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I've just gained access to the site-analytics tools on Aviation.SE, and, looking at the traffic stats, an odd pattern shows up:

friday death slot, SE style

The overall-pageview, site-visit, and new-visit stats all show a distinct sawtooth pattern, where Fridays are almost uniformly the least-trafficked day of the week, with all three of these stats showing a drop of about a third to a quarter on Fridays compared to the highest-traffic day of the week.

The upvote stats show a similar tendency for the Thursday-Friday-Saturday zone to be a slow part of the week, although there's a lot more variation in the graph and the nadir falls much less uniformly on Friday than for the view/visit stats:

slo-vote late-weekdays

What is causing this strange phenomenon, and do other Stack Exchange sites exhibit it as well?

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  • 8
    Weekends are quiet too. I guess people mostly log into SE at work :D
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Sep 28 at 1:49
  • 2
    Probably most people don't would like to work on SE on friday as weekend will be approaching Sep 28 at 2:21
  • 3
    Friday lunch is pub time. Friday afternoon is for documentation only:) Sep 28 at 3:26
  • 4
    Are you sure it is actually Friday? In general, Internet traffic to web sites peaks on Thursday. From this data, Friday would be the lowest-traffic weekday, but the weekend even lower. Sep 28 at 8:14
  • Flyin'.
    – Rob
    Sep 28 at 16:20
  • Because less people need to ask questions on fridays
    – Kevin B
    Sep 29 at 19:34
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Why do you think it is "Friday"?

Users and even the company themselves make posts such as "Tuesday 3pm will be the start time of the event". I then have to check and discover "oh, what they mean is actually Wednesday 6am, better set my alarm early if I want to be involved or see what's happening".

Stack Exchange has a global userbase. There are significant enough portions from across the width of the timezone domain that, unusually for a USA-based company, they use a UTC-based timing system (which I can check by comparing the system-recorded time of a post to what my clock said, and finding it is exactly $offset hours different.

This is why you see a three-day consecutive drop, with a four-day consecutive higher region. The "weekend" is not perfectly aligned around the world. It is "the weekend" somewhere in the world for a full 74 hours - not just the 48 that most would say is the length of two days.

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Well, it might be because people are usually on SE mainly in their spare time at work. Whereas Friday after work they go out with the families, and spend time out and not on SE.

Also on weekends the same, questions are much less on weekends as well. Like on Stack Overflow, usually people ask questions while working, to solve their problems at work.

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The answer as to why the traffic starts falling on Friday is simple.

In the West, Sunday is (traditionally) a holy day for Christians while the Shabbat is celebrated by Jewish people from the sunset of Friday until the sunset of Saturday. Instead, Jumu'ah, which falls on a Friday, is the holiest day of the week for Muslims.

In many Muslim countries, the weekend is inclusive of Fridays, while in others, Fridays are half-days for schools and some workplaces.

Wikipedia

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  • 3
    This doesn't explain why people aren't online during that time.
    – TylerH
    Sep 29 at 19:47
  • 1
    @TylerH doesn't traffic drop off on Sunday, why do you think that is? If a large number of people are not at work in front of their computers they will be doing other activities at the weekend. For some the weekend begins on a Friday and ends on a Saturday.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 29 at 19:53
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    They have ---better--- other things to do? 😁
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Sep 29 at 19:54
  • @JourneymanGeek I agree, people have friends, and families to stay with, and hobbies to pursue, but for many be that a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, people do not go to work.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 29 at 19:58
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    for various reasons, some of which may include religion but doesn't necessarily have to be religion.
    – Kevin B
    Sep 29 at 20:00
  • @KevinB Whether people obey or care about their faith obligations is not the point, Friday is the first day of the weekend for people and students who work and study in Islamic countries. theconversation.com/what-is-the-islamic-weekend-133612.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 29 at 20:04
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    @Mari-LouA Well you seem to be implying that people don't browse the internet specifically for religious reasons, without saying that. I am unfamiliar with Muslim or Jewish doctrine to this extent, but I was raised in a Christian household and there is nothing in that religion, at least, that indicates one should avoid the internet on holy days. If you think people are doing other things on their weekend, then I'm confused as to why your answer doesn't mention that and focuses on religious calendar information instead.
    – TylerH
    Sep 29 at 20:06
  • i mean, obviously history/relgion plays a part in why weekends exist, however i'd argue that now days it's more about that history/convenience than anything else.
    – Kevin B
    Sep 29 at 20:06
  • @TylerH I'll repeat the question again and also add another piece of reflection “doesn't traffic on Stack exchange drop off on Sunday, why do you think that is?” And is it not true that activity is less intense during the summer than during fall and winter? Yet, the Internet is 24/7. When is the peak of activity registered across the US? Again I'm not referring to visits to Youtube of Facebook but to the Stack Exchange websites which is more oriented to work and studies, I will wager that it is during the working /scholastic week.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Sep 29 at 20:13
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    @Mari-LouA No offense, you are doing an excellent job of employing the Socratic method, but a terrible job at answering the question.
    – TylerH
    Sep 29 at 20:37

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