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Beside the questions in the hot questions list, there are arbitrary hotness points that are calculated using an arbitrary formula.

The hotness numbers are not particularly meaningful to most people, and they usually just make people wonder what they mean. They are basically just noise and, if I understand the term correctly, are a perfect example of information porn.

As such, they should not be visible.

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What?! I like me some information porn. –  Cody Gray Aug 8 '11 at 19:56
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@Cody Well, yes, of course, we all do, but I have to do my duty and be shocked at it on behalf of other people. –  Peter Olson Aug 8 '11 at 19:57
    
Also consider that if we didn't display these, we'd get just as many people wondering how they were sorted and why they apparently appeared in random order. Then we'd have to explain that there were actually "hotness points", and they were used to sort the questions in the list. People would just look at us like we were crazy and quickly try to forget about the Meta site altogether. –  Cody Gray Aug 8 '11 at 20:03
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I'm strangely interested in this question... –  Won't Aug 8 '11 at 20:31
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@Cody I think most people don't know that it's much different than "Active" and would assume it works the same way as "What's hot now on domain!" boxes on websites -- recent views. –  Matthew Read Aug 8 '11 at 20:47

1 Answer 1

Part of the problem, as I see it, is that the hotness points are only displayed in a few places, such as the hot questions on StackExchange. This is insufficient feedback for people to grasp what hotness really means. If we insist on displaying an arbitrary "hotness" number on the hot questions list, I think that we should increase the visibility of that hotness by displaying it on every question next to information such as asked, viewed, and active (on the right side of the screen). Seeing the hotness of each question—and how it changes in real time—may help people to develop an intuitive sense of what it means.

I also find it strange that hotness points are not displayed under the hot tabs on Stack Overflow and Meta SO, especially considering the following comment from Cody Gray.

[...] if we didn't display [hotness points], we'd get just as many people wondering how [the questions] were sorted and why they apparently appeared in random order. Then we'd have to explain that there were actually "hotness points", and they were used to sort the questions in the list. People would just look at us like we were crazy and quickly try to forget about the Meta site altogether.

If that's the case, I don't see any reason why the hot questions on Stack Overflow aren't accompanied by hotness points, as well.

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