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I see ads to other SE sites regularly on the sidebar of SO.

Are these questions chosen by hand, or algorithmically?

The reason I ask is that there was an ad pointing to this question on Seasoned Advice.

I'm all for a good laugh I suppose, but is this the kind of question that should be highlighted? It's obviously a thriving community, but if this were my first exposure to that community, and I saw that the highest-rated answer -- from the user with the highest reputation -- was (and I paraphrase only lightly):

"Why yes, there is tool that can cut cherry tomatoes in half. It's fantastic for the job. It's called a freakin' KNIFE!"

would I ever want to visit again, let alone ask a question over there?

First impressions count for a lot, and that one missed the mark IMHO.

If the selection method is algorithmic, I suppose there's no reliable way to detect sarcasm in a highly-rated answer, but if it's manual, weeeellllllllll ... :)

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3  
Bah, EL&U gives much better ads. Like this one. Or this one. –  Ben Pilbrow May 27 '11 at 21:53

1 Answer 1

up vote 10 down vote accepted

It is algorithmic, taking questions from the home page of stackexchange.com. The algorithm used is very similar to the Hotness Formula, but with some additional weighting based on the amount of traffic a site receives and to favor a good rotation of sites.

In this case, that question would rank very highly because of the unusual number of upvotes on the first few answers (22 on the first answer alone! That's astronomical for a site the size of Cooking).

Personally, I agree it's not a very good question and certainly not a good answer. If a random internet user searched "tool to cut cherry tomatoes in half" they would be very annoyed to come to a site that suggested a knife. It's very Yahoo Answers-esque. But if that's the case then the answer should be deleted entirely, not just removed from advertisements. I would suggest bringing it up on the cooking meta site.

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A++++ GOOD ANSWER WOULD READ AGAIN –  Jeff Atwood May 27 '11 at 22:36
    
Thanks for the response. Like I said in my question, I'm all up for a good laugh, and in a way, it's not a bad answer, it's just a mildly sarcastic way of stating that there's probably no special machine other than a knife that cuts cherry tomatoes. My question was more considering the people who had never been there before. Hobodave (answerer in question) is very enthusiastic about cooking and I didn't mean to rag on him, either. I'm trying to put myself in the shoes of the first-time visitor, and that particular question would be a harsh, and probably unfair, intro to the community. –  John May 31 '11 at 15:44

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