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

I just reviewed an answer on the Late Answers queue, and after flagging as "not an answer" and leaving a comment on it (which I just deleted), I realized it's from almost three years ago.

It is a late answer, as the question is two months older, but it struck me as odd to see it just pop into the review queue now. If multiple similar answers appeared in the queue at the same time, I'd think it was some change to the algorithm, or a scheduled task. But a single answer? What was it doing there?

I just saw another one. So maybe that's the default behavior of the late answers queue, and I hadn't noticed it?

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marked as duplicate by Some Helpful Commenter, bfavaretto, jcolebrand, hims056, Ben Brocka Dec 28 '12 at 4:09

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

For the record, it has been doing this for a while. – Austin Henley Dec 28 '12 at 1:52
Yeah, I suspected that after noticing the second one (I don't spend much time on that particular queue). That behavior is just weird, are you aware of some previous meta discussion on it? – bfavaretto Dec 28 '12 at 1:54
up vote 2 down vote accepted

To reduce badge farming, the LA queue is fed slowly. Little by little, some tool of the team is travelling back in time, delivering relatively late answers. Eventually, it will reach T+2months (where T is the original site launch) and this will stop.

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Interesting. Looks like the SE team is testing various ways to handle the different queues: that, honeypots, batch-population (LQ queue) and annoyingly big queue (close votes). – bfavaretto Dec 28 '12 at 2:09

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