I've been looking at the review queues lately, and something has caught my eye. The close vote queue just keeps growing. It hit 50k just a little ago, and is well on its way to 51. I've never actually seen it go down. Do we have a problem with a huge influx of close votes, but no actual closes?

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    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/171492/…. FWIW, on an active day, I usually run out of close votes before I even make it to the Close Vote Queue. Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:40
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    Only one in 5 close votes removes an item from the list where only 1 vote puts it into the list... I think the current state of the close queue is as expected...
    – Lix
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:40
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    It had been steadily going down for quite a while going as low as 47k at some point (I seem to remember). But the last few weeks it has only grown. I wonder what caused that.
    – Bart
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:43
  • @LittleBobbyTables: Thanks for the link
    – Linuxios
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:51
  • @Lix: Is it supposed to be growing at a steady rate?
    – Linuxios
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:52
  • @lin - more posts are being created, more users are signing up... so I would say yes (to a certain extent).
    – Lix
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:53
  • @Bart: I wonder too. Is there any way that we can see the tag distrobution of the close votes tab? It might just be a spike of low quality in one of the big tags (ios, android, php, etc.)
    – Linuxios
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:53
  • @Lix, Bart: Feel free to put those into answers.
    – Linuxios
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:53
  • Agree with @Bart, but Let's clean it up :) Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 13:59
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    Just because something has a close vote on it does not mean that it needs to be closed. I don't know that we need to feel pressured to remove everything from this queue just because it is there. I've already seen a few cases where people piled on close votes for a good question just because it appeared in this queue. This might be the time to revisit discussions about adding the ability to cast "don't close" votes. Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 14:25
  • @BradLarson I was just writing something roughly to that effect. Doesn't the Leave Open button accelerate a Q's removal from the queue, and so works kind of like a Don't Close button? I think part of the problem is calling it a "queue" which implies that it needs to be reduced to zero.
    – joran
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 14:28
  • @joran - Yes, Shog's answer to the question I link has this wording: "a sufficient number of "Do Not Close" responses (currently 3) will kick the question out of the review queue," but I wonder if that's strong enough to combat the impulse of people wanting to close questions in this queue. Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 14:31
  • I wonder if the SO mod elections have had an effect here. All of the people who've newly discovered that they have the ability to cleanup the site and want to start preparing for the next election. I would have expected a bump in people using the review queues, more flags coming in, people adding close votes, etc. I also would think it'd die down for the most part after a bit.
    – Servy
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 15:08
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    it's quite likely that reviewers "educated" by experience in CV queue start casting more CVs than before trying it. Someone who passed over few dozens of blatantly NC / NARQ posts while working in the queue, can develop a sense to recognize stuff like that when they see it outside of the queue. "Bad questions all feel alike; every good question is perceived in its own way." (Leo Tolstoy - gnat)
    – gnat
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 16:10
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    IIRC it was shrinking by about a thousand every month...growing would be very concerning. But it's always been too big of a backlog
    – Ben Brocka
    Commented Mar 19, 2013 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


I thought I'd try and get some data, but I'm not aware of a way to see the full history of reviews, short of scraping the 11000-odd pages on the History tab... Here's a plot that for each day shows the ratio of number of posts that received their first close vote (and still remain unclosed now) versus the number of posts that were closed. These are raw data from the Explorer. I don't think there's a way to determine which of the posts that have pending close votes have left the review queue.

Awaiting Closure/Closed for each day

I'm not sure you can read much in to this, but it does look like the balance is shifting back to where it was in the middle of last year. The low point in October appears to coincide with the end of the time when some reviewers were 'processing' over 100 items per day from the Close queue. There's another dip in the winter holiday season. The July dip is coincident with the earliest reviews visible in the history tab - that may be a real coincidence though.

The 50K outstanding seems like a large number, but it's around 1% of the total. There are only about 210K posts in total showing with non-null Close dates in the Data Explorer, of these 87K have Close votes visible - it appears the data are not complete. About a quarter of the closed questions have fewer than five votes, which suggests that mod intervention was involved in those closures.

To me it seems all too tempting to rush and process the 'backlog' quickly, rather than accurately, and this certainly was happening back in October. Many of the items in the backlog would, if posted now, be closed quite quickly. There are probably a significant number of old posts that are as worthy of closure, but just don't get the attention.

One observation on the rate limiting as it stands: If I review 40 items in the queue, and use my remaining 10 votes to add new items to the queue, I've at best made no impact that day on the total number of reviews 'outstanding'. The ten items I added will likely need 40 review actions by others.

Raw queries used.

  • Thanks for the detailed analysis!
    – Linuxios
    Commented Mar 20, 2013 at 1:59

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