Since graduation, I have observed a mismatch between the total posts awaiting review indicator in the upper right corner and the actual number of posts I see in the review queue when I click on the review button (or that indicator).

screenshot of chemistry.stackexchange.com showing a mismatch between the total posts awaiting review indicator in the upper right (4) and the actual number of posts in the review queue (0)

For example, this morning the indicator showed 7 posts needing review, but there were only 2 posts in the review queue. I reviewed both posts, and now the indicator shows that there are 4 posts awaiting review despite there being 0 posts in my queue. Sometimes I will review four or five posts, and the indicator will only decrease its value by 1.

Is this a bug? Is this behavior the way it is supposed to behave? Is it showing me the total number of posts that need reviewed even though they all will not be allocated to me? If this last case is true, the indicator is misleading from the user experience standpoint. It is up there in bright orange telling me that there is work I can do for the site, which I want to do to.

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    $\begingroup$ I noticed this before graduation already. I am not entirely certain what this counter actually represents and how it works. I just started to ignore it. My theory is, that it shows the total number of posts in all queues, that need to be reviewed. If you happen to already vote on them, then you won't see them in the review page. I have to admit I was far too lazy to care about that, not even looking through the faqs to find answers, sorry. But I second this bug report. I demand answers! :D $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン Admittedly, ignoring is exactly what I did too ;-) $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 13:40
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    $\begingroup$ I think the problem only exists for the overachievers 10k+, as it is working fine for me since graduation. $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン :-P It simply means: Don't waste time on answering further questions. The future is reviewing and editing! $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 14:24
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    $\begingroup$ @Klaus ...so....meta... $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 14:31
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    $\begingroup$ @KlausWarzecha Edit thiis! $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 14:33
  • $\begingroup$ I believe it shows the total number of posts; but the logic for "not ones which you have already reviewed" must have gotten borked in the graduation. Or caching. $\endgroup$ May 21 '15 at 16:13

In a nutshell:

It counts every review item that’s available, even if they’re not available to you.

This is for performance reasons; SE developers found it would be too expensive to calculate the count for every user, considering that the top bar is shown on every page. They calculate the correct count only when you actually open the review page.

So it's quite possible to see some nonzero number in the top bar, and click it to discover there is nothing for you to review. Understandably, this annoys some users and is a perennial topic on meta-sites around the network.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm a fan of Fix It or Lose It. If it does not add value for the user, then the user should not see it. I would rather just an icon that shows up without a number indicating there are items to be reviewed. $\endgroup$
    – Ben Norris
    May 21 '15 at 21:40
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin What kind of review items would be "available", but not "available" for a 10k+ user to see? $\endgroup$
    – ron
    May 25 '15 at 22:25
  • $\begingroup$ This answer is correct - it's as accurate as reasonable performance allows (remember we show this on every page - and on some sites must calculate it for millions of users otherwise). $\endgroup$ May 26 '15 at 19:37

This feature is poorly documented on meta, so rather than waiting 6 to 8 weeks for documentation to arrive here is the full documentation:

Users who have the access review queue priviledge but not the editing priviledge

(A.k.a. $x < 2~\mathrm{krep}$; $x$ being the user’s reputation)

These users do not see that orange box.

Users with the editing priviledge but without the mod tools priviledge

(A.k.a. $2~\mathrm{krep} \le x < 10~\mathrm{krep}$)

If these users see the orange box, it means that there are suggested edits waiting for approval that they can also approve. While these users have access to the first post/late answer queues and may have access to the close/reopen queues, none of these queues (and neither low quality) affect the orange boxed number in any way. The corresponding tooltip also says:

$n$ suggested edits pending approval

Review queues orange number for < 10 krep users

Users with the mod tools priviledge

(A.k.a. $x \ge 10~\mathrm{krep}$)

These users see a total count of open reviews across all the review queues if that number is larger than three. This number is

  • heavily cached i.e. not always accurate
  • the same for all, i.e. does not distinguish between reviews you already performed and the others.

The tooltip this time says:

$n$ total posts awaiting review

Further information for this behaviour can be found in zaq’s answer It is consistent with the image below you posted.

Review queues orange number for > 10 krep users

In my experience, this will rarely if ever show a number smaller than 3.


This behavior may have changed in the interim, but as of 2 Feb 2017, the orange-boxed number in the header bar indicates the number of suggested edits awaiting review, not the total number of posts pending review of any kind, at least for me as a user with ~8k rep:

header bar with suggested edits icon

If the tooltip for this indicator still says # total posts awaiting review (I do not show this indicator right now), then I think we should make a to get it changed.

Per comment discussion, it's not so simple as one-orange-box-icon-fits-all. But, at least in my 8k-rep case, the tooltip matches the behavior!

As an additional twist, for me as a ~8k rep user, the number in the orange box includes both suggested post edits and suggested tag wiki edits, even though I'm far, far, far away from the 20k privilege of reviewing/approving the latter. I just submitted a tag wiki suggested edit, and as you can see, my status bar shows one suggested edit pending approval, but my Suggested Edits queue is empty, empty, empty!

toolbar image

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    $\begingroup$ No no, it has not changed. I thought you got to 10k in chat. Since you haven't, you don't see it. Less than 10k sees the number of suggested edits, more than 10k sees the number of reviewable items in the whole site. $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 31 '17 at 19:30
  • $\begingroup$ @M.A.R. Freaking @*#& poorly documented site features. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Jan 31 '17 at 19:39
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    $\begingroup$ !!flip/site features $\endgroup$
    – M.A.R.
    Jan 31 '17 at 19:40
  • $\begingroup$ It certainly does not show the number of suggested edits for me. $\endgroup$ Feb 1 '17 at 7:25
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン <chuckle> Any idea if this is documented somewhere, that I failed to look? I assume it's not -- seems exactly like so many of the other things that change when you hit a rep threshold and make you go, "Whaaaaat ... just happened??" $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Feb 1 '17 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ If it's not documented in the posts above, I would assume issues with caching, etc. on your end. I guess a change in the behaviour of that feature would be advertised more (like most of the significant changes in the GUI); and since that didn't happen, I doubt that there was something newly introduced. $\endgroup$ Feb 1 '17 at 13:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン No, I mean how it only shows 'suggested edits needing review that you haven't looked at yet' for users below 10k, and 'how many of everything needs review, even if you've already reviewed it' for users above 10k. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Feb 1 '17 at 13:15
  • $\begingroup$ Below 10k it should show the number of items that you can actually review. That takes into account which queues you have or have not unlocked. After that, it shows all items that are in any of the review queues, because you can access the history, etc. now. This has been that way for at least the time I am part of the network and I have not heard of any plans to change it. Also I have not come across any bug-report related to that. If you have a different experience, it might just be some caching on your end. $\endgroup$ Feb 1 '17 at 13:28
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    $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン No, I never saw the orange number until I had enough rep to review suggested edits (2k?), and most of the time there is no orange number in my header bar, even if I click review and there are items in other queues. When there is an orange number, when I click it it always goes to 'review suggested edit', and the number of suggested edits available for my review pretty much always matches the number that was shown in the orange box. Next time it's there, I'm going to check the tooltip. $\endgroup$
    – hBy2Py
    Feb 1 '17 at 13:42
  • $\begingroup$ @Martin-マーチン Also my experience from Travel where I have enough rep to view all queues but do not have the 10 krep needed for deleted posts. If I see a number, it is always and exclusively the number of suggested edits. Close reviews and reopen reviews are not shown. $\endgroup$
    – Jan
    Feb 3 '17 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @jan OK, cool. Thanks for clearing that up. $\endgroup$ Feb 3 '17 at 19:16

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