This post is about one of my guilty secrets. Yes, my guilty secrets involve the intricacies of boring moderation. I am weird like that.

There are times when I know (or highly suspect), by the letter of current site policies/practices, I probably should vote in favor of something: vote to Leave Open/Reopen a post, vote to Approve an edit, vote a LQP as Looks OK. However, being a human, I also have several deeply rooted pet peeves. Some posts, patterns of behavior, etc. I just don't like on a personal level. When these two things come in conflict, I typically abstain from the review by using the Skip option. If such a situation comes up outside of the queue (e.g. a user edits their question to be on-topic but fails to send it for review), I might not nominate for Reopening despite knowing I should. Note that this is in cases for which I'm not unsure of the "correct" action, I'm simply unwilling to carry it out.

Now, as a small site, we have few enough active reviewers as-is, and I know the mods can be reluctant to enforce their binding-vote powers. I am aware that by not allowing my vote to contribute to the review process, or by not kick-starting the review process by throwing my first vote in, actions on posts will likely be delayed, in some cases significantly so. In the case of failing to start a review process, the proper actions might not be taken at all, if none of the other actively moderating community members finds the post.

I've been wrestling with this for some time. Am I hurting the site by Skipping reviews on posts I dislike? Am I obligated to vote according to what is "right" by site policy? Am I way overthinking this? So I'm putting it up to meta (and not chat: I suspect answers might need to be longer than what chat is made for, this could get lost in the upwards scroll, and not everyone uses chat regularly).

I abstain from reviewing in favor of things I personally dislike; is this a problem?


1 Answer 1


No, you're fine.

Reviewing is a privilege, not a responsibility. If you feel unable or unwilling to review a post, for whatever reason, you're perfectly free to skip it, and nobody will judge you for that.

If you were reviewing against site policy, e.g. voting to reopen things that are off-topic by meta consensus, that could be a problem. (Even that wouldn't be a major problem, assuming you weren't gathering a posse to do the same. One non-mod voter can't affect very much by themselves.) Just abstaining from reviewing when you don't like what you're "supposed" to do isn't a problem at all.

Again, you're just one user. If you fail to VTRO something that should be reopened, for example, that shouldn't be a problem, because someone else will do so instead. If we have so few people voting that your vote (yours specifically) is required to get anything done, that's a different problem. If all the active voters disagree with a policy and everyone abstains like you, that might indicate that we need to re-discuss the policy. If neither of those is the case, then feel free to abstain whenever you want.

  • Thanks, and sorry for overthinking this :)
    – bobble
    Commented Jan 31, 2022 at 4:16

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