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It has come to my attention that on the homepage on any given SE you can sort by "active", "hot", "week", and "month". The tooltip says the latter three sort by "most views, answers, and votes" over different periods of time. So it seems that this is uses a different formula than the "arbitrary hotness points" that create hot network questions. What is the formula and what is the rationale for using views here, but not in the network hot questions?

Also, what is the rationale for offering such different sorting options between the homepage and the questions tab? I have been active for ~4 months and never realized there was a sort by hotness option on a different screen (as I have always looked at the questions tab to see what was new) until today.

  • @ShadowWizard In the app you can sort by "active", "newest", "hot", "votes", and "unanswered" on a per site basis. On the main site I see "newest", "frequent", "votes", "active", and "unanswered". Frequent and active are definitely not the same thing, so why the difference between the two? – ThaddeusB Nov 6 '15 at 15:01
  • In each site you can click the logo to reach its home page (not Questions tab) and in there you have "hot" link next to the "featured" link. Note this is different from the "Hot Network Questions" and using totally different algorithm. – Shadow The Princess Wizard Nov 6 '15 at 15:13
  • @ShadowWizard Hmm, very interesting. Somehow I'd never noticed that before. That does raise other questions though, so I'll adjust the OP. – ThaddeusB Nov 6 '15 at 16:22
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The formula is explained here:

(log(Qviews)*4) + ((Qanswers * Qscore)/5) + sum(Ascores)
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((QageInHours+1) - ((QageInHours - Qupdated)/2)) ^ 1.5

As far as I can tell, it has not changed over the years and as mentioned there, it's different than the Hot Network Questions algorithm.

From what I can tell, the rationale behind this is basically what the tooltip says:

Questions with the most views, answers, and votes over the last few days

Meaning a quick glimpse of the questions that are most likely of interest to most people.

As for the rationale for offering such different sorting options between the homepage and the questions tab, the homepage offers only a peek on recent questions:

  • active:

    Questions that have been asked, answered, or updated recently

  • featured: those are questions with active bounty, meaning the bounty was started maximum 7 days ago, so quite recent.
  • week and month - pretty much self-explanatory.

And on the other hand, the Questions tab of each site is showing all questions, not only recent. Since the question age is crucial part of the hotness algorithm above, it's meaningless when viewing all questions, so no point having a "hot" tab for all questions.

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