This is of course subjective, but I hope it's OK on meta.
I've been out of EE.SE for a while and now I am reading hot last month questions, to my surprise one of the most popular questions last month was this one.

I've seen a lot "identify component" questions and they rarely get more than 1 upvote even after a long time (try search "identify"). And sometimes people ask to identify some cool stuff that you don't see often.

But now there is question about ferrite bead with 15 upvotes and 3 favorites. I just don't get it. EE.SE was always quite stingy on upvotes and now all of a sudden this happens.

And yes, I know and I am genuinely happy that this post is now the first Google result for "gray box clipped to wires" (like Jason C mentioned in comments), but this is the consequence of upvotes, not the reason. Well, unless all upvoters knew that this will lead to that beforehand. So therefore I would want to learn why so many people decided to upvote it?

I understand that this discussion has no benefit to EE.SE, but this is quite shocking to see so many upvotes for such boring thing, while other cool stuff can consider to be lucky to have 1 upvote here. And many people before discussed the stinginess of EE.SE considering upvotes, so I thought I may be not the only one baffled by this.

Once again, I am all for EE.SE being more upvoting community, no offense to people upvoting anything :)

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Just let it happen, there's no rhyme or reason to what ends up making the hot question list. \$\endgroup\$
    – Matt Young
    Oct 2, 2016 at 4:21
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ Also, check out questions of the month on other sites: they're all the same quality, thanks to the abominable hotlist feature. (Well, maybe except workplace, but this is not surprising, is it?) \$\endgroup\$ Oct 4, 2016 at 13:12
  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ See Parkinson's Law of Triviality. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5, 2016 at 0:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Everybody understands it, everybody has an opinion --> everybody says something, making the result to a mess about a triviality. If there is a complicated question, for example, about a chaotic stability problem of an analog circuit, that nearly no one will understand. So it might get maybe 1-2 answers and bye. The solution is very simple: if you detect bikesched, you can do things... maybe not very popular but needed to indicate that this whole thing is not really useful. | Sometimes there is also a crowd behavior: we all write an answer and then we all vote (nearly) all the others up. \$\endgroup\$
    – peterh
    Jan 10, 2023 at 11:26

4 Answers 4


In my opinion it starts out because of the hot network question list that appears in the side bar across all sites. I'm not sure what the current algorithm is but last time I saw mention of it a large part is views and votes relative to others on the same site over a short period of time so that large sites like Stack Overflow don't flood the list. So in this case I'd say:

  • Question is posted, probably many regulars see a title of "Can you identify this component?" and click it because most of the time the answer is obvious so the view count goes up.

  • A brief but correct answer is posted five minutes later, so some probably decide to upvote that and the question.

  • About 40 minutes later a more detailed answer is posted, still pretty obvious to many but it is of higher quality so now many probably want to upvote to push it to the top.

Some time between steps two and three it hits the hot question list, then it becomes visible on Stack Overflow and other larger sites so anyone with an association bonus can upvote any post and I guess many find what that thing hanging off various cables interesting.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ Oh, I didn't think about it. Probably many upvotes are from users of other sites, not ones who hang around here. Yeah, that may explain such thing. Good answer. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 2, 2016 at 15:29

In addition to the Hot Network Questions, I suspect that it has to do with bikeshedding.

Even though I personally often upvote questions that I don't understand at all on a technical level but are well written and with a clear question, it's easier to upvote a question that you can understand. The more difficult a question is on a technical level, the less people you have that can understand it and will take the time to read it, thus, less people will stay and upvote.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Exactly this. It's ironic how many upvotes the second answer got for (IMO) not using the word "impedance", which many people coming from hot network link didn't understand. \$\endgroup\$ Oct 5, 2016 at 15:16

Overall, questions where many readers think "Huh, what is that weird thing! I have never seen that before" receive lots of attention and up-votes. While the people who have seen the "thing" before think that the question is mundane and of little interest.

This is a known phenomenon on Stack Overflow so I assume the same applies here. The more exotic or rare the "thing" is, the more attention the question will get.

Now, I actually don't think a snap-on ferrite is particularly exotic or uncommon. So as for why this particular question received a lot of attention, I think one reason could have been the very generic title. All E.E people are supposedly interested in components, so they will all click on it to see what it is about.


Just my 2cents, from a new EE-SE user and definitively a "non expert" EE guy.

Many people (like me) ask question to gain some help on EE topics (...I know, this sounds trivial, but this is what all SE network is all about, isn't it?) so it is likely that "boring" topics for you might be "interesting" enough for (the noobs of) us.

Thus, all the up-voting.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .