Most of the 26 where close votes which I did not max out.
That value is heavily cached and rarely accurate. There is a Meta Stack Exchange question about this that explains more, but I can't find the canonical one right now. This one is close.
It is because the number on the top shows the review that are available to everybody, while the numbers on https://drupal.stackexchange.com/review shows the ones you can take action on. In my case, the top number shows 16, but the review page shows I can make (9+4+2) 15 reviews.
For example, suppose that the only available reviews are for the Close Votes queue, and in that queue you vote to close 3 questions. The number shown for that queue will be decreased, but the top number will not be decreased until questions are closed by 5 users, or a moderator close them.
See Notification for reviews shows way too many, which was open in the netowork's meta site basing on what observed from a user on Drupal Answers. The explanation given there is that the number on the top serves to give users a birds-eye view of the actual state of review.
It's one thing for the majority of reviewers to plow through their own tasks and move on, but someone needs to keep an eye on things to make sure stuff is actually getting done.
If that number is high or growing, then there's a problem. I've heard this lament from many different sites over the past year: "I do all I can, but there aren't enough of us and it just doesn't seem to have any effect!"
If this is happening on your site, if that number is getting bigger in spite of everything you do... Then it's time to raise a call for action. Don't wait for the cruft to clog the streets before getting folks organized to clean it up.
The review indicator in the top-bar is not calculated on a per-user basis, but on a per-site basis. The top-bar indicator also won't always be accurate because it's cached.
Here is another "view" about your review count (= 26 at the time of your question):
- That number shows the total number of questions/posts/answers/edits (= items for short) that are waiting in any of the (6) review queues shown in the screenprint of your question.
- For any of these 6 review queues for which the "currently logged in user" has at least 1 item that's waiting review, it'll show the actual number of such items.
- If some review queue is shown as greyed out (and at the bottom), it is because you reached your daily maximum for that review queue.
The above is what probably most reviewers know, or soon learn from experience. And at some point the issue about the confusing number (like your 26) arises. Somewhere on meta.SE there is a question about this also, with an answer that was something like "it would be too costly to recalculate that number each time for each user on every page such user visits".
So that answer I ever found, made me curious enough to dig a bit deeper (= I wondered for myself "What about Anonymous users"?) ... I discovered what not many people seem to know: at any time, that magic number always matches with the sum of each of the numbers for each review queue ... if you look at https://drupal.stackexchange.com/review ... as an anonymous user (eg by simply using another browser where you do not log in).
It could well be that this number is cached. But in all occasions that I've used this little (undocumented?) trick, that magic number always matches that sum of the 6 review queues.
Here are 2 illustrations of how it looks like right now in my case:
Case 1 (at the time I started writing this answer):
- Close votes = 8
- Reopen votes = 2
- Low quality posts = 1
- All (3) other queues = 0
- 8+2+1 = 11! ... And the total review count shows in my case 11 also!
Case 2 (around the time I saved this answer):
- Close votes = 8
- Reopen votes = 2
- All (4) other queues = 0
- 8+2 = 10! ... And the total review count shows in my case 10 also!
PS: Welcome to "the" club, not planning any party soon?