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Checking the [matlab]-tag, I noticed that SO says that there are 1.3k followers - a few days ago it was less than 10. Is this a bug or has the tag really become so popular?

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possible duplicate of Confusion about the new tag hover-text wording – gnostradamus Jan 18 '11 at 6:19
That is a fantastic dupe, @gnostradamus! – Pops Jan 18 '11 at 14:45
I eat fantastic dupes as my breakfast. This one will be on my sandwich tomorrow. – rightfold Jan 26 '11 at 21:54
up vote 2 down vote accepted

"Followers" is equal to number of people who have favorited (aka interesting-ed) the tag plus the number of email subscribers.

It does not reflect RSS subscribers, as we do not track that.

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I already expected something like that :) Higher counts looks more appealing. – BalusC Jan 18 '11 at 3:47
Does this include wildcard interesting or just exact? – Jeff Mercado Jan 18 '11 at 7:19
Wildcards are not supported in the counts. If you hover over a wildcard in your interesting list the count is for the tag portion not including the wildcard chars. – Geoff Dalgas Jan 18 '11 at 7:56

I don't think so. I see the same explosive increase on other tags. I can think of three reasons for this:

  1. It is a relatively new feature which is not 2 weeks old yet if I am correct, people have yet to discover it and subscribe for it. Keep in mind that SO has already over a million pageviews on a daily basis.

  2. The amounts are not real-time and only recalculated on a daily basis or two.

  3. They added the amount of users who have added the tag to Favorite Tags to make it look better.

It can also be a combination of any of those.

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