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On some sites such as SO, it may happen that for specific review queues there are hundreds (thousands?) of outstanding reviews. For such queues, users may be allowed to perform up to 40 (instead of 20) reviews on a single day. Here is a sample of some of those queues (as shown to me on the /review page today):

...

2.2k posts (First posts): Thank you for reviewing 40 first posts today; come back in 8 hours to continue reviewing.

139 posts (Late answers): Thank you for reviewing 40 late answers today; come back in 8 hours to continue reviewing.

131 posts (Low quality posts): Thank you for reviewing 20 low quality posts today; come back in 8 hours to continue reviewing.

...

And even though you cannot tell from the above sample, for all these 3 queues, I already performed 40 reviews. So for the low quality posts queue, the number is actually 40, and not 20.

At first I thought "hm, this might be some caching issue or something, give it some time and it'll probably show as 40 instead of 20 also". However, that does not appear to be the case. Instead, what seems to happen is:

  1. If the number of outstanding reviews (like the 131) increases enough, e.g. to somewhere around 150 or so, then the 20 will become 40 as well.

  2. If the number of outstanding reviews (like the 131) does not increase anymore that day, i.e. it always remains 131 or less, then the 20 will never become 40.

  3. If the number of outstanding reviews (like the 139 for the Late answers) goes down enough again (say to somewhere below 100 or so), then the 40 (for Late answers) will become 20 again.

My question: what's going on here, is this the intended design? If so: what is the actual design? Or is it some undocumented feature (aka bug)?

Update: On Apr 18, 2021 (early morning, before performing any Low quality posts reviews, the number of outstanding reviews was 156. After I completed 40 reviews there were 111 outstanding reviews, and at that point this is what was (correctly) shown:

111 posts (Low quality posts): Thank you for reviewing 40 first posts today; come back in 15 hours to continue reviewing.

However, about 5 hours later, without me performing any additional reviews (since I had reached my daily limit of 40 about 5 hours before), this is what was shown:

109 posts (Low quality posts): Thank you for reviewing 20 first posts today; come back in 15 hours to continue reviewing.

That 20 is wrong, it was already 40 since about 5 hours ago ...

Notes:

  • How do the review limits work? is not a duplicate question, e.g. because the (accepted) answer to it states “... after 20 reviews in a given queue*, you're done for the day ...”, which is clearly not what my question is about.
  • The Complete Rate-Limiting Guide is not a duplicate question either, e.g. because the (accepted) answer to it explains (within the reviews part of it) what the maximum number of reviews for a given queue is, while my question is about the mismatch between the number (40 or 20) as shown, as compared to the correct number (it is actually 40 for each of the 3 queues).
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    Does this answer your question? How do the review limits work? and the comment: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/147973/… – Rob Apr 7 at 17:29
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    @Rob : no it does not (see my updated question why I think so). – Pierre.Vriens Apr 7 at 18:23
  • Pierre, Question: "How is that limit calculated? I made 61 reviews today which seems to be some calculated limit.", Comment from Shog9: "The limits double if the queue is over some threshold (varies by site, but pretty low on SO), @jww. Every queue is also limited by various per-day vote limits, so unless you're one of the rare reviewers who likes editing there are only so ..." - If you think the answer needs a correction or the question needs another answer, that is your right. – Rob Apr 7 at 21:11
  • To whom it may concern: the 4 votes to close this question as a duplicate are clearly wrong. Check my update from April 18 to understand why my question is really about (and consider voting to reopen this question, and/or retrackt your close vote). – Pierre.Vriens Apr 18 at 13:44
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    you can't retract close votes once a question is closed. Re-open votes are all you can hope for. – rene Apr 18 at 14:20
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I can tell you what's going on here: you've reviewed enough items in those queues to trigger the 'please come back tomorrow' message. The template for that message is

Thank you for reviewing ${maximum daily reviews} ${queue name} today; come back in {period} to continue reviewing.

${maximum daily reviews} is calculated on-the-fly, i.e. it depends on the queue size that very moment (minus some caching).

There are other ways to exceed ${maximum daily reviews}, e.g. reviewing a suggested edit on your own post, or review more than the daily maximum (because you're a ♦ moderator) and then resigning that very day. So it's a that needs to be fixed at some point in the future.

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  • That's indeed what appears to be happening. And even though I can understand that calculated maximum should depend on the queue size to decide if somebody with already 20 reviews is allowed to do another 20 review (because the size is high enough), IMO the template should not use that calculated value (and instead the actual number of reviews completed already by that user). – Pierre.Vriens Apr 7 at 16:56
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    @Pierre.Vriens so say I did 31 reviews, and since then the queue became smaller. You say we should then stick 31 in that message for me. I bet this will open up a whole new set if questions of people failing to understand what is happening. I'd say we just replace the numerical value with something like: You've completed all your [queue-name] reviews for today. Come back.... This will just get rid of the number, so it can no longer be wrong. – Luuklag Apr 7 at 18:53
  • @Luuklag your alternative to replace the numerical value has the advantage (as compared to the current phrasing) that it is NOT wrong (as is currently the case in scenarios like I mentioned in my question). – Pierre.Vriens Apr 7 at 19:06

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