Update There are a few interesting suggestions in the feedback from answers and comments but they are hard to test. Is there a dummy page for users to test site tools for repeatable bugs or for misinterpretation of controls? (Nothing relevant turns up when searching for "dummy". I'll make this a separate question if asked.)

In the image below, all the review queues show up empty. The brown box in the black header suggests that there are 5 items for me to review, but since that can't be right, what does the number mean (or is it a bug)? I've tried to confirm by refreshing the page that it isn't just a simple lag-effect - the number was is still 5 and the queues were still empty after the refresh. Note that the number does decrease as I process non-empty queues.

enter image description here


I found two different possible reasons:

  1. There are pending reviews that you have already addressed. Most review tasks must be approved by multiple people before being executed. If you have completed the task, but not enough other people have also completed the task for it to be officially done (e.g. you voted to close, but there haven't been the required 5 people voting yet for it to be closed), the task will still contribute to the number in your taskbar.
  2. The data for the toolbar indicator is cached, and is only refreshed periodically. Constantly updating this value for every user would put too much load on the server, so it is only updated periodically. (Client-side scripts might adjust it on your toolbar when you complete a review, but the new database results will only be retrieved periodically).

Another (possibly) related post: The flag counter in the 10k tools should reflect the posts I can actually see

In my experience, the discrepancy usually resolves itself within 10 or 15 minutes.

  • $\begingroup$ Sometimes, the review tasks are mutually exclusive, for example the same post is in both the First Posts and Late Answers review queues. You will only be able to do one of the reviews and it will show 0 reviews for the other queue. It's actually still there and will still contribute to the number on the top. $\endgroup$ – mmking Dec 17 '15 at 22:18
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for your suggestions. I can check again when a close-vote review pops up, but I thought the number decremented after my last close-vote. $\endgroup$ – Lawrence Dec 18 '15 at 0:22
  • $\begingroup$ @mmking That sounds plausible and would explain why I can have empty queues with non-zero reviews pending. The counter has now reset to 0 pending and the queues are empty, so I can try to test this out next time. $\endgroup$ – Lawrence Dec 18 '15 at 0:27
  • $\begingroup$ @mmking Just an update - my latest review session started with a 3-tally and two 1-item queues. At this point, I'll just consider the tally at the top to be just an upper bound on the number of items to review, and not particularly useful otherwise. $\endgroup$ – Lawrence Dec 18 '15 at 13:25
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    $\begingroup$ The behavior of this indicator has always been a little weird, but it roughly indicates the number of reviews you can currently do. It's... got some quirks. $\endgroup$ – Aza Dec 18 '15 at 20:21

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