The system tells me I have 'reached' about half a million people on EL&U in 21 months, which is quite a remarkable figure.

Can anyone tell me if this is done on the basis of IP addresses, that is to say does it tell me about 'readers' of EL&U who are not logged-in members ?

Or is it just a count of 'page-access' incidents from within EL&U by logged-in members of the site ?

1 Answer 1


From We're working on a new stat to help convey the reach of your posts here, the following snippet taken from the announcement posted December 2, 2014, shows that the data displayed is only an estimate

Views of pages where your helpful posts had some decent probability of being seen.

That doesn't mean we know the visitor scrolled to your post, or that your answer helped them - we simply don't track that. But we should be able to estimate the likelihood of a given question or answer been seen as useful by viewers without enabling the 25th answer on an insanely popular post to get a lucky up-vote and credit all the views to the new author.

That's how we got to the current method, which counts views on the following:

  • Questions
    • Non-deleted only
  • Answers - Views of the parent question for answers that are:
    • Non-deleted AND
    • Score > 0 AND
    • Also meets one or more of the following criteria:
      • In the top 3 answers OR
      • Is the Accepted Answer OR
      • Score at least 5 OR
      • Has at least 20% of the total vote count

There are several SEDE (Stack Exchange Data Explorer) queries available for those curious to find the total number of views any one person's contributions have generated. For example, this query shows between 2011 and 2019, Barrie England's answers have helped a staggering 48,552,008 people/visitors.

Related: What is "People helped" and why does it exist at all?
What's the formula for the "impact" figure on my user profile page?

  • Thank you. Appreciated.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 11:14
  • 6
    One caution that may be worth noting in this regard is that the algorithm doesn't seem to be able to distinguish between page views that a question received before you posted your answer to an old question and page views that it received after you did so. A couple of months ago, one of my late-posted answers to a heavily visited old question either reached five upvotes or became one of the top three answers—and the algorithm suddenly awarded me 400,000 helped people. Gratifying, but hugely inaccurate.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jul 8, 2019 at 19:20
  • 1
    @SvenYargs: So, to paraphrase Newton ... " If I have been seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."
    – Robusto
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 23:04
  • @Robusto: For some reason, the fable of "The Gnat and the Bull" springs to mind as well.
    – Sven Yargs
    Commented Jul 16, 2019 at 23:18

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