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I spend most of my Stack Exchange time in Stack Overflow, where I try to be productive. But there's this little side section with hot questions goodies from all the communities, like so, tempting me to just take a quick look:

HOT network questions side section

But if I glance at it, my chrome will immediately be an overflow of opened tabs, at the time I'm trying to be productive. So I'd really love to have those questions sent to me by e-mail, in a digest kind of way. Like Quora does. I never ever enter Quora to "see what's new/hot here" if it weren't for their digest e-mails.

For example, I'd love to be able to say: "top 15 hot questions of all communities (maybe some day I'd start ticking off some) of the whole week" sent to my e-mail, weekly in this case. Or maybe "top 10 hot questions of the day", TechCrunch kind of style.

How can I do that? Can we implement it if it's not already? Is there any workaround until it's (hopefully) implemented? There's an incredible value in these hot questions, specially for an "I like all subjects" like me, and I can't certainly be the only one here like that.

14
+50

I finally have a way!

I made a Google Script that automatically will send you the amount of hot questions that you want as often as you like.

Each question has its own recognizable icon and the overall styling is 100% StackExchange. Here's a sample of what you get to your mail:

enter image description here

I put the code in my lonely public repo if you want to contribute.

Google Scripts for noobs

  1. Go to your Google Drive and create a new File of type Script
  2. Copy the whole main.js file up here and paste it on your new Google file
  3. (optional) Tweak the three top variables to your taste as explained in the script
  4. In your new Google file go to Run > RUN_ME
  5. That's it!
7

A workaround: the "hot network questions" header on that sidebar is a link to this list, which includes all 100. When you're ready to not be productive for a while (or, more optimistically, differently productive :-) ), click that link and browse the list. There's no way to sort it by site, but that's part of the fun.

You can have 100 hot questions to ponder any time you like.

2

You can kludge this together yourself if motivated, but it is not readily available as the 'hotness score' is not stored (and would have to be calculated based on available past data).

Here is the algorithm for the hotness score:

The core of the formula (without the site-based degrading or traffic scaling) is:

(MIN(AnswerCount, 10) * QScore) / 5 + AnswerScore
-------------------------------------------------
         MAX(QAgeInHours + 1, 6) ^ 1.4

Traffic scaling probably isn't stored in the database (much like views aren't stored), which means you'd have to guesstimate the hotness.

You could use the hot questions feed as a signal to use some API magic to calculate the estimated hotness score and store it somewhere. Every time the feed gets a new entry, something must get kicked off, so you can use it to get a snapshot of what the hottest questions are at the time the list is updated, and take the top scores per week and store it somewhere.

Maybe SE will do it for you though, who knows?

  • I'm trying to come up with something using Zapier. Totally chasing in the dark though. – Carles Alcolea Jun 4 '14 at 4:49
  • I'm now doing it with a google script, seems more plausible. Anyhow, the API seems to lack "all sites" access, which defeats the whole purpose. Did i miss something in that API? – Carles Alcolea Jun 19 '14 at 11:08
  • @Carles, it would be per-site. But you would make an API request based on the question that came in to the feed which would tell your API request thing which site to ask for info from. – jmac Jun 19 '14 at 15:23
  • but in that case I'd have to make one request per site, which is kinda crazy. RIght now im scraping the data from the hot site. – Carles Alcolea Jun 19 '14 at 19:24

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