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Some sites appear far more often in the hot questions list than other sites. I don't have any hard data on that, as that kind of data is just not publicly available, but I'm pretty sure my subjective impression on that is reasonably accurate.

Those sites don't appear more often because they are inherently more interesting, but because they have certain voting and answering patterns that favor them in the hot questions algorithm. I would argue that the goal of the hot questions list is to present questions from a large variety of SE sites to the whole network, and to show possibly interesting questions to users that would not have found them otherwise.

To achieve this goal, the spots in the hot questions list should be distributed among all SE sites. The algorithm should try to get a good sampling of all sites, and it should try to normalize the results for varying voting behaviour. At the moment, sites that intrinsically get more votes and more answers per question seem favored in the algorithm.

So I think one part of the algorithm should try to identify questions that get an unusally high amount of votes and views for that site, and give the smaller sites a chance this way.

I'm not sure on how exactly this weighting should be done, as a complete normalization would likely not work across the huge difference in scale for all the SE sites.

As a specific example that the current algorithm is broken I'll present the hot questions list from right now, where Math.SE provides 11 our of the top 30 questions. I don't think any site should occupy a third of the whole list.

Here's another instance where one site is overrepresented at the top of the list:

enter image description here

Some sites appear far more often in the hot questions list than other sites. I don't have any hard data on that, as that kind of data is just not publicly available, but I'm pretty sure my subjective impression on that is reasonably accurate.

Those sites don't appear more often because they are inherently more interesting, but because they have certain voting and answering patterns that favor them in the hot questions algorithm. I would argue that the goal of the hot questions list is to present questions from a large variety of SE sites to the whole network, and to show possibly interesting questions to users that would not have found them otherwise.

To achieve this goal, the spots in the hot questions list should be distributed among all SE sites. The algorithm should try to get a good sampling of all sites, and it should try to normalize the results for varying voting behaviour. At the moment, sites that intrinsically get more votes and more answers per question seem favored in the algorithm.

So I think one part of the algorithm should try to identify questions that get an unusally high amount of votes and views for that site, and give the smaller sites a chance this way.

I'm not sure on how exactly this weighting should be done, as a complete normalization would likely not work across the huge difference in scale for all the SE sites.

As a specific example that the current algorithm is broken I'll present the hot questions list from right now, where Math.SE provides 11 our of the top 30 questions. I don't think any site should occupy a third of the whole list.

Some sites appear far more often in the hot questions list than other sites. I don't have any hard data on that, as that kind of data is just not publicly available, but I'm pretty sure my subjective impression on that is reasonably accurate.

Those sites don't appear more often because they are inherently more interesting, but because they have certain voting and answering patterns that favor them in the hot questions algorithm. I would argue that the goal of the hot questions list is to present questions from a large variety of SE sites to the whole network, and to show possibly interesting questions to users that would not have found them otherwise.

To achieve this goal, the spots in the hot questions list should be distributed among all SE sites. The algorithm should try to get a good sampling of all sites, and it should try to normalize the results for varying voting behaviour. At the moment, sites that intrinsically get more votes and more answers per question seem favored in the algorithm.

So I think one part of the algorithm should try to identify questions that get an unusally high amount of votes and views for that site, and give the smaller sites a chance this way.

I'm not sure on how exactly this weighting should be done, as a complete normalization would likely not work across the huge difference in scale for all the SE sites.

As a specific example that the current algorithm is broken I'll present the hot questions list from right now, where Math.SE provides 11 our of the top 30 questions. I don't think any site should occupy a third of the whole list.

Here's another instance where one site is overrepresented at the top of the list:

enter image description here

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