This is just depressing:
And I don't mean it's depressing that there are that many questions that might need to be closed. There are nearly 6 million open questions on Stack Overflow - if under 2% of those are crap, we're doing great. Realistically, that number is probably going to get a lot bigger before we're done... But I'm working on another post about that, so enough said for now.
No, that number is depressing because I can't do anything about it. Ok, realistically I could - since I'm immune to the normal voting limits, if I spent the rest of my evening reviewing stuff I might be able to bring it down by... .1 or .2K. That's assuming my wife doesn't kill me first. But for most other folks reviewing stuff, there's literally nothing they can do that will affect that number. They can burn through their entire review limit, and it'll still be exactly the same.
That's depressing. And it's a lie. Those folks are helping, they are accomplishing something useful... The system just doesn't tell them this. And that's wrong.
So here's what I'm proposing: every time the background task that populates the queue adds another bunch of items to it, figure up how many pending review tasks are in there from the past 24 hours... And display that number. Yeah, it'll still be a pretty big number - but now we're talking 2-3 digits at worst rather than a progress-hiding abbreviation. And more importantly, with sufficient effort it'll be possible to watch it go down.
For informational purposes, I would keep the full backlog displayed on the stats page.
This might eventually be useful for other queues (broken links...) but for now it's only really needed for close and only on Stack Overflow.