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I came across this on the main page of Stack Overflow. If it matters, I'm using Firefox 3.5.2 on Windows 7 RC.

alt text

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Since Jeff updated this as by design, can I ask why? This does look just plain odd. – John Rudy Aug 14 '09 at 21:22
+1 for freehand circle – TheTXI Aug 14 '09 at 21:33
I did my best :) – Andrew Keeton Aug 14 '09 at 21:35
It should just be replaced with "OMG!" – beggs Sep 17 '09 at 9:31
Wait, you gave a bounty for a question that you have the highest votes for? Just a way to make 100 extra reputation? – George Stocker Oct 30 '09 at 1:12
What's wrong with 16k views? I think thats a lot better than 16 kviews. – Mk12 Nov 17 '09 at 1:17
Andrew, Looks like the image is gone from Imageshack, can you reload it using the SE image tool? – Lance Roberts Jun 4 '15 at 21:14
@LanceRoberts Sorry, I don't have those images anymore. – Andrew Keeton Jun 5 '15 at 14:51
up vote 32 down vote accepted

Just change the word "views" to "Kviews" and "Mviews" and give it the same font color as the number itself so it's highlighted when the number is highlighted.

It'll fit. It'll make sense. It'll allow the same amount of precision as always.

Problem solved.

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actually, you're right -- this is the way to go. – Jeff Atwood Nov 2 '09 at 4:02
@Jeff Atwood k would have been better than t. It's easier to understand: – alex Nov 2 '09 at 12:53
A winner is you! :) – Andrew Keeton Nov 2 '09 at 15:06
Huzzah! I shall bask in the warm glow of acceptance for at least 31 seconds. /bask – Adam Davis Nov 2 '09 at 15:40
tviews? Wait, what? ugh. "t" is Tera. If you're going to go for non SI units, please be consistent. I understand that there may be some small friction between 1000 and 1024 with k being used, but unless you spell out "thousand" and "million" then the correct prefixes at "k" for thousand and "m" for million. The base 10 vs base 2 thing is not as much friction as teraviews and megaviews will create. Do not invent your own rules when existing industry standards are more suitable. Unless, of course, you are strict adherents to the Not Invented Here syndrome, or are in marketing. – Adam Davis Nov 2 '09 at 17:31
SI uses an i after the multiplier to signify binary, e.g. MiB, so 1024 views should be Ki views and there would be no confusion between binary and denary multiples. The real test will be what the StackExchange users think, but at least for SO can we have SI multipliers? – John Ferguson Nov 3 '09 at 0:13
I hate it. (Useless padding) – Stu Thompson Nov 14 '09 at 9:04
So, I had to do a slightly convoluted Google search just to figure out what kviews were.. What about using <div class="warm" title="thousand(k) views">kviews</div> or, even better, slap <abbr title="thousand(k) views">kviews</abbr> in there? – D_N Feb 21 '10 at 8:17

What about the mathematical notation? 1e5, 2e5 look quite good and I'm sure almost all programmers understand it.

View counts are displayed as 2e5, 3e5, etc.

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I love it. Whahahahha.... – Stu Thompson Nov 14 '09 at 9:06


This requires more scaling than 123 thousand views to fit 4 characters horizontally, but it doesn't try to cram the word "thousand" between the number and "views."

alt text

<div class="views">
    <div class="mini-counts supernova"
        style="height: 23px; font-size: 140%; padding-top: 2px;">123k</div>
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Here's the reason it's status-bydesign, since clearly you all find it an issue.

It's definitely intentional (thus not a bug), although I don't like it much myself.

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+1 Good detective work. – Andrew Keeton Aug 14 '09 at 23:18
just to be clear, I am open to changing this, if people help us out with some markup html/css fragments. Simply scaling the number down looks profoundly bad. – Jeff Atwood Aug 15 '09 at 0:06


I think this looks pretty good. You lose some granularity on the number, but no extra CSS is required to shrink the numbers or realign stuff. Unfortunately, the leading '0' won't fit.

alt text


Here's some more precision with a smaller 'm'.

alt text

<div class="views">
    <div class="mini-counts supernova">.12<span style="font-size: 50%;">m</span>
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+1 Of all ideas presented so far I like this one best. It has the advantage that it is consistent with nnk and nnm. The "thousand" doesn't fit in this scheme anyway. – Ludwig Weinzierl Aug 15 '09 at 21:25
this is better (and also something we experimented with) but it's a HUGE loss of precision. The problem is that the "m" is huge. Maybe if we just drop the "m" and go with .dd – Jeff Atwood Aug 15 '09 at 21:44
@Jeff On the other hand, 100k+ view questions are rare. That fat, bright m screams "look at me, I'm special!" – Andrew Keeton Aug 15 '09 at 22:12
Is it conceivable (probably not) to drop the m size down to the character size specified in Andrew's other answer? In other words, keep the decimal & number their current size, but drop the m and align both to text baseline? That would accomplish all necessary work, and the smaller m may look better. I don't mind the precision loss; let's be honest -- at 123,000 views, what's another thousand or ten? :) – John Rudy Aug 15 '09 at 23:47
@John I added your suggestion. Alternatively, with the extra space from the smaller 'm' we can have "0.1m views" also. – Andrew Keeton Aug 16 '09 at 0:23
a nice effort, and we experimented with all these, but still not liking it. The only one I like is dropping the M entirely and going with .dd or d.d , but then people will complain about that too. Whichever way we pick, we lose, so I'm going with what we have. – Jeff Atwood Aug 16 '09 at 3:02
How about just being geeky and state 0.123 x 10^6 :P – Ólafur Waage Oct 30 '09 at 1:05

123 thousand views

(See my other answers for more possible solutions)

I took a crack at this for Jeff and everyone else to take a look at. I'm no CSS-whiz, but here it goes.

The "What is your best programming joke?" question wasn't in the main view when I started editing so I commandeered a random question.

I made sure to keep "views" vertically-aligned with "answers" because I think that would be the most visually-jarring thing if they were unaligned. This meant scaling down the views number somewhat.

I understand that Jeff is opposed to scaling the number, but maybe others won't find it so bad. I find it favorable to the current situation.

alt text

.thousands-number {
.thousands-text {

<div class="views">
    <div class="mini-counts thousands-number supernova">123</div>
    <div class="thousands-text supernova">thousand</div>
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Still looks a bit strange to me, have you tried a negative margin on the number instead of scaling? – Ian Elliott Aug 15 '09 at 0:38
Agree that it's strange, but it's 10X better than "views thousand" – Joel Coehoorn Aug 15 '09 at 0:54
Those small numbers don't look as bad as Jeff has made them out to be – Kyle Cronin Aug 15 '09 at 1:45
I do appreciate the effort, but we've tried similar things and I don't like either one, visually. What we really need is a way to represent 100,000k+ in 3 characters. – Jeff Atwood Aug 15 '09 at 5:10
maybe what we need is another visual effect on the number that implies "hundred thousand". The millions case is actually easier, since we can use 1.0, 1.1, 1.2 etc and that fits in 3 chars. – Jeff Atwood Aug 15 '09 at 5:12

How about using a log10 scale for views and changing indicator to a popularity or interest index rather than raw number of views? You can then not use a number but a narrow color bar to indicate views. One can also add a title to the HTML element which would show the raw number on hover.

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Maybe I'm missing something here, but I'll throw in two other possibilities:

  1. Make the view-count area wider, so that it can accommodate 4-digit counts (i.e. 1000K views, 1000M views). I guess the current version is trying to keep the view-count area the same width as the votes and answer count boxes, so maybe this isn't a reasonable solution.

  2. Or don't worry about representing very large values exactly. Maybe once you go over 99K views, you just display it as ">99K views". We already lose precision anyway once you get into the thousands, and is it really that important to know a question has exactly 100,254 views? On the other hand, if you still want to see the real view count, you could consider still displaying the total number of views in a smaller font, where "thousands" was displayed before.

Something like this:



(100,254 total)

Or, if you can't spare the extra space for the ">" character, add text above the view count to specify "greater than" (obviously with better alignment):

more than



(100,254 total)

Of course, then we have the same problem with how to display the total when it gets really large. Maybe we should just cap it and anything over 99K views is just displayed as ">99K" views.

If you still want to show the total view count somewhere, you could display the approximate view count on the questions tab, and then display the total view count only when you actually click on the question, perhaps above or below the title in a smaller font, or below the question next to the asker's information.

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Jeff has been pretty adamant (with good reason, IMO) that the width and size of the view column not be changed. He has also been very concerned about loss of precision. We programmers are a finicky bunch when it comes to numbers: "If I can get 3 digits of precision, I want them!" – Adam Davis Nov 2 '09 at 18:14
@Adam: I agree with you (and Jeff) on the desire for precision, but I thought I'd provide an alternative nonetheless. Sometimes we programmers can be too finicky :) – Mike Spross Nov 2 '09 at 18:21
Also, that's why I also suggest placing the actual view count somewhere on the question page, so you can see it when you view the question, even though the summary view would only display a very approximate value. – Mike Spross Nov 2 '09 at 18:22

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