A couple of days ago this question has been asked (IMHO a good question and it also received two good answers).

Now I noticed that this question has extremely many views, especially compared to other questions the last days. IIRC, two days after the question has been posted, it had like ~5k (also very many), at the time of writing this post here ~16k and now 20k views?! As far as I can see, it neither has become a hot network question nor was posted on Twitter. Also there were no edits which would make it appear on top again.

What is going on here? Is this a bug? Or why does this question generate so much traffic? And if it is really no bug, then why on earth do the question and answers only have a few votes and other interactions? If you compare this with other questions with high view numbers, this seems very strange.

  • $\begingroup$ A priori: Veritasium (YouTube) $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 20:36
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    $\begingroup$ @PeterMortensen Sorry, I don't understand. Can you explain? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 15, 2023 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ With several million views for every video, Veritasium videos that has some relation to physics will usually generate one or more questions and presumably subsequently be found by search engines. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 0:20
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    $\begingroup$ I still don't understand, sorry. Why this question? Why that low interaction (votes, comments, answers etc.)? And what makes you think that a Youtube video for a public audience talks about boundary conditions for a model system and the thermodynamic limit? I might be wrong, but I don't think that this is of any interest for non-physicists. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 0:26
  • $\begingroup$ At a guess I'd say the number of upvotes is relatively small compared to the number of views and the hot network question algorithm didn't like that. So lots of people looking but without registering any interest. As for why it gets views, people are just addicted to sharing everything and anything on e.g. WhatsApp and Discord and people are just addicted to clicking any link they get, whether it's really of interest or not. But that's not a proper answer, just guesswork. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 17, 2023 at 19:42
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    $\begingroup$ @StephenG-HelpUkraine Thanks for your comment. But which community has ~20k members clicking on a link they are not interested in? I mean the low interaction (votes etc) is probably due to the fact that most viewers are not members on PSE, no? I checked the physics subreddit this morning, but to no avail (I hope I did not miss something). I am really curious how this question (again: I think it is a good one, and both answers, too) raised so much attention, probably outside of PSE. I cannot be the only one thinking that this high number of views is uncommon for this kind of question. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 14:39

1 Answer 1


Oh boy. Did you take a look at the title? 8.5 billion searches take place per day on google. 10 to 20% are related to you know what… And that title has it all!

  • $\begingroup$ I had to think about your answer a minute. LOL $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 18, 2023 at 20:57
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    $\begingroup$ If you make a search on PSE and take the newest questions containing "XXX", however, you will see that they do not, in general, generate as much as views as this question. But still quite many. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 0:40
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasFünke sure but try XXX model $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 22:48
  • $\begingroup$ @secr you mean linear algebra of course… or possibly differential equations? $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 22:50
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeroTheHero I don't know if your comment was meant to be ironically, but I tried and got the same results... $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 22:53
  • $\begingroup$ @TobiasFünke it wasn’t sarcastic at all. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 19, 2023 at 23:18
  • $\begingroup$ @TobiasFünke To understand, you have to search with Google, not with the PSE search tool. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 0:19
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    $\begingroup$ @GiorgioP-DoomsdayClockIsAt-90 Yes, I understand this answer. But I don't buy that only because the appearance of "XXX model" or similar, so many people click on this link. As I said, there are other questions here with similar title, with a lot less views. Hence my previous comments... I mean, even if this question somehow appears on a Google (or related) search, why would anyone searching for "XXX model" is clicking on a physics link? (Except, perhaps, they have some Heisenberg kink --no judging here). $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 0:28
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasFünke Well, try with Google the difference if you use the three keywords "XXX", "model," and "open" or "XXX", "model", and "ansatz". I see a huge difference in the number of results. The ratio could explain the ratio in the number of accesses. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 0:42
  • $\begingroup$ @GiorgioP-DoomsdayClockIsAt-90 Yes, I agree here, I guess. But I still don't understand a) who searches for "XXX model" and related key-words (according to Google ~50-75 people/hour) and b) then clicks on a physics link (without having this initial intention). But maybe you all are right and it is just a matter of statistics and the answer to my question is "sex sells"...but ~24k views are still very many. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 0:48
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    $\begingroup$ @TobiasFünke There is the possibility that part of those 24k accesses were by automatic programs. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 21, 2023 at 1:20
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    $\begingroup$ I’m also willing to bet that some people may not understand English or be able to decipher “physics” so well, and just click on the link. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 4:03
  • $\begingroup$ @ZeroTheHero Good point. $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 23, 2023 at 9:29
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    $\begingroup$ I would never have thought that an answer to a meta question on physics SE could possibly make me spit my milk tea on my screen. Thank you dear sir for your keen insight; I'm not sure if it's true but I choose to believe. How I pity the poor souls who, in their hour of most dire need, ended up clicking on whatever link Google would throw at them, blinded by an erotic frenzy. Those who are ready to find ecstasy in the desiccated arms of Heisenberg are the true pioneers of pleasure. I like to think that, statistically, out of 25K, one of them might have succeeded $\endgroup$ Commented Nov 28, 2023 at 10:04

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