I've been avidly checking the review page on StackOverflow, and I am a little curious as to how posts are allocated to reviewers.

Obviously, being a relatively new member, I only have access to new post and late answer reviews.

The queue is usually empty for me, but then I will notice some new questions from apparently first time posters on the new questions page. Also, while sometimes 2 questions are in the queue, it often says I am finished after completing one review.

Could anyone elaborate on how the system distributes reviews?

  • Yes, there are almost no reviews other than edits and close questions... but the second is a really large queue – Danubian Sailor May 21 '13 at 20:44

It doesn't. Whenever posts are up for review, all eligible reviewers can see them and review them. However, posts get dequeued after a certain number of people have finished reviewing it (usually 2, but this may vary depending on the actions taken iirc). So what is happening is that by the time you finish reviewing your first post, the second one gets dequeued.

Note that the posts you get are randomly shown from the pool in the current active queue.

  • 1
    The reviews are done that fast? Wow. – Chris Chambers May 21 '13 at 20:44
  • 1
    @ChrisChambers It's not uncommon for me to see 15 items to review and then I only review 5 of them since others review the other items. – Doorknob May 21 '13 at 20:47

It's not terribly complex. It picks a random review item from the set of items in the queue you're able to review. (I.e. items you haven't already reviewed, skipped, etc.) Some queues also have a preference towards giving you posts tagged in topics you're active in, so those would be shown to you first (but other questions would be shown to you if there were none in tags you were active in).

Some queues are also biased based on time, meaning they'll tend to show you items posted more recently than items posted less recently.

Also, while sometimes 2 questions are in the queue, it often says I am finished after completing one review.

This is simply a race condition. You're not the only person in the queue. Someone else reviewed an item while you were reviewing the first one. This will happen a lot in those queues.

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