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The two tabs have following tooltips

  • Active : "Questions that have recent activity"
  • Hot : Questions with recent interest and activity

They seem to display different questions with some common ground.

What is the exact difference between hot and active ?

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These 2 tabs have always confused me and I wonder if they are both necessary? I wonder if the SO team has any data on the popularity of these 2 tabs. Are users generally using one and ignoring the other? – Kurt W. Leucht Jul 30 '09 at 19:32
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I think Hot is taking into account a different measurement of the "velocity" of that question such as number of views, number of votes, and number of answers within a given time frame. Active questions are questions that have immediate activity on them (i.e. a question with a new answer is immediately bumped up).

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Active is based on creation / last modified time of any answer or the question itself. So the recently changed questions or new ones are in the active list.

Hot seems to be a mix of how recent the question and how busy it is. (votes, answers, comments etc)

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hot = most activity

active = most recent activity

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