This is similar to this question from 2014 (and this one... which is remarkably similar...) but I'm asking how it's actually collected rather than asking for it to be fixed.

As someone who submits a lot of top answers on M&TV to questions that regularly go on the HNQ list, I'd like to know how this list of names is compiled.

Does it simply strip the username from the question and post their name in the sidebar?

If this behaved as advertised and showed top answer usernames in addition to the question usernames, what would make something a "top answer"? Simply having the most votes out of all answers? Most votes with a minimum vote count of 10? All answers with greater than 10 upvotes?

  • I assume it's all random, but only SE dev can confirm this assumption. Jan 28, 2016 at 19:13
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    @ShadowWizard I doubt it's random as the names are in the identical order as the questions... But only the asker usernames.
    – Catija
    Jan 28, 2016 at 19:30
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    the names are in the identical order as the questions ..shouldn't that be your clue? Jan 28, 2016 at 23:25
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    @Mat'sMug But it doesn't answer anything about what to expect from Answers... anyway, I don't know technical computer-y stuff... I need someone smarter to explain it in little words.
    – Catija
    Jan 28, 2016 at 23:26
  • No, you're right (just looked at the linked metas), it is confusing. Jan 28, 2016 at 23:27
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    All in all, I would expect a link to be added under each user, leading to the question/answer causing him/her to appear as "Top Network User". Jan 29, 2016 at 9:09

1 Answer 1


It's just a list of people who asked top questions, reverse-sorted by question's "hotness" and with duplicates removed (so each user appears only once).

I've corrected the copy in the widget to make that clearer.

  • But what caused it in the first place? Did it ever contain answerers too? Feb 3, 2016 at 20:05
  • @ShadowWizard What do you mean by "what caused it"? Apparently the widget was changed from top answeres to top askers 5 years ago. No idea why, that's before my time.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Feb 3, 2016 at 20:21
  • Thanks, "changed from top answeres to top askers" answers my question. So 5 years old bug, finally fixed. Better late than never... :) Feb 3, 2016 at 20:24
  • Oh, another question, sort of random... if someone asks a HNQ on two different sites and both of those questions appear on the list but the user has a different UN on the two sites, will that user appear twice or will one of the UNs appear to be missing?
    – Catija
    Feb 4, 2016 at 2:01
  • @Catija UN as in "user number"? Code looks like it's per-site, so yeah, that user would appear twice (or however many sites they were the top asker at). This sort of makes sense if you assume that people might want to maintain different usernames/identities across various sites.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2016 at 2:05
  • No, user name. Some users opt to use a different name on different sites.... so, it sounds like if they have two questions on different sites on HNQ simultaneously, their name, whether it is the same or not, would appear twice?
    – Catija
    Feb 4, 2016 at 2:05
  • @Catija Yes. The code goes by site id + user id, not user name. (Going by the latter would be pretty bad, since user names aren't required to be unique.)
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Feb 4, 2016 at 2:06
  • Hmmm, that's interesting. Thanks :D
    – Catija
    Feb 4, 2016 at 2:07

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