Why does the Community user's profile have infinity in its "reached" section? It's definitely not a number.

This is how it looks like:

screenshot showing infinity symbol for the "reached" data of Community user


1 Answer 1


This is definitely not a bug.

You can probably put the story together about what data is associated with the community user, and the load this might place on its/their profile page - a Jon Skeet problem, but worse - using:

Most internal Jon Skeet problems - where we have performance issues exposed by hitting "numbers of things" or "sizes of things" thresholds for the first time - have been solved by combinations of denormalizing, pre-aggregating, query tuning, aggressive indexing, and moving expensive queries to readable secondaries.

Of course, the most efficient query is the one you don't have to run at all.

Last year, after seeing a few timeouts on the Community User's profile page, I said to Adam Lear:

enter image description here

This data is useless and really expensive, because it leads to complete scans of several growing tables.

Since Community is supposed to be a bot, and since a lot of these things they “did” are reassigned activity from deleted users, should we just put N/A for a lot of this?

This was after a fix had been implemented to stop calculating reach; however, the other queries were still expensive.

In October, a PR appeared, with this description:

As time goes by, we're hitting performance issues with parts of the Community user's profile since it's our catch-all "if we don't know what to do with a bit of data, let's attach it to Community". [...] since none of the data for Community on public is actually valuable, the most expedient thing to do is to just not show it.

So, that's this PR. Specifically, we are hiding:

• the Activity, Mod Dashboard, and Settings tabs

• parts of the Profile tab that have to do with tag stats or posts (keeping badges because I like the idea of Community having [Not a Robot] on SO)

• any attempt at the "people reached" calculation

As for the infinity symbol, a reviewer of the PR said:

That's a whole lot of people! 🤣 Feels a bit odd. I've got no suggestions for a better thing to display here though

And Adam responded with:

Oh, it's definitely odd. But I find it mildly amusing, so I'm going with it and subjecting everyone to my sense of "humor" 😎

"To ∞ and beyond!"

  • 1
    "a wild PR has appeared"! But, who submitted that wonderful pull request? ;) Feb 5 at 15:09
  • Can we just halt this? It's more than enough.
    – user1455377
    Feb 5 at 19:46
  • 2
    @thesmartwaterbear Can you elaborate? I'm not sure what you mean by "this." Or "we," for that matter.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 5 at 19:48
  • @AaronBertrand It's just that this answer is MORE than satisfactory.
    – user1455377
    Feb 5 at 19:49
  • 9
    @thesmartwaterbear I see. Well, most people seem to enjoy detail, the behind-the-scenes humor around a change, and the fun aspects like photoshopping Adam's head onto Buzz Lightyear's body. It's not for everyone. But I would argue that having a profile page for a background process is fun and humorous in the first place.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 5 at 19:52
  • @AaronBertrand Me too, I guess. Anyways, I won't talk in this thread anymore because extended discussions on Stack Exchange are discouraged, unless we go to chat, but I am not doing that.
    – user1455377
    Feb 5 at 19:55
  • @thesmartwaterbear Blame the "meta effect". Ref. What is the "meta effect"? faq.
    – Rubén
    Feb 5 at 20:30
  • @AaronBertrand well now that we got Adam in a suit, you're next! ;-) Feb 5 at 21:15
  • 3
    It would have been nicer if following the old links to its removed pages would display an error message saying that access to those pages has been removed and why. I used to use its activity list for various reasons, mostly to track anonymous edits, "Improve Edit" and "Reject and Edit" reviews, and uses of the Share feedback button in review queues. It was also a useful page for me back when I was active here making anonymous edits (see link in my profile). I understand that database access can be a limiting factor, but it broke my workflow. Feb 5 at 21:59
  • 1
    @Robotnik I'm not complaining about the removal; just the lack of communication around the removal. As an example, here's an email I received from another service when a feature I used was considered a bug and fixed. Feb 6 at 0:27
  • 1
    @Sonic To be fair, Prezi detected your workflow. I have never considered this workflow and I don't know how we could have discovered that you used it. All the comments here about the community user's profile page have been about performance or UI oddities (like setting their profile to use dark mode). I'm sorry that our focus was on performance and not seeking out workflows that made use of the profile page of a background process.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 6 at 0:44
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    @Sonic We can't make a meta post for every line of code we change. Well, we could, but then we wouldn't have time to change any code. :-)
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 6 at 0:45
  • 3
    @Sonic Where was this change announced? Like this one, in an answer to a post by someone who noticed the change. This post was probably overlooked in review because of the status-bydesign tag. In any case, I now kind of regret offering any info at all.
    – Aaron Bertrand Staff
    Feb 6 at 1:07
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    Thank you for posting this! I find it funny, and I'm always glad to hear fun stories like this from behind the scenes :-)
    – 2br-2b
    Feb 6 at 15:51
  • 2
    I second that, I don't really understand what is to complain here. It was a fun (and at the same time informative) read, please continue with those kind of insights! Not everyone hates fun here ;)
    – janw
    Feb 6 at 15:58

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