Recently, I posted a question which at the first time I didn't expect that it will receive this huge ~ 12k attention. Now, I'm wondering why it received this amount of popularity among the academic community in this forum? Because I had similar questions before but none of them really received this amount of attention. I will be very grateful if someone could explain this to me or more concisely define which criteria in my question lead to this amount of popularity.

2 Answers 2


Questions with outlier level of attention are almost always a result of the "hot network questions" or HNQ.

This has been a topic of a lot of discussion on the main meta as well as the meta for individual stacks. HNQ are great for attracting attention to stacks, but sometimes that attention is a bit unwanted, including votes and answers on questions that are more controversial that end up not reflecting the home stack but rather the SE community at large (without any attention to the quality, note that 2/3 of your answers come from people who are not regulars here; this is typical of questions on HNQ but you will find that most other answers here are by regulars).

Your particular question probably got a lot of attention from people who are interested in automatic plagiarism detection, probably because everyone in the StackExchange community has been a student of some sort at some time, and many are young enough to have experienced automatic plagiarism detection. It probably received less attention (proportionally) from people who are users of automatic plagiarism detection as educators or people affiliated with journals, which is the audience you might get more informed answers from and would be more likely to find in the makeup of the regular Academia.SE community - that's simply the nature of HNQ.

In summary, if a question generates a little bit of attention quickly, it can end up on the "Hot network questions" that people see on the side bar and on the main StackExchange site. These questions tend to then attract a lot more attention from people who are just SE users or casual users of a particular stack, rather than the regulars in a stack. This has an especially large effect on stacks that are fairly small (which Academia is, though it's not the smallest). Most likely, most of that attention is not from the everyday Academia.SE community.


Schadenfreude and the tabloid effect.

Issues pertaining to plagiarism, fraud, retraction, inappropriate behavior of supervisor, sexual misconduct, "stolen" ideas, feeling of despair, etc. attract bored site users more than the serious ones.

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