I want to delve into a new technology, and am not so interested in answering questions in my regular tags any more.

So I deleted all my old favourite tags, and created a set of new ones.

However, the "interesting" tab, as well as the other question views that I know of, still show mainly stuff from my old tags, and only an occasional question from the new one:

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Why is this - could this be Kevin's interest predictor engine at work - which is super cool, but in my case now explicitly contradicts many of my new "wants"?

enter image description here

Do I really have to actively "ignore" the old tags that I don't want to see? That might conflict with my new area of interest, though, as there may be some overlap between old and new tags and I would want to see them even though they contain an ignored tag.

Edit: ignoring my major old tags (which is not ideal at all) improves the results, but there is still plenty of stuff from esoteric tags that never were even on my "interesting" list - that I probably just happened to view, or be active in, a couple of times:

enter image description here

I can't possibly begin to ignore all the tags that show up here.

It appears that my previous question activity is stronger than my expressed preferences - even for stuff I've never heard about, perhaps because of sheer quantity. Can this please be tweaked?

  • Might be caching, when did you change your tags? Feb 8, 2014 at 21:06
  • I gave it fifteen minutes to refresh, that should be enough I think?
    – Pekka
    Feb 8, 2014 at 21:07
  • Well, the whole algorithm is being changed these days so nobody except the devs can know the formula used right now... but it would be very weird if favorite tags are not part of it. Feb 8, 2014 at 21:11
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    @Pëkka maybe Stack Overflow is telling you to stick with your old tags Feb 8, 2014 at 21:23
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    I believe the algorithm now also pays attention to what you view. So if (before the change) you looked at a lot of questions with your old preferred tags, it's going to take a while for that to fade. Read lots of questions in your new tags, that might speed the process. Feb 8, 2014 at 22:19
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    – Pekka
    Feb 9, 2014 at 0:54
  • Any updates? Was it just cache? Feb 9, 2014 at 12:28
  • @Sha nope, the ratio of old and new questions is still about the same - although new questions seem to show up further up in the list now. But that may be coincidence.
    – Pekka
    Feb 9, 2014 at 13:29
  • So probably @Kate is correct and the favorite tags have lower weight than views. Maybe we need a button "reset views counter used for interesting questions calculation". ;) Feb 9, 2014 at 13:30
  • @Sha heh. A button sounds like a bit much, but a change of "interesting" tags really should be made to weigh more heavily, as it's an expression of the user's wishes
    – Pekka
    Feb 9, 2014 at 14:02
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    Well, I exchanged some comments with Nick under this answer of his recently, you can ask him directly and see what he thinks. Feb 9, 2014 at 14:11

1 Answer 1


Why is this - could this be Kevin's interest predictor engine at work

  • which is super cool, but in my case now explicitly contradicts many of my new "wants"?

The ML prediction algorithm is an input to the normal interesting tab algorithm, along with your favorite tags (or frequented tags) and ignored tags. Your configured Interesting and Ignored tags will override the ML prediction (they're actually given about 50% more weight than the equivalent ML prediction).

The ML prediction will eventually learn of your changed preferences, but it will take quite a while before your new activity overwhelms the old activity.

What I suspect is going on with your homepage is that other factors (such as editing, voting, and answer rates) which are considered on that page are pushing particular questions higher without being concerned with tags per-say.

  • You mean editing/voting/answering in particular tags overrides the end result? Because the individual uninteresting questions that show up I have never seen before. (They are, however, all in tags that I may at some point have answered a question in or something, I'm not sure.) Does this mean trying to undo my previous track record could take months or years? Then a new account starts looking like the better option :(
    – Pekka
    Feb 10, 2014 at 23:02
  • ... Interestingly, the bottom half of the questions list tends to be solid yellow. It's just the top that isn't. But looking at the way it is now, I could live with the status quo.
    – Pekka
    Feb 10, 2014 at 23:26
  • @pekka I mean a question that has recent activity tends to float to the top of all homepages, doesn't matter who edited/whatever. Feb 11, 2014 at 0:43

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