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I am a little puzzled over this subject.
Why does the number of items in the "close votes review queue" is always increasing?

Compared to "suggested edits" - there are fewer items in the close votes queue (less than a 1M all-time close items vs. over 2M all-time items in the suggested edits).

So why can't we handle the closed votes reviews?

My observation:
While reviewing a suggested edit does not require specific understanding of the post itself (a good assesment can be made based on style and formating), this is not the case for close votes: these reviews require an understanding of the post's subject.

My proposal:
It would be nice if when I go to review closed votes the system will automatically filter the posts for me based on my active tags. This way I will be more efficient in reviewing and more encouraged to review more.

EDIT:
An after thought (after reading proposed answer and comments): It might be that filtering is not exactly what is required, but rather prioritizing the queue per reiviewer. Each reiviewer will be given posts to review that are "similar" to his active badges with higher probability.

Update:
Following gnat's answer in programmers stackexchange, I believe it is highly important to have no backlog at the close votes reviews: This backlog actually makes closing questions on SO quite a random event, leaving many low-quality questions open spamming SO.
Is there an effective way to draw the attention of SE team/moderators to this burning issue?

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    You can add a tag filter yourself. That way you can choose to use this feature and are not forced to do so.
    – juergen d
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:52
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    Simple math: It takes a lot more people to get a question out of the close votes queue than it does a suggested edit. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:53
  • simple math: there are "300 freaking easy golden badges that could drain 40,000 items from the queue in less than a month, and... 10,000 eligible users..." It looks like currently, SE team has good reasons to keep poor usability of this queue and no good reasons to improve it
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:55
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    @gnat Wait, what? Are you saying that if we gave out more badges, that would be a motivation for people to spend more time going through the queue? First off, I'm not sure that's actually the case. In my experience, most folks with 3k+ rep aren't that interested in badges. At least not any more than they are in improving the site, so they're already using the queue. Second, I'm not sure we want people in there just to earn badges. Those are the type of reviewers who are sloppy and make poor choices. I'd rather they stay far away until someone more conscientious has time. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:57
  • @CodyGray badges are already there. There is just no interest in these among 10,000 eligible users, guess why?
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:58
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    @CodyGray I'm not sure I follow your math: AFAIK it takes 5 to review a close vote and 3 to review an edit (minimum), yet the system was able to process far more edit reviews (~x2)...
    – Shai
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:01
  • "guess why?" Err, not enough badges? That seems like what your argument is. Obviously I'm not understanding something. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:02
  • @CodyGray obviously, you miss the fact that number of badges is limited only by the size of a queue; as long as there are few thousands items there, badges are all there. Once again, guess why there's so little interest in these? Last time I checked there were only 1-2 CV Steward badges awarded a day - why do you think this is so?
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:08
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    I have no idea. I don't like this game. I'm not good at guessing. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:12
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    Why do I think it is so? Easy, because the UI and UX in the review queues sucks horribly. There's nowhere near enough context provided to make good decisions, and there are plenty of ways to fail an audit by doing something reasonable. I don't use them at all, except for suggested edits where I have to. I just browse questions on topics that I'm interested in and "review" that way. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:30
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    I think you are right here. Next question one could ask is, why SE team appears to ignore all the suggestions to improve that horrible UI and UX? (per my observations, various suggestions on that pop up at meta once or twice every month). Note I am not talking about resources matters, "thanks we're busy now but we'll consider it later". It looks more like these requests are just ignored "it's ok as-is"
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:47
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    @Shai hard to tell. So far I haven't seen bounties on questions about improving queue UI / UX have any effect. Actually, that's what made me think, what if SE team simply have their reasons to keep it poor? Upon pondering a bit, I figured that this is quite likely the case, however surprising it sounds. To find out why could that be, one may ask self a question, what would happen when (if) this queue becomes as short as other queues?
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 7:00
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    @gnat excellent point you made there! It is crucial to have no backlog on close vote to significantly improve the quality of posts in SO!
    – Shai
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 8:05
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    ...note how this risk is "hedged" in other queues that seem to be otherwise similar. Troublesome edit suggestions or answers to wrongly reopened questions bump the impacted post, making it easier to catch and correct review errors when these happen. In close queue, there's nothing like that. Right or wrong, closed question is buried, and there is a huge chance that no one notices. "Do you think that it's gonna be all-right?"
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 7, 2013 at 9:25
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    @gnat well done! good for you you finally made it happen
    – Shai
    Commented Sep 7, 2013 at 20:35

1 Answer 1

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You can add a (tag) filter yourself.

filter

You can individualize the queue even more than only to your favorite tags.

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    An excellent idea. This is ehat I already did - kept reviewing until no more items with "my" tags were left. Using the filter significantly improved my "reviewing experience". However, I'm not sure how many users are aware/use this feature. I think it is so beneficial it's worth adding automatically.
    – Shai
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:56
  • A good one I'll give away to people: [windows] [windows-7] [windows-2003] in combination with off-topic. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:56
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    You still have to be careful, though, especially with a filter like @Danny suggests. There are a lot of perfectly on topic questions with those tags. Just because you're using a clever filter doesn't mean you can turn on autopilot and close all the questions that pop up. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 14:58
  • @CodyGray Completely agree with you there! It does, however, get through the close votes a lot quicker. Very off-topic questions are rather easy to spot. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:00
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    @Shai I have rewritten your question title to put more of an emphasis on your feature request, given your last comment. If you disagree with it, feel free to rollback. Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:00
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    @DannyBeckett - my English is not so good and so is my choice of words. I appreciate your edit, it adds a lot to the question. Thanks!
    – Shai
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:02
  • @CodyGray what about a semi-automatic mode? close - close - close - this looks programming related. skip - close - close - skip - this could be audit. skip - skip - skip - skip Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 15:15
  • @Jan: that's not harmful, but it also prevents perfectly good questions from dropping out of the queue as quickly as they could if you selected "Do not close" rather than "skip" for the first test.
    – Shog9
    Commented Aug 6, 2013 at 16:26

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