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A couple of days ago I was showing Politics to a friend, hoping to get her to participate on the site. At some point, she noticed the "hot questions" list and I couldn't help but notice that until she read the 5th or 6th question on it, she wasn't impressed. Now, don't get me wrong, those first few questions were excellent. However, they were on topics that didn't really interest her (programming, physics and gaming, if memory serves). There even was one question that looked like complete garbage to her (a Unix & Linux question, with some bash command in its title).

A few minutes later we had moved on to stackexchange.com, and were browsing the sites list. When she noticed that we have sites on related subject matters (namely History, Philosophy and Skeptics), she asked me why there weren't any questions from those sites in the "hot questions" list. And I think she has a point. As a programmer, I find at least a couple of interesting questions on the list every day. However, I don't think the list works equally good for someone who isn't that interested in programming, or IT in general.

What I propose is simple: We should heavily promote questions from sites related to the site a visitor is browsing in the "hot" list. When I'm at The Workplace, I think it'd make sense if questions from Freelancing would get a bonus and appear a bit higher than questions from - for example - Programming Puzzles & Code Golf. When I'm on Astronomy, questions from Space Exploration and Physics should take precedence over questions from Blender, etc.

I'll admit that - other than the obvious - I don't have a decent suggestion on how to group the sites. I have absolutely no idea what people browsing Anime & Manga would be more interested in seeing from the rest of the network. Perhaps, if this or something like this goes through, it would make sense to ask each community what sites they feel are more closely related to their own subject matter.

Thoughts?

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Regarding how to group sites, I think someone had generated a Stack Exchange user graph, showing connections between two sites based on how many users from the first site also participated on the second. There's a little bit of this info on Area 51 as well - you can see "15% of people committed to this proposal are also present on x". Why not use user data to identify sites that people visiting one site may also be interested in? –  Troyen Jul 31 at 23:34
    
@Troyen I think I remember that graph, but I can't find it (it was posted here on MSE, wasn't it?). Excellent suggestion on utilizing A51 commitment data. –  Yannis Jul 31 at 23:36
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Found it: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/157976/… –  Troyen Jul 31 at 23:37
    
@Troyen That's the one, thanks. I think you should post your suggestions as an answer, so I can properly upvote them. –  Yannis Jul 31 at 23:38

1 Answer 1

If you're looking to group sites that might find one another interesting, you could do so based on user statistics by looking for sites that have a higher number of users from another site than one would expect on random. If a significant proportion of users on one site are already participating on a second site, chances are a new user to the first site may be interested in hot questions from the second site - or at least more so than from a random site on the network.

You can see a little bit of this user-based cross-site promotion already on Area 51 with the Followers/Committers statistics on the sidebar. For example, on the Japanese Culture proposal, I see:

List of sites Japanese Culture committers are also active in

Though admittedly, the population on Area 51 may not be the best representation of actual, hypothetical visitors (especially with both Meta sites on the list), but I think the idea of looking at user cross-site participation is sound and lets you avoid manually curating site interest group lists.

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