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Why does the late-answer review queue sometimes spike in size by over 5000?

Most of the time, when I go to the review area, let's say in the 'Late answers' queue, there are only a few items to review (ex 1, 5, 15), but sometimes this number jump to somethink a lot bigger (like 6.7k). It seems other queues also have this behavior.

Why has the number of review such brutal variations, and not a more "smooth" evolution (for example, about 50 items to review each day) ?

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marked as duplicate by Kate Gregory, animuson, Daniel Fischer, Michael Mrozek, McCannot Nov 12 '12 at 18:56

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The "Late answers" only get into the queue if they were posted after a certain date. When the queue is empty (more or less), that date gets changed to a month or so earlier, thus a lot of "new" old late answers appear. –  Daniel Fischer Nov 12 '12 at 18:42

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What you are seeing is the dev team making the filters for those queues less restrictive. (In this case, generally allowing older posts to be added to the queue by.)

As the posts are reviewed, and since they get emptied fairly quickly, the team is allowing posts that previously didn't meet the conditions for review to be reviewed. When they do this, it effectively adds several thousand items at one time.

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