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I am surprised how quickly MESE questions can accumulate views. It seems the views increase at a rate faster than on MO or MSE. What triggered my interest is a question (Justifications for: Why learn mathematics?) that garnered ~1700 views in 24 hrs, although there are other MESE questions which equally quickly amassed views (e.g., Why are triangles so prevalent in high school geometry?). Whereas I can point to many MO questions that get, say, 1 view per hr in their 1st few days, or MSE questions that barely get 1 view per day for a month.

Of course, MESE, MO, and MSE experience rather different traffic. I would be interested in any explanation of these views differences, either supported by stats, or just speculative.

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The main explication for these two questions, and several others, is the "Hot Questions" list that is also shown in the sidebar of most sites (MO is an exception, possibly the only one).

According to some criteria (votes, answers, etc.) some questions are chosen automatically for this list and then get considerable visibility outside the network. If the title looks interesting (quite many of our titles and questions have a broad appeal), quite a number of people click through. One also has that effect on MO: the $AA +A$ question is a recent example.

I can clearly see such peaks in the global views and visits statistics I get as a moderator. Some days we have almost an order of magnitude more visits and views than on usual days.

The other thing is that we have a non-negligible frequent user base; yet at the same time few new questions. Thus, I speculate many of these frequent users will open essentially each question, giving a solid base of views.

Finally, our ratio of visits to questions or visits to new questions is rather higher than that of the other math sites. But I am not sure if this tells much; the page-views would be more meaningful but I do not have that data for other sites (I think).

This are just some thoughts. One might try to dig deeper with more data. But the peaks should be the "Hot Questions" list (and sometimes also links posted elsewhere).

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  • $\begingroup$ Thank you, quid, you have a much better grasp of the SE dynamics than I. The Hot Network Questions list explains much (and I rarely look at that list, which is why I didn't notice). $\endgroup$ – Joseph O'Rourke May 12 '15 at 23:35
  • $\begingroup$ One final point. Visits do not turn into votes. Perhaps because many of the visitors are not regulars? Whereas in MO, visits seems more directly connected to votes. $\endgroup$ – Joseph O'Rourke May 12 '15 at 23:36
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, I'd agree that one reason could be that still few people have an account and they will not create it just to vote on one Q&A. $\endgroup$ – quid May 13 '15 at 13:30
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    $\begingroup$ Hot question - for Money.SE, where I am a mod, there are some that hit the Hot list which surprise us, the current one, Dry cleaners lost $160 pants, what should I do? may not even be on topic, and possibly closed soon. $\endgroup$ – JoeTaxpayer May 15 '15 at 9:42
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    $\begingroup$ @JosephO'Rourke [and quid] I have only just seen this meta question (although I have some recollection of providing a similar answer in the past...). The reason for that particular question spiking in views is that B. Rushton posted a link to it on reddit (thread) in the /r/math subreddit. $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Dickman Feb 29 '16 at 9:37

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