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I am curious because one of my questions suddenly got 100 more upvotes and 40k views apparently overnight. Is it possible to know where the sudden traffic came from, just for curiosity? Probably it is linked by an external article or shared by a popular person/media?

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Unfortunately, there's no easy way. You might be interested in supporting these related feature requests on MSO:

That said, if you do a simple search for the question's title, you'll find out it's been shared on several sites. The more likely culprit for the question's sudden popularity seems to be this recent Hacker News thread.

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For your particular case, it turned out rather simple, because spikes like 40k views overnight tend to leave noticeable traces in search engines. The way to find out when you're curious is as follows:

  1. Enter title of the question into search engine
    "How should I behave as a developer in a project that's headed for failure?"
  2. Study results. In this case, 6th link from top shown to me by Google looked promising
    "Hacker News - How should I behave as a developer in a... | Facebook"
  3. Following the link brought me to a page that mentioned:

    3,203 like this
    20 hours ago

Above seem to match the sudden spike of the interest you describe.

For the reference, HN page also pointed to discussion at their site:

  • I think 3,203 likes refers to the number of the fans in the page, not people who "liked" the article – Louis Rhys May 30 '13 at 9:26
  • @LouisRhys yeah looking at their other messages, it seems so (for example facebook.com/hnbot/posts/514747705247182 currently shows 3204) – gnat May 30 '13 at 10:45

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