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I don't know whether it is a bug, or just an expected behavior; a lot of time I have observed that on the main page, where all the latest questions are listed, some information about the question is also shown, e.g. the number of answers, and the number of views.
Now I have observed that almost all the time the number of answers shown on the main page is different than the actual number of answers posted for that question (which I am able to see after clicking on that question). For all the questions, the number of answers displayed is zero, where actually that question would have 2 or 3 or 4 answers.

So users sometimes try to find the unanswered questions from the main page itself, but they then notice the question already have more than 1 answer.

Why is it so?

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[status-caching] –  Mysticial Apr 24 '12 at 5:24
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Can you please elaborate ? –  programmer_1 Apr 24 '12 at 5:25
    
I have never experienced something like this... Are you taking an extremely long time between viewing the list and actually viewing the question? –  animuson Apr 24 '12 at 5:27
    
Nope. No such a long time I am taking. –  programmer_1 Apr 24 '12 at 5:29
    
@animuson No, it's very common. When a question gets updated, it can easily take more than a minute before the front page entry shows it. –  Mysticial Apr 24 '12 at 5:32
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@Mysticial: I'm still unable to reproduce this. I've never heard of those numbers being cached, only the views counter. Of course, I normally use the /questions list by default and not the main / home list. –  animuson Apr 24 '12 at 5:35
    
@animuson It happens for me all the time - everyday, every time I answer a question. It takes up to a minute for edits to show up on the front page. This is especially apparent when I have my auto-refresher enabled in a separate window. –  Mysticial Apr 24 '12 at 5:37
    
@Mysticial: The auto-refresher is completely different. That only runs every so often. I'm pretty sure if you manually refresh the page, the numbers are always up-to-date. –  animuson Apr 24 '12 at 5:38
    
@Mysticial if answer takes more than a minute to update on main page, then its fine.. –  programmer_1 Apr 24 '12 at 5:38
    
@animuson No, I have a Firefox plugin that literally refreshes the page every 10 seconds. It's the same as hitting F5. –  Mysticial Apr 24 '12 at 5:39
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Apparently the home page list is cached by ~2 minutes. Tim Stone isn't sure about the other lists, but he believes the others are not cached. –  animuson Apr 24 '12 at 5:52
    
@programmer_1: It's magic. Whenever you open question on SO, there are eagles on SO who are refreshing and refreshing pages. And getting newest question answered. So viewing question on /questions and clicking it is very huge gap. Upto that time there can be multiple answers or not anything. It's on your luck. –  Somnath Muluk Apr 24 '12 at 6:03

1 Answer 1

Seems like you're expecting Stack Overflow to know, when it's rendering a question list, how many questions will have been posted when you decide to click on a question link.

That's not really possible.

There's probably some caching that makes some of the high volume pages less accurate than they could be, and some asynchronous behind the scenes updates could make the pages more accurate still. But there's always a chance of a mismatch.

It's not unusual for a question do get four of five answers in a matter of seconds on Stack Overflow.

Also note that the "Unanswered" lists don't list questions with no answer. They list questions that either don't have an answer, or questions that have neither upvoted answers nor an accepted answer.

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No. I don't expect SO to know how many answers will that question have. Its expected and known that no of answers indicate actual no of answers posted for that question up till now. However I got your point and as per @mysticial's comment, its fine. –  programmer_1 Apr 24 '12 at 5:41
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Well I don't understand your question then. You know the page is rendered at some point in time, with caching, so it won't be accurate. You also know that answers can be posted between the time you viewed the list and the time you view the question itself. What problem do you have exactly? –  Mat Apr 24 '12 at 5:45
    
I expect some what more accuracy which is not found in this case.Sometimes questions having more than 3 answers posted at different interval of time, also not reflected on main page. –  programmer_1 Apr 24 '12 at 5:49
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Caching + high rate of answers on fresh questions and/or just-edited questions explains that. Unless you have a specific example with timed screenshots where the difference is off by more than 3-4 minutes. –  Mat Apr 24 '12 at 5:57

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