In the past couple of days (Jan 1 & 2, 2017), there have been questions asked that have received over 20 votes and over 2000 views. Answers have received dozens of upvotes. Look here and here.

While the questions are interesting, although the bridge question is more engineering oriented and could be considered by some to be off-topic, what concerns me most is the rapid build-up of positive votes. It's almost like someone in a large group was chosen to post the question which would then be upvoted to get attention. The questions really aren't that outstanding, IMO.

What think ye? Public rabble, what think ye?

Is this an issue of concern, or am I simply letting a bit of jealousy cloud my perspective?

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    $\begingroup$ Sometimes bad (or silly maybe?) questions go viral for no reason. See the hot this month tab for many examples. I don't think that there is any kind of malice behind this (winking at Hanlon's razor). $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform Jan 3 '17 at 17:48
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    $\begingroup$ See Unusual Upvote Trends (Discussion) $\endgroup$ – John Rennie Jan 3 '17 at 18:03
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    $\begingroup$ Also -- the end of a holiday break and lots of people may be sitting around bored and tired of whatever they were doing, so they come to the site and read. It is likely not coordinated and just a function of nothing else to do. $\endgroup$ – tpg2114 Jan 3 '17 at 19:09
  • $\begingroup$ I would note that both of those questions have great answers by a particularly skilled answerer. $\endgroup$ – rob Jan 3 '17 at 19:54
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    $\begingroup$ @rob That is true, and that is why I questioned by own concern. OTOH, if it's possible to do some location analytics, it would be interesting to see if all the traffic is concentrated. 2000 and 3000 views in 2 days? Randomly? Compare that with other questions which were asked at the same time. $\endgroup$ – Bill N Jan 3 '17 at 20:34
  • $\begingroup$ @AccidentalFourierTransform That should be an answer $\endgroup$ – David Z Jan 3 '17 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ @rob indeed, I'm inclined to say that more often than not questions go viral only if they get a particularly good answer, irrespective of the quality of the question itself. $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform Jan 3 '17 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @DavidZ I guess you are right, but it seems that the question is already answered -- in greater detail -- in the post linked by JR. Maybe this question should be closed as a duplicate? $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform Jan 3 '17 at 20:51
  • $\begingroup$ @AccidentalFourierTransform If that's what you think, you should vote accordingly. $\endgroup$ – David Z Jan 3 '17 at 20:51
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    $\begingroup$ @AccidentalFourierTransform Are you saying that a few people view the question and answer, they like the answer and consequently upvote the question due to the great answer? Then they spread the word to their friends, "Hey, go over here and read this great answer. It's better than a cat video." :) $\endgroup$ – Bill N Jan 3 '17 at 20:53
  • $\begingroup$ @BillN Yes to your first point, no to the second one. When you read a post, and then read a very good answer, you are more likely to upvote both of them. A good answer makes the question look better/more interesting. But I don't think that there is a significative amount of people sharing posts with friends. $\endgroup$ – AccidentalFourierTransform Jan 3 '17 at 20:58
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    $\begingroup$ This happens all the time due to the Hot Network Questions sidebar. I've gotten a fair share of my reputation from two-sentence answers that blew up. It's just how it goes. $\endgroup$ – knzhou Jan 4 '17 at 4:05
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    $\begingroup$ There have been instances when questions made it onto Reddit, and resulted in 20k views... "the network effect" in general causes a great deal of positive feedback, and therefore non-normal distribution of views/votes. I don't think this is planned by the people asking the question. $\endgroup$ – Floris Jan 4 '17 at 15:16

Afaict this is caused by "hot network questions". A question that is approachable to laymen sees a burst of interest which gets it into the hot network questions list. This brings in a hoard of curious people from all across the network.

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    $\begingroup$ ... and, if you feel this is a Bad Thing, consider supporting this proposal, and related ones, on the mother meta. $\endgroup$ – Emilio Pisanty Jan 6 '17 at 12:20

My question about the bridges of ships is on the top of the hot questions for this month. A trivial, simple question has been upvoted 104 times up to now whereas questions that really deserved attention are neglected.

I also don't understand why my question was so interesting.

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    $\begingroup$ "I also don't understand why my question was so interesting." Because it is accessible: everyone who reads it and isn't an expert can say 'Oh yeah. I noticed that but I never knew why.' Many of the question which experts would judge highly interesting require the reader to be not only trained in physics but familiar with a particular subfield and there are just a lot fewer people meeting that standard of preparation. $\endgroup$ – dmckee Jan 19 '17 at 17:44

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