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I think what you're talking about is whether the reaction shifts left or right? If the volume decreases and more moles of gas are added to the reactants, then the reaction shifts right. If the volume decreases and more moles of gas are added to the products, then the reaction shifts left.
The quick way you're referring to has to do with changes in pressure. The basic rule is that when pressure increases (volume decreased), the reaction will want to shift to the side (reactant vs. product) with less total moles. When pressure decreases (volume increased), the reaction will shift to the side with more moles.
The "quick" way refers to looking at the moles of gas on each side of the equation, and when pressure changes, let's say increased, then the reaction will shift toward the side with fewer moles of gas because it "relieves" some of the pressure.
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