Yes, these are total views. But using unique views changes very little; a few posts change position, and “should you donate to Wikimedia” drops to 12th, but the other nine posts in this list are still in the top 10.
I’d still be curious how many unique views there are—I’m pretty surprised at the high view counts above. I had expected the discrepancy between unique views and upvotes to be smaller.
Are there just a lot of silent readers who never upvote or do the same readers who already upvoted click on the post again and again (to read the comments)?
Yep, 90% of readers on LW and the EA Forum never vote. And 90% of voters never comment. This holds empirically for lots of forums.
Many of the posts here are either highly ranked for certain Google searches or were featured in a major news story, so I’m not surprised they brought in lots of silent readers who never considered making an account. Even the posts that weren’t in those categories were shared widely in the broader EA community, and many of those people also don’t have Forum accounts.
Unique views were pretty close to total views. Here’s a quick screenshot of the two figures for the top ten posts:
I imagine that most repeat views are people reading comments, though it surprises me that the Wikimedia post has the highest fraction of repeat views (since I assume it has many non-EA readers who wouldn’t care much about following the discussion). Maybe a lot of people who get ten Wikipedia ads over the course of a year wound up reading it a few times?
Generally for most engagement there is a vast discrepancy between viewers, people who interact and people who comment/post.
1% rule—link with more details.