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Every now and then I get a stray upvote for an answer I answered months ago. Usually these are for the more prominent answers I've given. But most of the time, the upvotes I get are shortly after I answer a question.

This made me think, what is the rate at which upvotes are received? Is there a discernible pattern that applies to all answers such as, 70% of upvotes occur on the first day, 85% by the second day, etc.? Perhaps there is a trend but it needs to be limited to answers that get >10 upvotes.

I believe there is a database query system available for the stack exchange websites but I don't know how it works. Does someone know the answer or know how to obtain it?

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  • $\begingroup$ You ask about questions in the title, about answers in the body of the post. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jun 11 '14 at 1:54
  • $\begingroup$ I meant answers in the title but I'm interested in question upvotes as well. $\endgroup$ – abnry Jun 11 '14 at 2:45
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There are currently $1104554$ upvotes on answers in the SEDE database. Of them,

  • $60.70\%$ were cast within the first day of existence of the answer
  • $12.38\%$ on the second day
  • $2.43\%$ on the third day

So, activity drops down sharply by the third day. After that the decline is slow:

  • $17.47\%$ of upvotes occur at least $30$ days after the answer was posted
  • $7.00\%$ — at least one year after
  • $2.60\%$ — at least two years after

The second part of answer follows the same format, but is restricted to the answers with total score at most $10$. The pattern remains largely the same, but the tail is shorter.

  • $66.22\%$ upvotes were cast within the first day of existence of the answer
  • $11.59\%$ on the second day
  • $2.18\%$ on the third day

Also,

  • $13.60\%$ of upvotes occur at least $30$ days after the answer was posted
  • $4.58\%$ — at least one year after
  • $1.40\%$ — at least two years after

From Upvotes on answers some days after the post

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  • $\begingroup$ Nice! Can you distinguish between your two pairs of statistics? What I mean is that the 17%, 7%, 3% list reads as contradicting the 60%, 12%, 2$ list. Can you clarify? $\endgroup$ – abnry Jun 11 '14 at 2:51
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    $\begingroup$ @nayrb I added formatting to clarify. If you want to investigate the questions, feel free to fork the query, replacing p.PostTypeId = 2 with p.PostTypeId = 1. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jun 11 '14 at 3:00
  • $\begingroup$ Awesome. It is late here and I realized I was just confused. Accepted. $\endgroup$ – abnry Jun 11 '14 at 3:02
  • $\begingroup$ The implication from this seems to me that the reputation maximizing strategy is to answer often. $\endgroup$ – abnry Jun 12 '14 at 17:49

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