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How does Stack Overflow calculate the number of views in a question?

How does Stack Overflow count the times that a question is viewed?

What combination of IPs, cookies, or authentication info is used for this purpose? How does it maintain related data in its DB effectively?

In general what is most accurate method to count number of distinct real people that have seen a webpage? (Not number of times that a page is requested.)

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migrated from Nov 2 '12 at 15:19

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

marked as duplicate by George Stocker Nov 2 '12 at 15:30

This question was marked as an exact duplicate of an existing question.

There is no reliable way to count the number of distinct people, UNLESS you have a login system. dun dun dun – thatidiotguy Nov 2 '12 at 14:30
@thatidiotguy Do you mean that SE just count registered users's visit ? – PHPst Nov 2 '12 at 14:31
I am not necessarily saying that. I am just saying if they do not do that, then the number is more of an estimate, as IP addresses change all the time for most clients. Cookies can be deleted by the client similarly, (just see how easy it is to get past the NYT's web site "article limit"). – thatidiotguy Nov 2 '12 at 14:32

See above comments, but basically:

I do not know how stackoverflow counts the views of a question, but if it not done by counting the number of loads by registered users, then the number cannot be said to be 100% accurate.

IP addresses change, cookies can be deleted, etc. etc.

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