quick Reference

General Expectations for Members

Stay nice and professional in chat:

  1. Keep it professional, keep a high standard.
  2. All discussions are public. Anything you say can and will be used against you on meta. The RO team has an offline/private lounge for sensitive subjects if necessary.
  3. In absence of all room owners, the members lead by example.
  4. De-escalate in case of disagreement.
  5. When chat flags are raised
    • Take them seriously.
    • Consider whether or not the flagged conversation should continue.
    • Be Nice; follow the Stack Exchange Code of Conduct, and be sensitive to others' feelings.

Keep the transcript clean:

  1. Keep oneboxed images out of our transcript. We wish to keep the room civil and mostly on topic, but that does not mean you can't have a little tasteful fun too by linking to an image. At any of the room owner's discretion, accidently one-boxed images may be moved to trash at anytime without warning, such decisions are final. Obviously, (linking to) offensive and NSFW images are grounds for being kicked and moderator intervention.
  2. Please refrain from using oneboxes/noisy formatting. When posting a URL, use link syntax to make the link flow with the text, like look at [this post](https://www.example.com/).
  3. No GIFs or other animated images in chat. They are more distracting than one-boxed messages.

Know what the room moderates:

  1. We moderate the content of posts on Stack Overflow (closure/edit/review/delete). This means that we DO NOT moderate:
    • User accounts (even if they are posting spam)
    • Other chat rooms
    • Meta Stack Overflow
    • Other Stack Exchange sites

Be responsible with moderation requests:

  1. Do not ask for up- or down-votes on any posts. While Shog9 has allowed organized voting in chat rooms, we do not want to be seen as a voting mob. Our goal requires a certain level of support from the community at large. As such, we don't want anything in the transcript that could be perceived as us treating people unfairly.
  2. Moderation requests (e.g. cv-pls, del-pls, etc.) should not be a habit for users.
    • cv-pls: Don't make it an instinct to fast-track every eligible post to the front of the closure system;
      cv-pls is for questions that:
      • are really bad (low quality magnets)
      • are a bad example used to justify other posts that are off-topic and/or low-quality
      • have recent activity on the question (Edits, VLQ/NAA answer)
      • don't have enough users in that tag to close the question in time
    • del-pls: Unless there's a good reason, it doesn't have to be now (i.e. unless there's a good reason, wait to post the del-pls until the post is actually eligible for deletion-votes).
      "If there's something really bad and it has to go, then get it gone - otherwise, don't sweat the small stuff, it'll end up gone eventually - and if no one's seeing it - who cares?" source
      del-pls is for posts that:
      • are really bad, but which don't quite make it to abusive/spam (use flags for those)
  3. Limit the number of requests you make, particularly cv-pls requests, to "reasonable" numbers and rates of posting. The exact limits are not specified.
    As to posting them too fast or too many in a row: People in the room start to notice that you're posting a lot of requests if it's more than about 5 in a row. It is suggested that you space out your requests over time.
    As to limiting the overall number that you post: Posting a cv-pls request is, basically, asking 4 other people to review and vote-to-close (VtC) the question. As such, the process of having cv-pls requests in SOCVR can't work unless people VtC on about 4 times as many cv-pls from other people than they post themselves, which means reviewing more than that number of questions, on average, as you won't necessarily VtC each question you review.
    As a result, this means that if you are routinely spending all 50 of your daily close-votes on questions which have been cv-plsed (your own and others), then, on average, you should not post more than 10 cv-pls requests per day (e.g. You VtC on your 10 cv-pls requests and 40 cv-pls requests from other people, consuming all 50 of your close-votes for the day). It's relatively rare that someone routinely uses all of their close-votes only on cv-pls requests. So, an average of 10 cv-pls requests per day is just the maximum which is possibly maintainable, if the user is putting the same number of close-votes into cv-pls requests as they are asking from other people by the cv-pls requests that they post.
    Any cv-pls requests you post which are for questions reported to the room by the various bots (e.g. FireAlarm & SmokeDetector) are not counted when considering the above limits. Please indicate in the request reason that the source was one of the bots (e.g. with something similar to "(FireAlarm)" or "(SD report)" added to the request reason). Evaluating such questions and determining if a `cv-pls is appropriate is considered a service that is beneficial to the room.
  4. Members are not required to close-vote any particular post you bring up. Furthermore, do not pressure anyone into doing so. cv-pls means "close-vote please", not "close-vote or I'll stab you." This applies to all types of requests.
  5. Avoid extended discussion about requests. We don't have to agree about a close/delete request. We're not a democracy. However, users posting requests that are blatantly wrong will be told so. The final verdict is on the RO team.
  6. Do not request action on posts or edits where you are involved or where you have a conflict of interest.
    • For questions and answers: You are "involved" in the question and all answers to the question if you are the author of the question or the author of any non-deleted, non-community-wiki answer on the question.
    • For requests about edits, you are involved if you are the author of the post or the author of the edit.
    • Being the author of a proposed duplicate-target question or an answer on the duplicate-target does not, by itself, make you "involved" in a question which you are requesting be closed as a duplicate (i.e. you can request duplicate-closure with a question you asked or answered as the duplicate-target, if that's your only involvement).
    • You may initiate discussions about posts/edits you are involved with, as long as those discussions are really seeking input and are not just disguised requests.
    • If you make a request and later desire to become involved in the post, you must @ ping at least one active RO to ask to have your request removed. Pinging the RO(s) for your request to be removed should happen before you become involved in the post (i.e. If you post a cv-pls request and later decide to answer the question, then, before you post your answer, you should @ ping at least one active RO requesting your cv-pls be removed).
    • New users and users new to SOCVR have considerably more latitude. They are still not permitted to make actual requests about posts/edits they are involved with, but everyone should interact with the user with the goal of providing education both about Stack Overflow and SOCVR, and providing an explanation for their question/answer/edit/etc., it's status, ways to improve it, etc.
    • SOCVR regulars
      • Don't jump in saying that such requests are not permitted.
      • Treat such messages from new users that appear to be requests about a post the new user is involved with as if the request was just asking for explanation, information, and/or suggestions for how to improve the user's question, answer, or edit.
    • ROs
      • Evaluate each instance on a case-by-case basis.
      • ROs may, or may not, move a message that is worded as an explicit or implied request out of the room, at their discretion. If the RO does move it, they should make an effort to explain why, maintain the context of the discussion (e.g. add a message saying the discussion is about question X, with a link to it), and try to focus the new user on discussion of their question/issue.
      • ROs should explain to the user that, in the future, actual requests for action on posts the user is involved with are not permitted, but that discussions about their posts are permitted. However, explaining this should be secondary to actually addressing the user's concerns, even if the only thing that can be done is to point them at meta, suggest flagging, and/or that they use the contact page to contact SE.
  7. Do not post feedback on success (or failure) of a request. (I.e., no "boom"ing.)
  8. Do not request to re-tag a post so you can use your dupe-hammer.
  9. Pinging moderators for anything that could be handled with a flag is not acceptable, nor is changing the topic of conversation with a moderator to be about a flaggable issue. It is fine to continue a discussion topic introduced by a moderator, even if you beginning that discussion would otherwise not be permitted.

Don't moderate users:

  1. Moderate the post, not the user. Keep the discussion on the merits of the post, not on behavior of the user.
  2. Targeting users for moderation requests is forbidden. Behavior will be considered user targeting at the discretion of the ROs.
    Basically, if you're moderating content and not users, this rule should not be an issue. The most common thing people do which runs contrary to this rule is to go through a user's profile pages looking for posts to moderate. You shouldn't do that, but if you do, then don't post requests in SOCVR about more than one post by the user.
    Keep in mind that we are concerned about both not actually targeting users, and not having the appearance of targeting users. Thus, what's considered acceptable is conservative.
    What observable behavior actually constitutes user targeting is left up to the discretion of the ROs. Possible user targeting is detected automatically (some types), by the ROs going through requests, through reports by other users, etc. An RO will investigate suspected user targeting. Under most conditions, this will normally include asking you what's going on.
    From time-to-time, a moderator may ask the room for assistance in a task that targets a user. When this is done at the request and direction of a moderator, it is likely to be acceptable. Moderators are the people specifically entrusted to deal with users. If they are asking for our help, then it's very likely we will help. While the ROs reserve the right to object, it's unlikely that a moderator will make an inappropriate request. The most common request, which we've done a few/several times, has been for us to search through a specific user's posts for plagiarism and flag those that we find. Don't go beyond what has been specifically requested.
    Some examples of behaviors that are considered targeting a user, which are thus forbidden [The examples below are not all inclusive.]:
    • Posting multiple successive moderation requests for questions/answers/edits by the same user. There are some very limited cases where more than one request about posts by the same user in a short time are acceptable (e.g. where the user has posted a duplicate of their own off-topic question).
    • Posting multiple moderation requests for questions which a specific user has answered.

Stay nice and professional when on a post:

  1. Work with the OP to get their post into shape. Most content has some value. Save it before you try to destroy it.
  2. A post is to be actively handled by only one member of the room. We don't need 4 members all leaving witty statements in the comments or in chat.
  3. If you leave a comment (or custom close reason) be prepared to interact with the OP. In all cases be nice and helpful.

Understand our relationship with Meta:

  1. All members are accountable for their actions if/when such accountability is requested on meta.
  2. Don't jump on the bandwagon, especially on meta. The room is scrutinized on meta, not the other way around.
  3. Tag burnination requests and tag cleanup requests must be backed by an MSO post that follows the tag burning process.

General:

  1. Don't do sneaky or manipulative actions to get around the rules.
    While you might get away with something once or twice, people in the room will notice and be upset/frustrated by it. Examples of such actions include:
    • Edit an old question that's not currently "active" to qualify it, under FAQ #11, as active, thus allowing you to make a cv-pls request for an old question.
    • Deleting your answer, making a cv-pls request for the question, and then undeleting your answer after the question is closed.

Expectations for Room Owners

  1. Is a role model for the kind of participation expected.
  2. Makes the final call in any dispute, unless the RO team decide otherwise.
  3. Pins relevant messages on the starboard
  4. Keeps the number of pinned items in the starboard to a minimum. It's OK to update and replace an existing pinned item if the information is still relevant.
  5. Plans, organizes, and runs periodic room meeting. Also collects and summarizes discussions for public posting.
  6. Schedules and starts "Close Vote Queue" events.
  7. Reels in conversation if it gets out of hand.
  8. Moves messages or conversations to /dev/null (the trash room) if necessary.
  9. Moves handled moderation requests to the SOCVR Request Graveyard.

Common Questions

What is the SO Close Vote Reviewers Chat Room?

The moderation efforts of the room has broadened, but we still aim to reduce the close vote queue length. However, the room now acts pro-actively by issuing “[cv-pls]” (type: [tag:cv-pls]) requests, reopen voting, tag cleanup, burnination efforts, editing, coaching/commenting, delete voting, undelete voting, and feeding the roomba.

What sort of behavior is expected?

We love this community. Our goal is to get rid of the low-quality and/or off-topic content so the good content can be found with greater ease. As room owners we are sensitive for the needs of the community on Stack Overflow and encourage our members to help us create a guidance toolkit that enables all of us to fulfill those needs.

No matter what is asked from us, we moderate the post and educate the user, the be nice policy is our bible.

Do not advertise or make a reference the room out of the blue. If it is relevant to the conversation at hand, fine, but on Stack Overflow, don't say anything unless someone directly asks. On MSO, you can give some details about the room if it could be relevant/useful in a discussion.

Make sure you are OK with exerting your power, but understand when it is necessary to do so to keep the peace.

We are open for any critic, feedback, and guidance received from the community as we are a part of it.

Room owners step in the moment we notice site users are targeted by any room member. This goes without warning.

What are the chat room rules?

To be an effective member of this room you'll need access to the review queues and you’ll need to have some experience on Stack Overflow. Ideally 3k reputation, but 1k will do. That assumes you know the core of the site and assumes you have enough experience in (self)moderation.

To stop us from turning into a chaotic voting ring, we have set up rules and guidelines for members to follow.

How and why do I need to format my cv-pls (and other requests)?

The cv-pls is a commonly used format across different chatrooms on Stack Overflow. You create a proper cv-pls as follows:

[tag:cv-pls] close reason https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345

The first bit creates a tag layout, the close reason is there so the other members know what you think the correct reason is and finally the complete URL so the members can click on it. If you find the typing, copying, and remembering a bit too much you can use the cv-pls userscript.

The format is a bit strict because the room owners run an archiver script to move closed question out of the transcript so they can be monitored for changes by Yam, the GraveRobber bot.

If you are using "duplicate" as a reason, it would be a good idea to include the primary tag of the post with the request.

[tag:cv-pls] [tag:asdf] duplicate https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345

Because closing as a duplicate requires more domain specific knowledge, informing other chat members of the primary tag helps them quickly figure out if they would be effective in reviewing the request.

Other -pls requests follow the same format:

[tag:reopen-pls] post has enough info now https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345
[tag:del-pls] has no value to stay on site https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345
[tag:delv-pls] <alternate format to del-pls>
[tag:undel-pls] Adds value to site https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345
[tag:review-pls] Removes plagiarism, has reject vote https://stackoverflow.com/review/suggested-edits/12345
[tag:spam] https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345
[tag:offensive] https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345
[tag:flag-pls] https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345
[tag:reflag-pls] https://stackoverflow.com/q/12345

What Should Request Reasons Contain?

It's very easy to allow frustration to leak into the reasons provided for requests. However, request reasons need to not be disparaging to the user or the post. Keep in mind that the author of the post may drop into SOCVR and we don't want to be explaining why they or their post was insulted behind their back.

For request reasons, we have the following guidelines:

What is Smoke Detector and how can I participate?

The Smoke Detector (aka Smokey, or SD) is a chat-bot operated by the Charcoal team and its purpose is to find spam, abusive and low-quality posts. In the SOCVR room only Stack Overflow posts are reported. You can find detailed info about Smokey and how you can interact with it here.

Because SOCVR does not moderate users, the SD commands !!/allspam and !!/reportuser are not permitted in SOCVR.

To request SD privileges from the SOCVR room ping any of the room owners. They will check your account for the following criteria:

We don't want to feed wrong information into Smokey or flag reported posts incorrectly. Spam flags have a lot of impact on user accounts.

To be clear, the Charcoal team operates from a different room to SOCVR, and has different criteria for granting privileges in that room. If your account doesn't fit the criteria SOCVR looks for, you may be able to get involved with SmokeDetector in that room.

You closed my question!

If a question is closed following a cv-pls that was posted in the room you can hop into the room for an explanation. Expect the following policy to be followed to avoid any unnecessary drama:

Whoever first answers (avoid crowding!):

  1. Inform the user about what happened.
  2. Explanation of a cv-pls.
  3. How people in the room acted.
  4. What it means to have a question closed.
  5. Explain that from now on, only the author of the cv-pls is going to discuss.

Author of the cv-pls:

  1. Inform the user about the reasons why this happened.
  2. Why the question is off-topic.
  3. If it can be improved and how.
  4. Relevant pointers (help center, meta posts, IDYB, etc.).

If the previous has not solved the issue, we will stop the discussion and redirect you to Meta to have our actions scrutinized by somewhat independent community members.

Can I request people to vote or flag on posts I find?

First of all, let us reiterate that you can request people to look at posts you bring up, but they are IN NO WAY REQUIRED to vote or flag as you suggest. Bringing posts to chat is just a way to increase exposure to a post, not to create a mindless voting mob.

Too make sure people don't abuse the system, requests for actions which you can not perform should be kept to a minimum.

Close Vote Requests are the most common request you'll find. Please follow the format a few sections above.

Reopen Votes Request are perfectly welcome. If you see something that you think should be reopened, we're more than happy to look at it. Note: most of the time reopen-voting requires domain specific knowledge, so there could be no one in the room that truly understand the subject matter enough to make a judgment call.

Delete Vote Requests are for when you find a post that needs to be absolutely removed from the site. Please use this only when absolutely necessary.

Very Low Quality (VLQ) or Not an Answer (NAA) flag requests are not allowed here. Multiple of these flags on a single post does not process it faster, so bringing it to the room only creates noise.

There is one exception to this rule: Requests to re-flag a post are allowed, but only if the previous flag was invalidated due to an edit.

Spam and Offensive flag requests are allowed; if enough of these flags accumulate, the post will be automatically deleted. Please be careful with these requests (by the time you say "spam", it's an accusation). If you are not 100% sure, please consult with the room and wait for at least 2 people to confirm your suspicions.

Discussions about whether or not borderline answers warrant flags are allowed, as long as you are actually interested in a discussion and you aren't trying to coerce users into flagging.

Comment flags for rude/abusive comments are OK but DO NOT one-box the comment in our transcript as that might get chat flags which sort of defeats the goal in the first place.

Review requests for the review queues are permitted. As with most requests, these should be used sparingly, usually only when it looks like the outcome you believe correct is unlikely without additional attention and you can't make it happen yourself. As with all requests, requests about something you're involved with (e.g. your own edits, your own question or answer, etc.) are not permitted.

Note that for suggested edits of posts, if you have full edit privileges (i.e. > 2k reputation), then you can always force the rejection of a suggested edit, even if you have already reviewed it, by forcing an edit of your own.

Who are the room owners?

When you become a Room Owner we believe you are that for life. Even when circumstances changes and Room Owners turn down their participation knob we still feel they are part of the team.

The active room owners are:

The inactive room owners are:

Why do we need room owners?

We really shouldn't need room owners, but because we do we need to establish some guidelines. Room owners are here to slow down the enthusiastic crowd and to make sure we focus on posts and their quality and not on users.

The CV chat room has quite a bit of power. In the extreme cases we can insta-close any question, and this gives us moderator-like powers with very little external oversight. We lead by example to prevent the room from becoming a mob.

How does the room work?

There are no obligations. We can't force you to do anything, and we don't want to either. The first purpose of the chat room is to have company as you go through the queue. Having a group beside you as you take on the queue really helps morale. We are also here to help with questions about what to do. Not sure what to do with a post? Post a link and we will take a look at it.

We are also using a tactic for the queue’s filtering. By having all members concentrate on a single tag at a time we have a higher chance of completing the review tasks that we process. The bot, Closey, will inform members of the tags to work on at the start of the event (or on demand with bot commands).

We don't want to become a close vote posse. Every user should handle the review based on their own opinion/knowledge, choosing leave open, close, edit or skip when appropriate. Concentrating attention on a question in the context of whether or not to close a question, severely biases attention toward closing the question. 1

Why did you invite me to the SOCVR Request Graveyard room?

The room owners run a script on a regular basis to cleanup the room transcript. Requests (e.g. cv-pls, del-pls, etc.), and many bot messages (e.g. SD reports and responses to those reports), are routinely moved to the SOCVR Request Graveyard (i.e. they're archived) when they are "complete" or have expired. In that process, when one of the requests you posted gets moved, you get invited to that room. We're sorry about that, but we will not talk there or meet you there. That room is meant to be only an archive of handled requests.

So, don't be alarmed or feel left out if the invite to the SOCVR Request Graveyard doesn't result in any response from us. It's a byproduct of our archiving those messages. We can't prevent the SE chat system from inviting you to the room, sorry.

What are all those bots doing there?

To make our lives easier, we have the support of six bots that either you can interact with or which make you aware of posts that might need our attention.

All bots that post in the room have to be cleared by the Room Owner team. Without their prior approval, bots will be kicked from the room as soon as they appear.

If you are interested in bots and/or bot development, you might want to visit SOBotics.

Smokey (aka Smoke Detector)
SmokeDetector is a headless chatbot that detects spam or offensive content, then posts links to it to chatrooms for review. It is created and maintained by the Charcoal team. In SOCVR, we only get reports for Stack Overflow.

Smokey is for tracking spam, and offensive content. It is not for stalking regular users who happen to exhibit behaviors that you disagree with. If you see some behavior that you disagree with, please do not blacklist the user with Smokey, instead use a custom moderator flag and explain what you think the problem is.

This room is about content, not users.

Closey (aka SOCVR-Chatbot) (currently inactive)
The SOCVR-Chatbot is designed to track the actions of the members, provide statistics, and perform repetitive tasks that otherwise would have to be done manually.

FireAlarm
This bot reports questions which are likely to be off-topic. If you feel a question reported by FireAlarm is worth of a cv-pls, then please post a completely separate cv-pls request. Those reported to SOCVR are a subset of all those identified by FireAlarm. FireAlarm reports more questions in SOBotics and FireAlarm Development.

Queen
Is a bot for reporting duplicates to Gold Hammers so these get closed effectively. Potential duplicates are reported into tag-specific rooms, not SOCVR. Her hive is in the SOCVFinder. Queen also reports offensive comments for quick deletion. Queen primarily reports to SOBotics, but does, occasionally, report offensive comments to SOCVR when additional rude/abusive flags are needed to delete the comment.

Yam (aka GraveRobber)
Yam checks [cv-pls]es to see if the question warrants reopening/rescinding the cv-pls due to an edit. It will post a report in SOCVR and ping the person who posted a cv-pls request when the question has been edited with changes beyond Yam's configured threshold.

Zephyr (currently inactive)
Zephyr is a headless chatbot that monitors our room for vote requests (cv-pls, spam, flag-pls, del-pls, etc.) from other users and then posts them in the LQPHQ.

How can I join in?

First, check out the chat room's schedule of events. It's updated by the room owners and shows the weekly meet-ups. There are two time periods to choose from (you can choose both if you are able to) so that people in all time zones can join.

If you can't wait until a weekly event, or want to help out more often, we do a smaller review session each day. Hop into chat between 17:00 and 22:00 UTC and help us fight the queue (times change by day and member availability).

What if I think you made a mistake?

We are all humans and have different backgrounds, but also solid reputations in a wide range of tags. If you feel we misjudged a gem, closed for the wrong reason, or blindly followed advice from our peers, feel free to ask for an explanation or to reopen. Based on your feedback, we'll learn, improve your question and help in getting it re-opened by casting re-open votes. This will improve our actions, so please provide feedback.

Can I invite users here?

It's encouraged to invite users to the chat room to discuss issues involving moderation activities that are coordinated or under discussion there.

Invitation etiquette

Where can I continue off-topic discussions?

When you end-up in an off-topic debate between some regulars that is no longer about the SOCVR or the moderation it entails or you have an urgency to post one-boxes do know that creating chatrooms is free. Anyone with 100 reputation can create them. Please use that option once the discussion is not going to end quickly or if the silliness would destroy the serious matters that take place at the SOCVR room.

If creating a room is too much effort to your liking you can use the The Ministry of Silly Hats that was a spin-off by some regulars for the earlier mentioned reasons. Although that room isn't moderated as strictly as SOCVR, we like to point you to Toward a philosophy of Chat and If you're gonna talk Politics, you must respect those who disagree to prevent any claims that we suggested that was a no rules chatroom.

Any resources to help?

Members of chat have made some user scripts to help make your life easier (or just more enjoyable).

We have a chat bot that you can play around with and help keep track of our activities. You can find the code base here. The bot's name is Closey; hop in the room and type @Closey help.

The following is the Stack Exchange Data Exporter query we use for determining which tags to focus on: Tags that can be cleared of votes.

You can see the day-to-day progress of the size of the close vote from this neat online graph. An explanation for the drops each day can be found on this MSO post.


1: Paragraph adapted from Rene's original chat room FAQ. Mentioned here for attribution purposes.