Are the links clicked counters accurate?

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.

We don’t have any way of verifying clicks, but as far as I am aware they are accurate.

A lot of folks don’t like to click links. Make of that what you will.

I have noticed that if you open a link in incognito mode, it doesn’t increment the counter.

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.

Remember, the average number of links a user will click on a visit to any given page is less than 1. This isn’t an observation about how the world works; it’s an absolute, immutable mathematical fact.

Unless the links are recursive.

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 think you have to be logged in, and it only counts each user once. It’s not meant to represent the total number of clicks, but the number of unique users who have clicked it.

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).

Is this immutable mathematical fact based on the observation that any time I click on a link on a page, I am immediately taken away from that page, to the new page that I just clicked to?

Ways to avoid fake paywalls (e.g. for major U.S. newspapers) that shall not be discussed also bypass the counter.

I think I’ve noticed that, say a link counter is at 4 - I click, it goes to 5 - I go back, click again, goes to 6 - go back, it’s back at 5.

Not counting if it opens in another tab would seem like a huge oversight. It’s not hard to throw in a click handler in the link

That said, I always open links in a new tab, and I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the link counter go up.

Same here and the counter always goes up. Never more than once, no matter if I click it day after day.

In my experience, if I just left-click an outside link on the SDMB, it opens in a new tab.

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.

There’s a setting in your SDMB Profile for this – you can set whether outside links open in the same tab or a different tab.