As someone active in a niche tag, I have always sorted tagged questions using the "active" tab since there isn't that much activity anyway (compared to other more popular tags). However, I recently noticed a question that I answered getting very few views or activity, so out of curiosity I clicked over to the "hot" tab and, lo and behold, the question doesn't even appear anywhere on the "hot" list for the tag!

At the time of writing this, the question I linked to above was at the top of the "active" list with only 9 views, 1 answer, and one upvote for the question. Certainly not what you would consider "hot". However, niche tags don't usually get many eyes on them, and thus typically have low views and few votes, meaning that the definition of what's "hot" may not work as well for them as it does for more popular tags.

Have others noticed this problem? Would it make sense for the "hotness" algorithm to take into account the popularity of the tags on the question, so questions without any high-popularity tags could have a lower threshold for being counted as part of the "hot" list?

EDIT: 2 more votes and 2 more views was apparently just enough to push the question over the threshold for inclusion in the "hot" list, but that took an hour or so to happen.


Of course it does a disservice to niche tags! It has to. Either you are on a niche tag or you are hot (or your questions/answers are anyway). Niche != Hot.

  • I understand why, compared to popular tags, "Niche != Hot". But if I'm just searching within that niche tag shouldn't the definition of hot be interpreted in a more relative way (i.e. relative to the other questions in that tag)? If the threshold for being included in the hot list were lowered based on tag popularity, niche hot lists would probably be a better representation of activity in that tag, while the global hot list would likely remain unchanged since the niche questions would still have less relative activity. – gnostradamus Oct 30 '09 at 14:20

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