There is a chat bot called Smoke Detector, active on several other SE sites, that automatically checks for potentially low-quality posts and writes chat messages to notify people about them. These messages can be posted to a dedicated chat room, as for Mathematics SE, or to the main site chat, as for English SE.

Would we like this active for our site? There is little cost to enabling it, but not much to gain either unless people are watching the corresponding chat room and acting on the messages.

If we do want it, should messages go into the main site chat or a separate, dedicated room?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I would not want it in the main chatroom, I'm neutral about a separate one. $\endgroup$
    – ACuriousMind Mod
    Mar 30, 2016 at 11:28
  • $\begingroup$ would like to see some investigation of how other sites try to handle low quality posts outside of the standard mechanism(s), and some idea of how Physics compares to others. ie, maybe its not any worse here than on other SEs, or possibly even currently less of a problem... and also question if anyone wants to spend a lot of time hunting for low-quality posts. ps "not hard" Stack Exchange Data Explorer queries could find these based on user age or rep but hear the data is only 1week current. anyway how does one find "low quality posts" other than with votes, which already can be found via search criteria? $\endgroup$
    – vzn
    May 17, 2016 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


As one of SmokeDetector developers, I'd like to clarify its scope: it's not targeting low quality posts in a broad sense, but rather spam and trolling: the kind of posts that can be flagged "spam" or "rude/abusive". Some low-quality posts do get caught by the filter, but this is just a side-effect.

Physics has very little spam compared to the site's size. (It seems that science sites are not very attractive to spammers). You can see the log of reports of Physics posts, which has only 20 reports in the last month. Only one spam answer in a month, several inane or offensive posts, and quite a few false positives. Not impressive, really.

There are frequently hit sites where paying extra attention to SmokeDetector reports is worth the effort: Stack Overflow, Ask Ubuntu, Personal Finance and Money, etc. Physics does not appear to be one of those.

  • 6
    $\begingroup$ Ah, that's good to know. I wasn't entirely clear on what exactly the bot does, and with this information it makes sense that we won't make much use of it. That being said, we do get a lot of moderately-low-quality posts that fit certain patterns and could be caught by automated filters. Perhaps we could make use of the technology behind SmokeDetector to catch these, just using different criteria. That's a separate issue, though. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Mar 30, 2016 at 12:28
  • $\begingroup$ could you alphabetically order the "site" drop menu? searching for a particular SE is quite time expensive otherwise. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    Apr 12, 2016 at 12:50

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