Hot Network Questions

Hot Network Questions (HNQ) are a big deal on SE. I think they have a place here too, but with the following adjustments:

  • Turning a question into an HNQ should not be entirely automatic. Algorithms can recommend a question for HNQ status, but there should be some moderator/high-rep-user approval process. This will (a) allow reasonable revision to a question before it goes live and (b) allow for blocking of a question that might be inappropriate (e.g., NSFW) but which is still an “OK” question (i.e., not VTC)
  • Allow moderators to remove a question from HNQ status if there are problems, without affecting the rest of the topic site
  • Limit the time a question can be HNQ - I don’t know the current timing on SE, but IMHO it is way too long. The “regular” users see the same questions and get tired of them, and even new/casual users likely see the same ones repeatedly after a few days.
  • Allow a topical site to opt out of HNQ altogether if they want to.
  • Limit the # of questions per topical site on the system HNQ at any one time.

I’d like us to explore a scheme where sites can nominate questions for broader advertising, rather than one that automatically does it and sites can override. I don’t know what that looks like. We’ve got time; until we have a bunch of communities we won’t benefit much from it.


Maybe it is too complicated (and I keep talking too much about this voting), but based on this idea I am imagining a rate based score system in place of the current vote based score system, where people can rate the questions to be in a particular class.

The voting system up/down depends a lot on the number of reads and that creates a big variance. (the ratio up/down could say something but mostly the votes are unanimous and the score is just a matter of ‘how many’ people took their time to vote and there is no nuance in a single vote)

A voting system with ‘ratings’ rather than up down will be less influenced by the number of votes.

Classes could have certain specific meaning and one of them could be ‘hot network’ (which should actually be used for ‘this question really needs an answer, needs more attention, or should be seen by a wider community’ but in SE practice results in ‘lots of people jumping on the question with more answers that mostly generate noise rather than improve the answer’).

Even more complicated. Rather than a system by which a contributor can directly vote for a particular class there could be a promotion/degradation system. This makes a post less mobile at first, but at the same time old ratings will have less influence and it becomes more easy to re-evaluate the situation of a post.

We could possibly strike a deal with Physics Overflow, Math Overflow, and Codegolf/Axtell projects for interlinking our HNQs. That would boost them and boost us as a whole, as a network. We don’t need to be consolidated, but we can have a mutually beneficial arrangement.


I’d like to see some site statistics feature which could display how effective it was in retrospect for a question to be put on HNQ list so that users can have a better idea what attracts people to the site, so that the content could be improved or shifted in a more useful direction where possible and makes sense. Not having any stats on that kinda sucks.


Your own Twitter account? Reddit, Hacker News, Slashdot, etc.?

I thought we were talking about advertising questions to users of other Codidact sites, who are more predisposed toward being interested than random Twitter followers etc.

(I also don’t believe it’s all that important, but others seem to so I was suggesting an approach that I think would be better than SE’s.)


I think the project should publish its selected HNQ or other curated list of posts on a number of social networks and news aggregator sites in its own section, so their users can link to them in their own native URL schemes.

Like for example, cross-posting reddit posts from say r/condidact_HNQ to r/technology or r/programming or any other range of topics. This would boost discoverability on other platforms and allow for easier sharing by its resident users.