We on travel SE are in beta and we're always watching the hot questions list to see if one of our questions has made it into the hot questions list. Now we observed that it seems that only new questions are listed there.

So is it possible at all for old questions if they earn enough attention (votes and views) to get to the hot questions list? I'm talking about the hot list of all SE sites and not just the hot questions list of a particular SE site.

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    Hmm that other question is about getting attention, we're not asking about that, we're just asking about the functionality of the hotlist feature. Dec 8, 2011 at 15:43
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    @huMptyduMpty: Not really. Getting a question on the hot list increases the number of views to the site, which can't be done by adding a bounty to the question. Dec 8, 2011 at 15:44
  • @mindcorrosive checkout the answer for that question Dec 8, 2011 at 15:46
  • The whole point of the "hot" section is to display questions that are new and booming... I suggest you put a bounty on your question to receive more attention.
    – Gabriel
    Dec 8, 2011 at 15:49
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    @Gabe: He's not looking for more attention, he's wondering how the hot question feature is implemented. Dec 8, 2011 at 15:58
  • @hippietrail you are great... you know what he expecting, what he is looking.. very interesting Dec 8, 2011 at 16:18
  • The first sentance of my firstcomment kind of states what the Hot section does... I'm pretty sure it shows new popular questions. He wants to know if it can show old questions, I don't think it shows old questions. But I'm not sure.
    – Gabriel
    Dec 8, 2011 at 16:18
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    @huMptyduMpty: Well we're in a chat room together so we've talked about it more there than is suitable for question comments and it doesn't even require very much greatness at all (-: Dec 8, 2011 at 16:24
  • Just to clarify, I'm talking about the hot list of all SE sites and not just the hot list of a particular SE site Dec 8, 2011 at 21:03
  • @ShadowWizard This is not a duplicate of the post you marked. See the second comment: "This question referred to the 'hot' tab on Stack Exchange sites. This question was asked 2-1/2 years ago in July '09, when there was no pan-SE functionality." Mar 24, 2016 at 15:53
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    It is the same thing exactly, just changed its location from a tab in top bar to the side bar. Mar 24, 2016 at 15:56
  • @ShadowWizard Hmm... I'm really confused then by a) the formulas being different and b) quotes like this: "Note that this formula is what is used on the hot tab linked from the homepage of each site. It is not the formula used to determine the network hot list." (at the bottom of this question, which this post ultimately links to) Mar 24, 2016 at 16:02
  • @Nathaniel on second look, I'm confused too... I'll try to ping Pops and hopefully he will remember what this was really about, and if his original close vote still applies. (and if not, he got the infinite power of the Diamond... ;)) Mar 24, 2016 at 16:11
  • @Pops if you see this, can you please take a look on previous comments and see if this should be reopened? Thanks! Mar 24, 2016 at 16:12
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    @ShadowWizard Thanks! To me, this would make more sense as a duplicate of the new one (Can an old question ever resurge as a 'Hot Network Question'?) or the main post describing the HNQ list formula (How do the “arbitrary hotness points” work on the new Stack Exchange home page?) Mar 24, 2016 at 16:13

1 Answer 1


It would be possible for an older question to become "hot," but it becomes increasingly difficult and unlikely the older the question gets. The formula to determine "hotness" has the question age in the denominator:

           QuestionViews, Answers, QuestionScores, AnswerScore
hotness =  ---------------------------------------------------

… so you would need the questions to become proportionally "hotter" as time goes by to make that list. At some point, it becomes most improbable.

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