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I have been scratching my head for a while over this and wondered what I am missing.

I have the following come up when I am in cogsci.stackechange.com

screenshot of webpage

As you can see, there is a '5' which when hovered over, tells me there are 5 posts awaiting review. When I click on it, there are no posts awaiting review, yet the 5 stays there. Clicking on Meta Reviews leads to no reviews waiting and the 5 disappears until I go back into cogsci.stackexchange.com.

The 5 has been higher in the past, which makes me wonder, am I missing something?

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The review queue shown in the red square is the queue of the number of pending reviews on the site as a whole. So when there are all but zeros mentioned before the categories in your personal review pane, then there's no question left for you in the queue (good work!). However, because multiple votes are necessary per item, the site-wide review queue number may not have changed after you are done reviewing.

The reason why it shows the total number does tell you something, namely whether everyone is as diligent as you are :-) The number has indeed been soaring for a while, which is troublesome, as it means that moderation on the site as a whole is failing. After some time, review items eventually disappear, meaning that poor-quality questions and answers remain open while they should've been closed.

The fact that the review queue disappears in meta is because it is a different site altogether, with its own queues, badges etc. The only thing that transfers is your rep and hence your moderation tools (if any).

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