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In the "Stats" section on the right of the "Filtered Questions" page of the StackExchange site, what does the "user following" number mean. On most of my filters it's one which I'm guessing is me, but one of my filters has two which confuses me since I just created the filter. If someone besides me is following one of my filters, how did they manage to find it (and follow it)?

Can't really guess what the "total views" number means either. If it's other users viewing my filter, again how are they finding it?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Well, this got me to investigate a bit and here is what I found.

Each tag, or set of tags, have their own filter that can be shared by many users. If you create your own brand new tag filter for a tag or set of tags and such filter already exists, the Stats will show the statistics for all users who created that filter.

Example might explain it better: I just went ahead and created filter for tag on Stack Overflow. Here it is. Even though I've just created it, it shows:

100+ questions per day (avg)
1.6k total views
84 users following
1.7k email subscribers

So it means 84 users have created this exact tag filter.

Although the original creator of a filter is not displayed anywhere, you can also manually browse the filters by changing the URL e.g. I found this one by pure chance and after clicking "Save to my filters" the number of users following raised by 1.

As for total views of a filter, I believe this number raise whenever any user view filter for the first time or after some inactivity so even if you're the only one following the filter and you use it once a day, the number will raise.

Bottom line: users can't find your filters or associate existing filters with you; however if they happen to create the same filters (or follow the same favorite tags exactly) then they are sharing your filter without even knowing.

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Thanks, that's kinda what I figured, but I wasn't sure how the filter name fit in. I have a hard time imagining that someone else created a filter for the same tags with the exact same name, so the name must stored at the user level. – nine9ths Nov 6 '12 at 14:59
@nine9ths yes name is per user and doesn't have any real meaning. What matters is what tags are used and in what sites. (e.g. C# only on Stack Overflow like my example) – Shadow Wizard Nov 6 '12 at 15:13

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