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The last 30 questions or so, all got at most 50 views. Except one particular question: "What's really meant by context-free in the term context-free grammar?" which got +1K views.

What happened here?

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That's a sign that the question has been advertised somewhere popular. In this case, it was automatically picked up on the hot network questions. A random selection of HNQ is shown in the sidebar on the front page, question pages and several other pages of every Stack Exchange site. HNQ can draw quite a crowd that doesn't normally care for the site.

Hot network questions are picked automatically based on answer count, question and answer score, age, and some balancing criteria to compensate for differences in site voting patterns. Because being on the HNQ list brings more visitors who vote, there's a feedback effect that tends to accentuate and self-perpetuate the HNQ effect.

In practice, HNQ tends to pick up questions whose title is either easy to understand or funny. It favors broad, easy-to-understand (but not necessarily easy-to-answer) questions that appeal to a wide audience of non-experts, not at all the same kind of questions that's popular with site regulars.

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