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In the past two days one of my questions from last year has received over 8,000 views. I am curious about what might have caused the sudden burst of interest in this old question.

Google search for links to the question does not produce anything, and the SE Data explorer seems not to expose any information about referring URLs.

Does anyone have any suggestions about how to investigate this?

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    $\begingroup$ @anorton Here's a direct link, and also link to the timeline for those interested. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 15 '14 at 17:46
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    $\begingroup$ It's just me looking at it over and over again. Sorry. $\endgroup$ – Shaun Jul 18 '14 at 19:02
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I posted a link to this question on reddit, and it was somewhat well-received. It's worth mentioning that there's quite a lot of posts from MSE on /r/math, and it's not at all unusual for them to receive a couple thousand views.

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    $\begingroup$ Well-received enough for your 10th Publicist badge. I wonder if one could do reverse-lookup for this badge: from question to the user who earned a badge for it... $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 15 '14 at 17:47
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks very much! $\endgroup$ – MJD Jul 15 '14 at 18:01
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    $\begingroup$ While this answers the question of where the page views are coming from, it doesn't help with the more general question of “how do I investigate this” unless the answer is “post to meta”. In the future I will remember to check Reddit, though. $\endgroup$ – MJD Jul 15 '14 at 18:08
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    $\begingroup$ @This: One who is not badge thirsty can implicate others (or bequeath others) by using reference links with other users' ID. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 15 '14 at 18:58
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Although SEDE contains the table Badges, it does not at present associate badges with posts. I made a feature request Add Post Id to Badges table when applicable which, if fulfilled, will allow one to look up promotion-based badges for any particular post.

For now, one can browse the lists of posts for which promotional badges were awarded. The Publicist list is quite short at present; Booster is still under 100. Announcer would take a while to browse, but that badge can account for at most 25 visits.

If the post wasn't shared using the site-generated share link with user's Id at the end, then Google search is probably the best option.

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  • $\begingroup$ (Note that this is not foolproof, and one can easily use someone else's user ID.) $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 15 '14 at 19:44
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila Yes, but this would still (kind of) answer the question "where the views come from". "Who posted that" is a different question. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 15 '14 at 19:45
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    $\begingroup$ Uhh, telling you who got a badge for sharing a link doesn't tell you where the link was shared. For all you know it was placed in a QR code on a billboard in downtown LA. $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 15 '14 at 19:47
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    $\begingroup$ Now I wonder if that would cause SE to crash... $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 15 '14 at 19:49
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    $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila There aren't enough people in LA, I think. According to Nick Craver, SE gets about 150M hits on a typical day, which translates into 6M per hour on average. (In fact more because the traffic is not evenly distributed throughout the day.) Nick Craver also notes that their 11 web servers run at low utilization, and having just 2 of them would suffice to serve all those requests. They have pretty good equipment in the data center. $\endgroup$ – user147263 Jul 15 '14 at 22:16
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    $\begingroup$ Fine, Hong Kong+Tokyo+Times Square? $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 15 '14 at 22:48

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