Under Discourse, every link in a post has a number next to it for the number of times it’s been clicked on (assuming anyone has). I’m wondering if these are accurate, meaning if they are capturing all the clicks.
If they are accurate, then there are surprisingly few people reading the links posted in threads that they’re participating in.
If it’s some recent news related thread, I often have already read it. There are also cases where I’m responding to a comment rather than discussing the merits of the article. It may not matter what the link says.
And even though I fixed links to be underlined on my system, I still sometimes miss them if they’re not on the OneBox format. Usually this isn’t a post in the OP, but one further down in the thread, where I’m reading more quickly to get finished reading the thread.
No, they’re not accurate. At least they weren’t a couple of years ago. If you open the link in a new tab or in a new window, then the click often is not counted. That can even happen if you have Open External Links In New Tab enabled. So if you post a link and it looks like nobody is reading it, know that that may not be the case at all.
I’ve noticed that – if I click on a link repeatedly, only the first click counts. And I think if I click on a link that I myself posted, it doesn’t count at all.
One has to wonder at the amount of detailed record-keeping Discourse must do to manage all this. The database must have extensively detailed tables of links and every poster who has clicked on every link (so the system can know when anyone clicks on a link who has already clicked on it before).
The click counters work basically as described above, but I have indeed noticed some anomalies. Occasionally when I click on a link (not one that I posted myself) the count doesn’t go up, even when I reload the page or come back to the thread later (and yes, I’m always logged in).
I also noticed once – only once – the complete disappearance of the click count. I had posted a link, and over time the count was going up, indicating many views of the link. And then one day the count just disappeared, and never came back. The link was still there and still working, but no count.