# Hot Questions, inability to filter sites… and now German questions? Too much “noise”!

We used to have the ability to filter Stack Exchange wide stories. I was sad to see the ability go away. I'll admit it isn't the end of the world. I do like seeing questions on occasion that I would normally filter out.

The problem I have, though, is I have no desire to learn German. There is nothing wrong with the language per-se, it is just not something I'm interested in investing my time in.

Now, I'm explicitly forced to look at the most popular stories and am unable to remove question(s), in a language I can't even read and have no desire to learn. What's going to happen when French, Italian, Spanish, etc. sites start poping up?

Add the German site (and potential derivatives) to already undesirable "Hot" questions and all of a sudden I have to visually filter out more and more questions. It makes "Hot" questions useless for me (I know I'm not alone on this).

Hot Questions are only useful if "Hot" questions aren't drowned out by "crap" (One man's treasure is another man's trash).

Why can't we have the option to filter out sites? I know the desire is to expose us, but what if we don't want exposure to German, Apple and Photography? There needs to be the option to get rid of "crap" I'm not interested in.

How about the ability to create a "Filter" with "Hot Questions" on "These sites"? Right now "Filters" only works on tags. Why not "hotness", "Featured", "unanswered", etc.?

How about the ability to replace "Hot Questions" with a filter of my choosing (especially useful if paired with above suggestion)? Or put a filter between "Hot Questions" and "All-Sites"? Or a dropdown for my name with a selected filter?

How about the ability to remove sites from "Hot Questions" again? If not from the drop down list, from a landing page like before.

Please give us SOME ability to make "Hot Questions" useful again. Because right now, it's borderline useless due to increasing amounts of noise.

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Anyone else find it ironic someone named "Werner" is complaining about German-language questions? – JNK Jun 2 '11 at 15:08
lol Yeah... you got me there. I'm many generations American :) Love history & learning about where I came from, even if I have no desire to learn a second language. – WernerCD Jun 2 '11 at 15:41

Questions without a sufficient amount of English are now not only excluded from the stackexchange.com homepage (that's what you see in the “hot questions” tab of the multicollider), but also from Stack Exchange tweets and SE 2.0 ads.

Currently, the basic criteria for the English threshold* are:
a) The title has 2 or fewer non-English words (ignoring proper nouns)
b) The body is 75% English or more, by length

* only applies to certain sites, like german, judaism, and japanese

We're working on adding a "hot" sort to the filters feature. (Currently, the only sorts are "activity", "newest", and "no answers".) When it's finished, you'll be able to create a filter with all questions from a specific subset of sites, and then select the "hot" sort.

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Much needed addition, even without being able to see it until it goes live. – WernerCD Jun 10 '11 at 2:24
I'm curious, how do you algorithmically check if the words in a post are actually not English and not just obscure jargon or misspelled words? – Peter Olson Sep 17 '11 at 21:32
@Peter we have an English dictionary in memory – Emmett Sep 18 '11 at 0:39

The solution to this problem is to allow users to set up their network preferences at stackexchange.com. A checkbox for all the sites to include hot questions from would suffice. By default, all sites would be included.

If you are really interested in having hot questions capture new traffic by showing up in lists on unrelated Stack Exchange sites, simply make the availability of said checkboxes dependent upon a users' reputation on one or more sites.

I think most veteran users of the Stack Exchange series of sites are aware of the multiple topics and would welcome the ability to filter out those sites which clearly will not be of use to them.

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Personally, I don't mind random questions on occasion. They had the ability to "bury" sub-sites previously and removed it a few months back. It wasn't that bad, but like google search results, it's gotten more cluttered over time. I can now "block" bad websites on google. Just wish I could do the same here. Extra options with rep sounds good. I also wouldn't mind the ability to "wieght" subsites so better/worse ones are moved up/down. Maybe a multiplier, or a like/dislike button. – WernerCD Jun 3 '11 at 23:10
this feature existed for a while on stackexchange.com but it was pulled because nobody used it. And when it was pulled, nobody noticed for 3 weeks... – Jeff Atwood Jun 10 '11 at 5:53
It looks like this feature does not affect the topics shown in the top-left dropdown, it only filters the SE hot questions page. For me, and I suspect for 95%+ of users, that makes it irrelevant. – Jon of All Trades Oct 21 '13 at 21:52

It doesn't answer your exact question, but on-line translation sites provide an alternative for including other language speakers.

Some of the on-line translation sites do a reasonable job of translating web pages. You might consider http://translate.google.com/ or http://www.online-translator.com/Default.aspx?prmtlang=en. In the second one, prmtlang=en specifies English as the dialog language.

If Stack Overflow could provide a link to "translate this page" it would make sharing with other language speakers easy.

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I think you totally missed the point. It's not a matter of "he'd be interested if only he could read the page", it's more "He's not interested, and he can't even read the page anyway!" – Ernest Friedman-Hill Jun 3 '11 at 19:02