I recently received the popular question badge for this question. I was surprised to learn that it had been viewed 1,000 times, given that that would mean that about one in fifty people to view the question upvoted it. I went and looked at other people with this badge, and found this is not at all uncommon, and that in fact having 20 upvotes seems rare among questions for which this badge was awarded. Many of these questions that just recently were awarded the badge have been inactive for over a year and have very little interaction. For example, we see here a question that is 2 years old, inactive for 1 year, and was just recently (the past few hours) awarded the badge. They all seem to have almost exactly 1,000 views.
- Do badges for number of views track unique views in some meaningful capacity?
- Are the links I've provided evidence of widespread manipulation to obtain badges, and if so are any steps being taken to counteract this?
- If the answer to the above questions are "no" and "yes" respectively, what measures might we take to prevent this abuse?