Altmetric is a service that attempts to track the online impact of scholarly articles, which it does by keeping score of mentions on Wikipedia, Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and the like and then using
questionable cutting-edge statistical methods for producing one shiny number for bean-counting administrators proud universities to list as part of their impact. On individual papers, it's the little multicolored rosette that looks like this:
As part of their sources, Altmetric claims to include, among others, quote
– Q&A (stack overflow)
Questionable numbers aside, this service does have the potential, if it becomes reliable enough, for authors and readers to find people and places that have found some bit of research useful, and to explore those in more tailored and qualitative ways. As regards Stack Exchange, for example, the Physics site has 5k+ posts that reference either DOIs or the arXiv, and I'm sure that (i) many of those authors would be glad to hear of it, and more importantly (ii) the site would often benefit if they managed to find their way here and provided input or perspectives.
However, I'm sometimes confused about how the scraping works, and it often feels inconsistent to me. As an example, this Altmetric page turns up this answer but not this question, even though both were written at about the same time in July of last year, and there are some pretty new mentions in Altmetric.
Now, I know that this is an external, commercial service that probably does not feel like it owes any transparency to anyone (which strikes me as ridiculous, even given the pressure to minimize gamification, but anyways), but I'd still like to know if Stack Exchange as a platform has some knowledge of how this works. In particular, given that these guys presumably trawl through the whole corpus of SE posts on a regular basis, I imagine that they've got some special plug they can use, or at the very least they'll have turned up on the server logs. So - is there some method to the madness there? As an extreme, does SE directly report DOI mentions to Altmetric to save them the scraping bit? Or is this the sort of stuff on which SE cannot comment because agreements?
I realize this isn't such an important question, but I'm curious - and ultimately I think it does have some relevance to the impact of posts on this network, particularly as I would argue that mentions in SE posts are on average probably better indicators than social media hits, and it would be nice if they were consistently represented in this sort of quasi-trackback system.