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I have just noticed that my activity page claims that I have "reached" 809k people.
Since this is clearly ludicrous, I suppose "people" means actual people counted with high multiplicity.
That's okay, I like the idea of mathematicians forming a scheme with non-reduced points.
But still: how are these multiplicities computed?

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The "people reached" is calculated as sum of views of non-deleted questions-threads to which you contributed a 'significant' post, where significant means (I think this is still current We're working on a new stat to help convey the reach of your posts here ):

  • asked the question
  • gave a 'significant' answer, meaning that it has a positive score (and is not deleted) and meets at least one of the following criteria:
    • accepted
    • among top three answers on the question
    • score five or more
    • at least 20% of total answer vote-count

The intent there is to avoid somebody too easily being able to inflate their 'reach' by adding answers to question with very many views.

Even so, it is not anything remotely accurate. For one thing, views that happened before an answer was given count, too.

On the multiplicity specifically, the multiplicity of a user for your "reach" is the number of times they "viewed" a question-thread to which you made a contribution matching the above criteria. (Note that this is not the same as the number threads they saw, as one user can increase the view-count by more than one, see How are the number of views in a question calculated? )

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    $\begingroup$ Thank you, quid. $\endgroup$ – Georges Elencwajg Oct 29 '16 at 17:45
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    $\begingroup$ Fun fact: The fact that every page view counts, means that you've probably reached yourself a few thousand times. (Which further shows its inaccuracy, by the way) $\endgroup$ – wythagoras Nov 6 '16 at 15:20
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    $\begingroup$ @wythagoras: that's amusing! And my "reaching myself" sounds as if I were part of some group of New Age hippies: a rather unexpected company :-) $\endgroup$ – Georges Elencwajg Nov 6 '16 at 23:08
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    $\begingroup$ @GeorgesElencwajg, I've surprised myself quite a few times googling for something and finding an answer of my own here or on MO with the exact information i was looking for ;-) $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Nov 12 '16 at 4:56
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    $\begingroup$ Dear @Mariano: you will be surprised to know how happy your comment made me! The exact same thing happens to me too, and I was beginning to think I was the only one with that memory problem. Being in such excellent company with you feels very reassuring ! $\endgroup$ – Georges Elencwajg Nov 12 '16 at 7:19

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