I haven't gathered enough data on this to figure it out, so maybe it's Yet Another Feature I'm Still Learning About Stack Exchange.

I have several queries in SEDE; my typical SEDE usage is:

  1. load the U&L SEDE page
  2. click Log In
  3. Select the authentication method
  4. (successfully log in)
  5. Click on my profile link
  6. Click on the "favorite" tab

At that point, when I click on one of queries, it loads the query, but then sometimes goes ahead and automatically executes it, as if I had clicked "Run Query". Other times, it simply loads the query. I noticed that when SEDE runs a query, I get a stacking timer of sorts in the upper left corner. When SEDE simply loads the query but does not run it, I get a single timer in the upper left.

This is not a situation where I'm trying to run more than two queries at a time.

I am logged in to SEDE at the time -- no captcha prompts involved.

My random guesses:

  • random chance
  • length of query
  • current system load
  • my immediate history / interaction with SEDE
  • phase of the moon
up vote 15 down vote accepted

Whenever you run a query on SEDE, the results are cached for a period of time. If the cached results are still available when you reload the query, you get 'em instantly!

Note that if the query requires you to fill in parameters before running, you'll only get the cached results if you enter the same values as were specified for the cached run... Thus for such a query to render the results by default, you'd need to have loaded a permalink to the query with the values contained in the querystring, for example: http://data.stackexchange.com/stackoverflow/query/785/how-many-upvotes-do-i-have-for-each-tag?UserId=4

The "stacking timer" is actually miniprofiler, a handy tool for keeping an eye on the performance of individual requests in a web app. Here's what it looks like on this very page:

screenshot of miniprofiler

Only a handful of people get to see it on normal Stack Exchange sites, but on Data Explorer its beauty is exposed to the world!

  • Does this caching determine whether the query auto-runs, then? – Jeff Schaller Aug 25 '17 at 22:27
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    Strictly-speaking, if there's cached data it's already been run - so it just allows the page to display results without running anything. – Shog9 Aug 25 '17 at 22:35
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    ... and without having to click the "run query" button! – Jeff Schaller Aug 25 '17 at 22:47
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    One of SEDE's biggest mysteries solved! :D – Shadow Wizard Aug 25 '17 at 23:15
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  • @Shog9 - so just to confirm, there's no way to share/produce a link to a query that will auto-run if there isn't a recent cache, correct? Also, is the cache data user-specific? – ashleedawg Jul 27 at 13:22
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    The cache is query- and parameter-specific, @ashleedawg - so the cache will persist for a short time (regardless of who runs the query), but if parameters change then it is ignored. – Shog9 Jul 27 at 16:00
  • I figured had it working in the past, but I suppose I didn't notice it was just loading cached results. That's too bad, this feature would be handy for drill-down queries and such using the query:// scheme. – ashleedawg Jul 31 at 13:46

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