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I was wondering about this for some time.

It already happened to me several times in SO that I had an answer inactive for about an year and then my answer started receiving a bunch of upvotes once more. One would suppose some changes were made to the question/answers so it is brought back to the top of the recently changed, but I do not see any other changes, but the upvote.

Am I correct that the upvote is not a "recent change". Is there a way to see the recently upvoted questions/answers?

EDIT: exmples:

  • An answer I got to upvotes in the last week and no upvote for more than 10 months.
  • An answer to which I got 12 upvotes in the month of December and no upvotes for the previous 5 months. Thsi second one got an edit before the bump in the upvotes, but this should keep the question recent only for a few days, not the entire month, right?
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Are you asking simply why you ever get upvotes on old posts? Perhaps people have simply found them organically (google, 'related questions') and found them useful! You might find My Money For Jam interesting. –  AakashM Jan 23 '13 at 11:49
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Sometimes when I get an untypical spate of upvotes on an old answer it is because another question was asked and someone voted to close as a duplicate of it. Then the upvotes come from people that follow the duplicate link. In December someone linked to your 2nd question in the comments here –  Martin Smith Jan 23 '13 at 11:54
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The question might have been mentioned in various place e.g. chat, comments as @Martin said and external sites. For example I found it here by quick Googling. –  Shadow Wizard Jan 23 '13 at 12:05
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

Up-voting doesn't cause the question to be bumped on the front page.
A question is bumped on the front page (among other cases) when it is edited, one of the answers is edited, or a new answer is edited. If who edited the question, or the answer, then reverts the edit during the grace period, there is no track of the edit, but the question is still bumped to the front page.

As for the reason of those up-votes, it is possible that a question has been voted to be closed as duplicate of the one you answered. It can happen that users who see the comment about the duplicate question follow the link, and votes the question, and/or the answers.
It could also be the question is linked to some social networks, and your answer is up-voted.

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You are correct; upvotes do not count as a 'change' for purposes of bumping a post to the top.

Most likely what is happening is an edit is bumping, thereby causing the attention that results in the up votes.

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That, or the Community bot randomly bumping old unanswered posts –  Pëkka Jan 23 '13 at 10:07
    
No edits happen. I am 10k+ in SO and can even see deleted answers. Nothing similar happens. If you wish I cna link you to some examples, but I generally try to not do it in MEta, because it si generally considered bad. –  Boris Strandjev Jan 23 '13 at 10:07
    
@Pekka This is also visible in the question, and it is not my case. –  Boris Strandjev Jan 23 '13 at 10:08
    
@BorisStrandjev It's OK; if there seems to be some odd behavior, it's certainly fine to link. –  Andrew's a Unitato Jan 23 '13 at 10:08
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@Boris do link! It's not generally bad to link to examples, quite the contrary. Only when it's about specific users and negative behaviour –  Pëkka Jan 23 '13 at 10:09
    
It could also be that someone has linked to that question from outside SE (HackerNews, blogs, forums etc) and it's just receiving natural traffic that way. –  JonW Jan 23 '13 at 11:44
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There are several cases when your question to be bumped to front page

1) Adding an answer

2) Someone giving bounty

3) Someone Edit or retag of the question, or any answer

4) Successful reopening (if the question was closed)

5) Question gets some landmarks, 100 votes, 1000 views etc..

6) Some unanswered questions getting bumbed sometimes, without any of the changes. I don't know whether stackoverflow has a system for that.

There may be others, hope someone with more knowledge chips in.. As far as I know, (just an) up vote will not bump a thread to the top.

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Any reference for #5? For #6 Yes also in Stack Overflow Community ♦ bump old unanswered questions every hour. –  hims056 Jan 23 '13 at 10:28
    
@hims056 can't find any.. But I noticed that many times.. When a question gets 1000/10000 views and 100 votes to get in to front page.. –  Krishnabhadra Jan 23 '13 at 10:37
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@hims056 - Re #5 I have never seen this happen. But the badges earned for these milestones appear on the front page and if you click on the badge it links to the question. –  Martin Smith Jan 23 '13 at 12:32
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