The Hot Network Questions (HNQ) algorithm was changed a little time ago.
Along with these changes, an event in the question timelines is created if it goes on the list, and moderators now have an extra power: to remove a question unilaterally and permanently from the HNQ-list.
Our current track record for what questions we have put on the HNQ-list recently (just a list, no quality judgement either way at this point):
- Did war bonds have better investment alternatives during WWII?
- Who is Alexandra K. Trenfor? Did she say the quote?
- Did the Roman Empire have penal colonies?
- Where was the County of Thurn und Taxis located?
- Was there a Viking Exchange as well as a Columbian one?
- Why was Germany not as successful as other Europeans in establishing overseas colonies?
- How would one muzzle a full grown polar bear in the 13th century?
- What route did the Hindenburg take when traveling from Germany to the U.S.?
- Did Henry V’s archers at Agincourt fight with no pants / breeches on because of dysentery?
- What was the state of the German rail system in 1944?
- Catholic vs Protestant Support for Nazism in Germany
- Has the United States ever had a non-Christian President?
- What battle of WW2 is depicted in this Battlefield V level?
- When did England stop being a Papal fief?
- Why did WWI include Japan?
- Is there a reason why Turkey took the Balkan territories of the Ottoman Empire, instead of Greece or another of the Balkan states?
- What happened to the British convicts transported to America after the American Revolution?
- Was there a contingency plan in place if Little Boy failed to detonate?
- Is there any evidence to support the claim that the United States was "suckered into WW1" by Zionists, made by Benjamin Freedman in his 1961 speech?
- What was the plan for an abort of the Enola Gay's mission to drop the atomic bomb?
- What is the significance of 4200 BCE in context of farming replacing foraging in Europe?
A while ago I complained about a perceived discrepancy between Consistency of quality standards and Hot Network Questions and in light of the changes to SE algorithm and mod powers, it seems an updated discussion might be worth it.
From the HNQ questions I listed above I am still unsatisfied with the quality of these questions as they appear on the network list. Not always, but sometimes, and to me that means 'too often'.
How do they get on the HNQ-list?
We put them there.
By many quick views, quick upvotes and quick answers. Quick is only rarely congruent with quality, as explained in the linked post.
How do they get off of the list?
By negative voting, putting on hold, removal by moderator.
If fixed quickly, post-on-hold questions (re-opened) can re-enter. Mod-removed questions can not. Controversial voting seems to favour HNQ as long as the resulting number is positive.
The biggest problems of poor questions making the list are
- the representation of this site towards the network (rarely with: "good question!"),
- voting windfalls for substandard questions (thwarting part of 'our model'),
- attracting even more comments and answers of questionable quality,
- blocking good questions from entering the list (including the vote pattern distortion introduced by HNQ voting effects)
As my personal opinion on question quality alone doesn't count for much, I'd like to discuss a couple of things here:
- Should we remind people that upvoting poor or substandard questions is 'not a good thing™'?
- Should we encourage moderators to remove a few questions that do not meet agreed upon standards and formulate a policy framework for that?
- Should we do nothing and just watch, and be content with what the HNQ-algo does, and what all votes from all over the network accomplish?
Some related thoughts on MetaSE: Dealing with HNQ drama before it happens - how do we deal with questions that can lead to trouble?
Probably the first post that got moderator-removed from the HNQ list:
And as another empirical data-point, a post that was mod-removed and was then discussed on meta, with a mod stating some reasons for the decision: