Are Stack Overflow Top Questions always the latest questions asked?

I just saw a question which was asked yesterday, but it appeared in the Top Questions. This is the question.

  • 2
    That particular question was edited 12 minutes ago (as of now) and that bumps them.
    – PeterJ
    Dec 24 '13 at 7:06
  • 1
    No, not all new questions are listed in top questions. Otherwise it would be the same as new questions.
    – juergen d
    Dec 24 '13 at 7:08
  • Ah got it. Thanks :)
    – prime
    Dec 24 '13 at 7:13
  • 2
    "Top Questions" is the caption of the "interesting" tab. There is complicated algorithm that decides which questions appear there, I mentioned it here. Anyway as you can see, the last parameter is "question last activity date -1 × (seconds / 15)" so the time question was asked is not relevant at all. Dec 24 '13 at 8:25
  • @ShadowWizard quite nice an answer and apparently the algorithm is really more complicated than I thought Dec 24 '13 at 8:32
  • @Shadow Wizard thanks for the explanation.
    – prime
    Dec 24 '13 at 9:01

The top questions have four categories:

  • interesting - these are especially tailored for you according to the tags you subscribed in, together with just few side questions that the SO engine provides just to not frame you entirely. The first few questions are taken according to last change order.
  • featured - these are all the questions with bounties opened to them sorted according to last change.
  • hot - i am not entirely certain of the algorithm that determines a question as hot.
  • week and month - more answer, views and votes rates question higher in these rankings

Last change is the largest of:

  • The time the question was posted
  • The time the latest answer was posted
  • The time of the latest edit of question or answer
  • Not that apparently comments do NOT bring question on top of the list

This all means that the questions will be mostly the latest of your interest if by latest you mean according to the last change described above.

NOTE: apparently this is more of naive self-explanation that was good enough for me. However, see the link @ShadowWizard had provided in the comments - right there you have it strictly defined and apparently it is quite more complicated than that (though time still is quite decisive factor).


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