I've looked at the timeline and edit history of Is COVID-19 more dangerous than typical annual coronavirus variants? which has 4K views presently, but I see no HNQ note anywhere. So what explains the high view count on this question? (External links?)

Even more interestingly Can heat cure COVID-19, the common flu and the common cold? supposedly has 10K views, despite not being HNQ'd either, and only having one real answer. No bounty was added to that question, unlike the first question I mentioned.

So, I have a feeling there might be bug at play here, overreporting the view count. Alternatively, it's the HNQ status that's being incorrectly reported.

  • The tag was just so contagious… (srsly: topic, activity, bounty…; in that order, as nobody reads the SE twitter feed ?) Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 15:30
  • @LаngLаngС: I for one did not see any other Skeptics questions with thousands of views that were not the result of HNQ. If you know of other examples, that would be a good answer that "this is not unusual given the other circumstances [despite non-HNQ]". Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 15:32
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    Plus skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/46016/… ? Don't have time for handcounting or SEDE query… Thats what I'd count as proper answer here. But site analytics also show peak in recent days like years ago, after long downward trend? Commented Mar 21, 2020 at 15:49

1 Answer 1


I don't have a definitive answer, but, as mod, I have some limited access to basic analytics.

  • The site has been growing in the past 6 months - after dropping to a local minima in September, traffic has doubled in a reasonably linear fashion.

  • We've had a huge spike of hits on Tuesday March 17, briefly doubling again.

I am guessing some well-known social media person or newspaper article directly linked to one or more of the questions.

  • I'd be inclined to think you are correct on the last para, If you have enough data, you could probably check with the "heat cure" q because that question was "open", in the sense of not-really-upvoted answer for quite a bit (~3 days). During that fairly large window there wasn't any probable HNQ. (I'm 5K rep short of being able to access analytics myself [on Skeptics], although I vaguely recall from when i looked at them on P.SE once that they are not per-question.) Commented Mar 22, 2020 at 6:36
  • Frankly analytics seems bugged at the moment too, at least on P.SE where it can't show the 2nd tab (the one with traffic/Referring Sites/search engines) "An error has occurred while retrieving data. Please try again in 24 hours." Commented Mar 22, 2020 at 6:42
  • Cam something double linearly? I guess you mean "consistently" or "regularly", or "evenly". Every month or something?
    – user11643
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 16:03
  • I've gotten the announcer badge a few times here simply by sharing my user link on other sites in the comments. No one's been awarded it for these questions though. However, secondary shares can quickly add thousands of unique views and not be tracked to your original share, simply because people will usually copy paste whatever is in the url field, which SE normalizes for all viewers. (Which makes me wonder why, actually, since tracked links is so easy to do these days).
    – user11643
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 16:12
  • @fredsbend: Consider f(x) = ax + b. f(24) = 3. f(30) = 6. Then between x=24 and x=30, f(x) doubles in a linear fashion.
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Mar 23, 2020 at 16:56
  • The heat cure question was at around 10 or 11K when I asked this. It's now at 17K, but few extra votes. So yeah, I think there's external linking at play. Commented Mar 30, 2020 at 5:48

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