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A question I flippantly answered a while ago literally blew up today, gaining me a Skeetian amount of rep for a single question in a single day.

Is there a way to determine why this happened? I immediately wondered who was referring clickers to this question, but is that even possible? Or is there another way*?

* Goog'd but didn't see anything

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I've wanted this for a long time - I wouldn't be surprised if I've mentioned it before here, but I'm glad that this is finally an official feature request –  Kyle Cronin Jul 20 '11 at 2:09
    
Funny, I was looking at the same question, but this is hardly the first time I've seen similar events. Once Scott Hanselman linked to a post in a tweet and it pulled in something like 30 new votes. It was sheer luck then that I figured out where they came from. –  Joel Coehoorn Jul 20 '11 at 2:38
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The answer in this specific case, by the way, is reddit. –  Charles Jul 20 '11 at 6:18
    
@Charles: Thanks. Thought it probably would be something like this.\ –  Won't Jul 20 '11 at 11:11
    
Fwiw, I think this would be an awesome feature to give to 20Kers (or 30Kers, to give the gamers something else to work for). –  George Stocker Jul 20 '11 at 12:49
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2 Answers 2

up vote 18 down vote accepted

I hear you: just today I had four upvotes to an answer I wrote over a year ago, and it would be awesome to have a way to find where the traffic driving those votes and others like them is coming from. I had just finished my own (now-deleted) feature-request and someone pointed me here (odd that your question didn't show in a search on "referrer").

Here are some additional thoughts:

To prevent referrer spam, this information should only be shown via an ajax request (those specifically asking for it) and only available to those with at least a certain amount of rep. If you want to get fancy, more rep could give you the right to see more history, though that is hardly necessary.

I also considered filtering the stored information: perhaps not showing/saving referrers from within the SE network or Google, but after some thought I think it's better to be able to also see Google searches leading to a question and to preserve the chain within the network if other questions are pointing to this one. Another rejected idea is that this could only be shown to those with a vested interest (ie: post) in a specific question, but that would end up encouraging wrong behaviors (junk posts just to get referrers).

To be useful, you would want to at minimum be able to see a list of referrers today so that you can perhaps find and interact with whatever source is driving this traffic while it's still relevant. Additionally, all links into a question page (including direct answer links) should be aggregated together and any significant referrer should be available (even if it's a little stale), where significant is defined as has driven at least some number of views to the question.

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So is there such a "referrer" feature? I was thinking that another use for that is to comb that information and create libraries of features that have answers on the site(s) –  Георги Кременлиев Apr 15 at 9:27
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The same thing happened to me a while back; it was due to an "interesting stuff on SO from last month" sort of blog post linking to the answer, but I was mystified at first because Google didn't pick up the blog entry for a while. Eventually I got curious, tried again, found the entry, allowing me to both satisfy my curiosity and thank the blogger. :]

So if you wait a few days and try again you might be able to turn up the source on Google.

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Sam Saffron is waffles, the SE developer. Just in case you hadn't realised ;) –  Mark Henderson Jul 20 '11 at 6:14
    
@Farseeker: Aha! Ok, thanks. I knew he worked for SE, but not what his display name on Meta was. –  McCannot Jul 20 '11 at 12:39
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