Is there any algorithm on SO (that the community knows of) which decides when and how many posts a user can review? Let me elaborate below.

I sat down with a colleague of mine and we both clicked on the review link on the SO site to access the posts requiring attention for a possible review. Now on my pc I saw 10 "first time" posts and 5 "late answers" posts while my colleague saw 0 in this category. I was able to click through the "first posts" take around 10 seconds to review each posts and I got through 5 posts before there was none further. During this time where I reviewed the posts my colleague repeatedly refreshed the page but there was no posts for him to review despite myself being able to get more reviews.

So then after an hours time, my colleague could now see 3 "first" posts and 1 "late answer" posts needing attention from reviewers while I could see none. He got to review two posts while I repeatedly pressed "refresh"

So my question really boils down to whether you are favored at any point? I.e. if you have just reviewed 5 posts are you excluded from reviewing more in the next X minutes while other users who have not reviewed anything are being pushed in front to be allowed to do so?

  • From your question, I assume your colleague and yourself were logged in different accounts. But were you on the same network, and was that network using NAT? Jan 27, 2013 at 21:39
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    No. I was actually logged on using my phones mobile network connection as was he. Different mobile connections.
    – Force444
    Jan 27, 2013 at 21:48
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    Some of us want to be favored (for reviewing thousands of post), but I don't see that we are. The queues are processed very fast, so the numbers could change in seconds.
    – Bo Persson
    Jan 27, 2013 at 22:02
  • True Bo :) I was generally just interested to find out whether there actually was some sort of algorithm/mechanism of distributing reviewing tasks as evenly as possible. But then it could be something going on behind the scenes that the community does maybe not know of. Or of course it could be that we were falsely under the impression that some users were being favored.
    – Force444
    Jan 27, 2013 at 22:24
  • It should take you a lot longer than 10 seconds to review most posts. That's not even enough time to read many of them.
    – Servy
    Jan 28, 2013 at 16:44
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    @Jatt And then the time needed to act on most posts will almost always take longer. You need to analyze the problems, comment, make edits, possibly vote to close, read the existing comments to determine whether they have been addressed already, for most answers you also need to look into the questions to determine if that is the root cause, etc.
    – Servy
    Jan 28, 2013 at 17:36
  • @Servy - Well not really. Since when do you need to analyze the problem as a reviewer? Do correct me if I'm wrong , but isn't the main purpose of reviewing to ensure that the question being asked is in a valid format and adheres to the general rules of what should be asked and what shouldnt? What I do is to read the question through, and at the end of that, which typically takes me around 10-15 seconds, I will have caught any significant spelling mistakes and/or whether the question falls into any of these categories: stackoverflow.com/faq#dontask
    – Force444
    Jan 28, 2013 at 21:01
  • @Jatt You may be able to find the problems in 15 or so seconds, if there are not a lot of them, you likely won't be able to address all of them in that time. It is not sufficient time to act on the results, except in the (rather rare) case that there is nothing at all to do.
    – Servy
    Jan 28, 2013 at 21:04
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    I'm with @Servy. If you're reviewing "many posts" spending 10 seconds each, IMO you're not doing a proper job as a reviewer. I'm a very fast reader, but if you're making those kinds of snap decisions about a post you're not doing it right. A few posts might warrant a 10-second review, but those should be pretty rare. I don't think you're giving them the consideration they deserve.
    – Ken White
    Jan 31, 2013 at 3:09

1 Answer 1


No, no one is ever "favored".

Many factors can lead to discrepancies in the outstanding review counts though. For example, if you "Skip" 3 items, then your count will be lower than your friend's. Additionally, posts you've already taken action on outside of the review queue are excluded from your counts as well.

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    Is it possible to elaborate on the actual algorithm that is used to insert content into the review lists, including the lag between a post and when it is included?
    – Werner
    Feb 27, 2013 at 0:28

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