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Sometimes there is a number in an orange box to the left of the "review" button at the top of the page. Clicking on the number brings me to the review queue, just like clicking the review button itself. But what does this number (or lack thereof) mean?

Intuitively, I would think this would be the number of posts awaiting review. But this number and the number of posts in the review queue are rarely equal. Furthermore, sometimes there is no number there and there are posts in the queue or vice-versa.

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Not much... It is supposed to tell you how many total reviews are waiting in the queue. However do to caching it sometimes reflects how many reviews are left to do, most of the time it is just an orange number.

What does the number next to the review link in the top bar actually mean?

Also this is the same issue that gandalf was talking about here:
Suggested edit notification wrong

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    $\begingroup$ Why on earth do they even have it if it is inaccurate? You'd think they'd have fixed or removed it by now. $\endgroup$ – PGmath Nov 20 '15 at 22:52
  • $\begingroup$ No idea... (and it has been this way for a while) $\endgroup$ – David Nov 20 '15 at 22:53
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    $\begingroup$ The official explanation: meta.stackexchange.com/q/233535/238438 $\endgroup$ – gandalf3 Nov 21 '15 at 2:14

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