If I browse recent questions on Stack Overflow, I see that mature questions (a day old or so) tend to have a number of views from a few dozen to a few hundred. Except for a few which have thousands. There doesn't seem to be a smooth distribution - I rarely see questions with 500-900 views, for example.

How come those few questions get so many views? Are all those views coming in from searchers or browsers on Stack Overflow? Or are they coming in on links posted to external sites? Do we have any information about this? Any anecdotal evidence? Any wild-eyed conspiracy theories?

To put it another way (or perhaps to ask another question), if I was a shameless rep whore, should I be posting links to my questions on other sites?

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    I wanted to add the tag idle-speculation, but i'm too larval :(. – Tom Anderson Mar 14 '11 at 19:03
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    If you were a shameless badger, you should be posting links to your questions on other sites. Whether anyone votes or not, that'd require them to have accounts. – Grace Note Mar 14 '11 at 19:04
  • Advertising of course. I think mostly from the StackExchange dropdown on the upper left, "Hot questions" tab. Perhaps the stackexchange.com home page. I got some outrageous rep for hu-hum answers through it. Think of it as a lottery. – Uphill Luge Mar 14 '11 at 20:38
  • See also Over 243,000 views in 3 days? – Arjan Mar 14 '11 at 22:48

It's usually because someone with a lot of youtwitface followers goes and posts a link to it, or sometimes it's because someone has asked a question that thousands upon thousands of people google for (that question gets several hundred incoming google links every single day).

For the record, it irritates me when ho-hum answers get a bajillion upvotes because of this publicity. Mainly because it's never happened to me.

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    You're forgetting link aggregation sites like reddit, hacker news, Digg and Delicious – Yi Jiang Mar 15 '11 at 3:51
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    @Yi Jiang, I didn't forget them per se, but they didn't fit in with my little graphic, so they were conveniently sidelined... – Mark Henderson Mar 15 '11 at 3:58
  • You twit face! How could you forget the voice of teh internets? :P – Yi Jiang Mar 15 '11 at 4:03
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    @Yi Jiang - Maybe.. You Delicious Redd Twit Face Digger? – Mark Henderson Mar 15 '11 at 4:07
  • It also annoys me when ho-hum questions get a pile of answers and votes because of this publicity. Mainly because one of my colleagues has asked one. – Tom Anderson Mar 16 '11 at 14:44

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