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The frontpage shown to anonymous users is now very different from the frontpage shown to logged in users. Aside from the banner explaining SE and a list of popular tags, the biggest change is the selection of questions that appear on the frontpage. If you haven't seen it yet, just open any SE site except SO and MSO in anonymous mode in your browser and take a look.

I have argued in the past that the frontpage is not exactly useful for new users, as it also serves other purposes like enabling community moderation of all changes. So in general I like the idea to adapt the frontpage to be a better showcase for new users.

But what I'm missing in the new frontpage for anonymous users is a sense of activity, the page feels too static to me. The page is no longer sorted by date and time, and it seems to show many older questions. There is no way to get a sense of how busy and active a site is from the frontpage now.

There is also a large disconnect between how the anonymous frontpage works and the regular one. I find that personally very confusing, but I'm not the target audience so I'm not sure how big of a deal that actually is.

Some questions should be excluded from the frontpage view for anonymous users like closed questions or questions with a negative score. But I don't think making it entirely a random selection of somewhat recent highly upvoted questions is the best way to present a site to new users. I think it should still strongly emphasize questions with recent activity and show them in chronological order.

  • @SomeHelpfulCommenter I think it is more noticeable on the sites with less traffic. I think IT Security has had "How can I punish a hacker?" as the top post since it was first posted May 13. – JohnB Jun 4 '13 at 17:32
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    @SomeHelpfulCommenter SO seems to be special-cased, the other SE sites look very different – Mad Scientist Jun 4 '13 at 17:46
  • Ah I did miss something, open any SE site except SO and MSO – Some Helpful Commenter Jun 4 '13 at 18:30
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We are changing it to show "active" questions now (previously it was active in the top 10 tags).

This will be out in the next deployment.

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