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The queue for close votes is currently filled with months-old questions, and is quite large - when I recently clicked on the queue, there were $39$ items waiting for review. Of the first $10$ or so that I went through, only one of them was from the last month - the others were all from January.

I've noticed this behaviour over the last few days (including the vastly high number of review items), but the timeline has been moving backwards; a few days ago, there were dozens of questions from April, then March, and so on.

So my questions are:

  • Is this related to the recent increase in available close votes per user?

  • Is this intentional?

and

  • Were all these questions in the system already, waiting for months for review? If not, are these simply because there are a great number of people using their $50$ votes per day on old questions?

I find that when the queue is completely filled with old questions, it interferes with reviewing recent questions that are actually relevant and active.

To clarify the tag: Is this desirable behaviour, considering that many people will spend their entire $20$ reviews looking at months-old questions?

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    $\begingroup$ For the (historical) record, this is part of the campaign described in this answer. As part of this campaign, every night around $40$ questions are pushed into the review queue, after their answers have all been downvoted to $0,\,$ wth the goal to trigger closure, hence automatic irreversible deletion of the question and all answers by the Community bot. See the linked thread for further details. $\endgroup$ – Bill Dubuque Jul 1 '14 at 3:08
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Is this related to the recent increase in available close votes per user?

Without a doubt.

Is this intentional?

Sure, questions don't get into the review queue by winning a lottery. The votes to close are cast with an intent, which is to close the question.

Were all these questions in the system already, waiting for months for review?

No, Math.SE does not have a long backlog like Stack Overflow. Questions get reviewed within several hours.

are these simply because there are a great number of people using their 50 votes per day on old questions?

It does not take a great number of people. A small, but nonzero number of people is enough.


many people will spend their entire 20 reviews looking at months-old questions

Only if they choose to. A reviewer not wishing to engage with an old post can click Skip without reading the question. The age of question is shown in bold font in the sidebar.

Another option is to use the bookmarklet "Skip but open in another tab". When the question is voted on in another tab, the vote does not count toward the limit of 20 reviews. Combined with one-click closing bookmarklets, this is a fairly efficient workflow for up to 50 closed questions per day.

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks - I've added a note to the end of my question to clarify. I added the discussion tag because I'm curious to know whether people think this is desirable behaviour or not. I personally find it to be distracting from the more recent and relevant questions; I'd rather use my $20$ reviews on questions that are active, not long dead. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 5 '14 at 2:16
  • $\begingroup$ @user61527 I expanded the answer to address this point. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jun 5 '14 at 4:14
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    $\begingroup$ I find your assertion that this is related at the start a bit bold. The situation described seems pretty compatible with one user simply having decided to look through old questions and vote to close. I cannot see why this should be necessarily related to this increase. It could be just somebody got 3k recently, or having more time as the term is over some places, or any number of reasons. Actually, are there many users that maxed out on close votes on a regular basis on the site before the increase? (Really the only way I can see your 1st statement being justified is if you have inside info.) $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 5 '14 at 14:02
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    $\begingroup$ @quid And I do. :) $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jun 5 '14 at 14:08
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    $\begingroup$ Can't argue with that. :-) $\endgroup$ – quid Jun 5 '14 at 14:17
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    $\begingroup$ Yes, I probably should have spent more time looking at the common names from the close votes after the reviews are completed - I did notice that you initiated most of the old ones that I have seen showing up in the queues. I suppose that's the insider information you mean. $\endgroup$ – user61527 Jun 7 '14 at 4:39

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