Looking at the Hot Questions list on StackExchange.com I have a feeling that its favoring the bigger sites. Because their 'hot questions' get more time in the spotlight, they in turn get hotter and keep others out of the spotlight.

To me it looks like Programmers, Super User and Stack Overflow are over-represented, which especially in Programmers case I believe is due to the users there being much more liberal in upvoting answers than the other sites.

I don't propose filtering the list, because I do believe its a great thing for every site to have their best questions in the spotlight regularly. However, I feel that its currently not working as intended. Rather than being a nice overview of the network, it looks like we're only seeing a small subset instead.

Is there any data available to prove me right or wrong?


2 Answers 2


In a way, it makes more sense to measure question's hottest by how much it deviates from the norm than by how much votes it got. Otherwise, it's based in favor of sites with that are either more popular or have a more liberal culture of upvoting. A more objective hottest would calculated by using standard scores.


The homepage already reflects a certain level of affirmative action for smaller sites. For example, Stack Overflow & Programmers are specifically nerfed, and the top questions per site get a big "hotness" boost. In fact, just yesterday, we tweaked some numbers to crank up the diversity a bit more. It's been tough to strike a balance between making sure that all sites get homepage love, and making sure that all hot questions, regardless of site, make an appearance as well. We're definitely open to suggestions.

  • 2
    do you guys have any statistics about the distribution of what sites have been featured on the list over time? I still think its too much skewed to upvote heavy sites
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Feb 11, 2012 at 18:03

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