Presently, questions from new users are shown and can be answered immediately, although they also go into a dedicated review queue (https://mathoverflow.net/review/first-posts).

Since a significant part of the blatantly off-topic questions on MO is from new users, one might consider displaying first questions from new users only once they have successfully passed the review queue. --

  • Do people think this would be a desirable change?

  • If yes, would it be feasible to do?

Edit: I think the answer by Francois G. Dorais and the comments by quid give valid reasons why using the review queue for such premoderation might be not such a good idea.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ What precisely should/does "successfully passed the review queue" mean? Also what should happen to the posts that do not pass? If this were so it would give significant weight to those reviewing. A more moderate suggestion that is sometimes floating around is to just hide closed and migrated q from frontpage. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:11
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: In the "First posts of new users" review queue, one can upvote the question or click "No action needed". Passing could mean that a certain number of people select one of these options, but details would need to be defined. Similarly, one would need to define what happens else, i.e. if not enough people do this, or if several people downvote or flag. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:26
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: I think hiding closed and migrated questions from the frontpage would make sense independent from this. -- One might even consider showing there only questions with some upvotes, to make the frontpage give some impression of what is on-topic on this site. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ Well, so then my opinion depends on the precise details... But in general I doubt this is a good idea. Also at the moment most anybody (100+ or some other marginal threshold) can review, so I would nto give much weight to whatever outcome there. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:42
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: The present threshold for accessing the review queues is 500 (cf. mathoverflow.net/help/privileges/access-review-queues). $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the correction. I read some (old) meta.SO post and originally it was different and did not double check. While 500 is perhaps not marginal, it is still not much, in particular in view of the fact that for this suggestion to make a difference the outcome of not passing ought to be worse than the question just getting closed. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Oct 11, 2013 at 21:52

1 Answer 1


Pre-moderation is a tempting idea but there are a few potential issues with it:

  1. It's very unusual for a site like MathOverflow to introduce a delay before posting. Such barriers are likely to decrease site usage across the board.

  2. It's not clear that pre-moderation is a sustainable model for a large volume site like MathOverflow. I am not aware of any comparable site that uses pre-moderation instead of post-moderation or simply no moderation.

  3. On a more technical level, the review queue only requires two votes to clear or block while the main site requires five votes to close. If the review queue is used this way, then five votes will be needed which will increase the strain on the review system and decrease throughput.

  4. There is also the issue of visibility and accountability. Since the review queue is hidden to low-reputation users and tucked away for all users, there would be essentially no accountability to such a system.

  • $\begingroup$ Good points. -- I have edited the question. $\endgroup$
    – Stefan Kohl Mod
    Oct 12, 2013 at 10:01

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