I have a simple question about the review section on Stack Overflow. I only have enough reputation to review the First Posts and Late Answers, so I only notice them. I've noticed that the recent reviewers is updating very often; however, if I constantly click refresh (I've tried this), the First Posts and Late Answers remains at zero (But I believe there must be items to review because the Recent Reviewers is updating). This has caused me to think that the items to review might actually be different for different users.

Also, sometimes it seems like there's one or two new items to review every minute, then there won't be any, then 5 minutes later there will be 17 items to review. (And the updates don't seem to happen at 5 minute intervals...they'll appear at 8:49, 8:51, 8:52, 8:55, etc)

Finally, once I also saw a new user ask a question, and then about 15 minutes later, I was reviewing first posts, and I saw this user's question (it had come with 17 other items to review. In the 15 minutes before that question came into the review queue, there were a couple "lone" items to review every minute or so). So I had a question out of pure curiosity (and also to save myself from clicking refresh when I feel like reviewing): Is there any pattern to when the Items to review is updated?

  • 2
    I've heard somewhere it's every 5 minutes for LQP, First Posts, and Late Answers... don't have a source though so don't quote me on it. – hichris123 Feb 11 '14 at 2:44
  • That's what I would've thought, but sometimes it seems like there are a couple individual reviews in between the 5 minutes (or items don't show up for 15 minutes). This just occurred to me, but could those individual questions be review items that were skipped? – davidsbro Feb 11 '14 at 2:48
  • @davidsbro: if they leave the page open for a few minutes, then review, then it still counts, which is why you get those few from time to time. – Qantas 94 Heavy Feb 11 '14 at 2:52
  • So you mean if they skip the review item that could be the random items that show up? If so, I'm still confused about the seemingly "random" appearance of the majority of the review items...I think the programmer in me almost wants to know the code that updates the review queue.;) I just asked this question out of curiosity, so if there's no answer, that's fine. :) – davidsbro Feb 11 '14 at 2:54

The process that fills the queues runs about every 5 minutes. When the process runs, it checks for any new posts which have become eligible for review. It doesn't always run at exactly the same interval every time. It slowly, but surely, starts getting off its previous schedule by small amounts at a time. For example, the last few rounds ran at 03:42:13, 03:37:13, 03:32:13, and 03:27:13. But a process that ran about 4 hours inserted some items at 23:42:12 and about 7 hours ago at 20:26:09. See how the minute:second intervals slowly shift? In the past 7 hours, it's shifted by a minute and four seconds.

Aside from that, there a few things you should know about them:

  • In most queues, a review gets assigned to a user. The system is built to only show a particular item to one user at a time. If the review needs further action after that user finished (or the user chooses to skip it), it will be added back to the queue and eligible for someone else to view it.

  • A post must meet the requirements for review for at least 15 minutes before it actually enters a review queue. For first posts and late answers, the post needs to have existed for at least 15 minutes before it becomes eligible.

  • Is the information about first posts still valid? Or does it work this way only on SO? Here is an example of a post which was in the first posts review queue one minute after it was posted. – Martin Jul 29 '18 at 10:48

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