I've seen a few good questions on HNQ in the more distant past, but in the past few months, almost any time I've seen a question featured in HNQ it's been one that has attracted a lot of activity because of

  • A poorly-posed question that people can't quite seem to find a close reason for, but that creates endless discussion because people can't agree on what the question means or whether or not it's actually been answered, or the question starts from false premises.

  • Questions that have attracted a lot of gawkers because they are, in fact, closed.

  • Arguments about something controversial or borderline-offensive in the question or one of the answers.

  • Pissing matches in the comments, just because.

  • The blind leading the blind in a game of Pokemon Go.

  • Clickbait headlines like this one.

and in all of these cases, the additional traffic from HNQ is never beneficial. I could give examples, but will not. If nothing is done about the algorithm HNQ uses to decide what questions are worth highlighting, then I'm afraid my proposed rename will be all too appropriate. How can we prevent HNQ from drawing attention to, and exacerbating, the very sorts of behavior we strive to discourage?

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    Very much related, with an answer from Shog that even says himself the questions are "dumb": meta.stackexchange.com/questions/219922/… (but he says it in a more constructive way.) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jul 30 '16 at 3:23
  • 'Best' and 'worst' are subjective. The best question & answer thread on 4chan is probably the worse on StackExchange. – user202362 Jul 30 '16 at 6:54
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    @Telkitty my point isn't that the links are "bad" links, it's that HNQ is highlighting and exacerbating serious problems on network sites. And no, the best of 4chan is miles better than the worst of SE. Or the mediocre of SE. There are some very clever bored people over there. – hobbs Jul 30 '16 at 7:00

If you have ideas for improving the HNQ list and the criteria that feed it, let's hear that instead.

  • That's what the discussion tag was for, don't you think? :) – hobbs Jul 30 '16 at 7:02
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    @hobbs I'd think so... were it not for the [feature-request] tag and the utter lack of any sort of proposals for a change. What exactly is the discussion point? I just see a few statements of alleged fact. – Adam Lear Jul 30 '16 at 7:07
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    I have an idea, have you heard it? Increase the Hot Network Questions randomness (proposal for testing) "The more people watch (and occasionally answer / upvote) questions in the list, the more static, sticky and boring it becomes, due to, again, snowball / self-fulfilling prophecy effects that prevent other questions from being exposed..." – gnat Jul 30 '16 at 8:21
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    @hichris123 the reason why these proposals are ignored seems to be that Stack Exchange is happy about how HNQ questions work now. As far as I know they don't want to change anything about this, I think Shog mentioned this in deleted comments under this comment at MSO. Which kind of suggests that those willing to change anything about HNQ need to figure a way to make SE unhappy about how these work... – gnat Aug 2 '16 at 8:10
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    recently proposed idea: "Sites are excluded only after a twitter demand, from someone with at least 1k followers." – gnat Oct 17 '18 at 16:24
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    @gnat So far the only proposal that effected any kind of change, so that's something to work with, I guess. – Christian Rau Oct 17 '18 at 16:40
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    @ChristianRau maybe it's not the first time. If memory serves, another earlier change (randomized shuffling) was introduced after someone popular laughed in Twitter at Atwood because of some bland PHP question that managed to stuck at the top of the HNQ list for about a week :) – gnat Oct 17 '18 at 16:53
  • @gnat "Which kind of suggests that those willing to change anything about HNQ need to figure a way to make SE unhappy about how these work" that's called negative publicity on social media, my friend – Jeff Atwood Oct 22 '18 at 23:04
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    @JeffAtwood they had it coming – gnat Oct 23 '18 at 8:02

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