I've just received the Announcer and Booster badges for a question (not mine! I haven't even answered it, and it's over a year old)

The only thing is, I never share questions. I don't have a high traffic blog, twitter or anything like that which could deliver 25, never mind 300 unique IP address clicks.

Is this a bug? Any way to find out?

  • 1
    I read the title of this really hoping to come and find out about a "Strange" badge, because that sounds right up my alley... Jul 15, 2013 at 21:50

2 Answers 2


I had the same thing happen to me. This is because of arstechnica.com. When they do a piece on some recent Stack Exchange discussions, they include some links. Those links will use the id of the featured user as the "share-id".

Your answer has been featured in What to do with a popular project that you no longer want to maintain? If you check the links, the link to your answer ends in /14363, which is your id. And the same for the link at the end of the section. So when visitors click those links, they count as your share.

  • Which is proof that "option 2" in my answer applies - though in this case it looks like it's deliberate policy by ArsTechnica to reward the featured user - thanks for doing the research!
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jul 15, 2013 at 9:13
  • 2
    @ChrisF But I don't think it's by accident. I think they do it on purpose, since they're doing it for every link with different id's depending on the user they credit.
    – Matsemann
    Jul 15, 2013 at 9:15
  • 1
    Ah yes - I amended my comment.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Jul 15, 2013 at 9:16
  • I see it now, they have created a link to the "how to tell a client".... question using my ID.
    – ozz
    Jul 15, 2013 at 10:43

It's not a bug but a "feature".

The way the links are tracked are via the "share" links which are of the form:


where the first number is the question id and the second is the user id. The link above is for this question and has my user id. If it was your share link it would be:


There are two possibilities:

  1. Someone else has shared a question but introduced a typo to the link which just happens to match your user id.
  2. Someone has constructed a link of this form and used your user id - possibly by accident, but in the case of Ars Technica it appears to be deliberate policy to "reward" a specific user (see Matsemann's answer)

There are no moderator tools available to tell us where incoming links are from. I assume that the community team would have access to this information, but I don't know whether they'd share that information.

  • I had this happen to me, and used a specialized search to see who had shared "my link" on the internet. See my answer for the findings.
    – Matsemann
    Jul 15, 2013 at 9:12

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