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This question already has an answer here:

According to this and this answer, it becomes exceedingly difficult/impossible for a question to hit the HNQ once it gets older.

When this legendary answer appeared on Science Fiction & Fantasy SE, it was over four years after the question had originally been asked. In spite of the epicness of the answer and overwhelming response (possibly the best ever on that SE), it should have been totally impossible for the question/answer to hit the HNQ, since the HNQ formula divides by a product of the age of the question.

However, SF&F SE moderator Rand al'Thor says this question was indeed in the HNQ due to the epic answer.

Rand notes this comment by another user:

I thought of the story as soon as I saw the post in hot network questions. Now I am lamenting not having seen it in the unanswered section.

The user has since clarified:

Here's the data I can provide: When I saw the question in HNQ, I was on Win7 and using Internet Explorer 11 (only browser allowed on work computer at the time). I saw the question in the HNQ section on the right-hand side. At the moment, that section looks like this for me. It's right underneath the Linked and Related questions lists. I was probably on either Puzzling or SuperUser since those are the two I frequent the most. I was definitely not on the root SE site.

So:

  1. Was this question really in the HNQ after the answer was posted?
  2. If yes, was it manually added* to celebrate the epic answer?
  3. If yes to #1 but no to #2, how was it possible?

I have tried to use The Wayback Machine to research this, but the records seem incomplete for the relevant time period. The problem seems to be that the the second, third, fourth page etc. of the front page aren't cached frequently enough to give detailed results. I've also gotten this weird message saying "No questions found", further complicating research.

* = I have never heard of a question being manually added to the HNQ, but if this question was actually there after the answer, I can't really think of any other explanation. Unless I have misunderstood the math somehow.

marked as duplicate by Sonic the Bracketed Hedgehog, Robert Longson, Shadow The Curly Braced Wizard support Jul 28 '18 at 8:31

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • 1
    The updated date may have helped it? – Pureferret Aug 26 '16 at 10:31
  • 3
    @Pureferret You mean the age of answers may be taken into account? That wouldn't be a bad idea. It would be cool to use the HNQ to advertise late, epic answers. – Revetahw Aug 26 '16 at 10:33
  • 2
    It could be, as Nathaniel mentioned in the comments here, that Engineer Toast was confused between two different meanings of 'hot'? – Rand al'Thor Aug 26 '16 at 11:43
  • @randal'thor Yeah, it sounds possible. I wonder, isn't there some way to confirm/deny? Doesn't SE keep a record of which questions were ever HNQ? – Revetahw Aug 26 '16 at 11:44
  • 1
    Here's the data I can provide: When I saw the question in HNQ, I was on Win7 and using Internet Explorer 11 (only browser allowed on work computer at the time). I saw the question in the HNQ section on the right-hand side. At the moment, that section looks like this for me. It's right underneath the Linked and Related questions lists. I was probably on either Puzzling or SuperUser since those are the two I frequent the most. I was definitely not on the root SE site. – Engineer Toast Aug 26 '16 at 12:32
  • @EngineerToast Much appreciated, added to OP. – Revetahw Aug 26 '16 at 12:50
  • 1
    Sorry, I don't have any other information to provide, I don't pay much attention to the HNQ. – Kyle Hale Aug 26 '16 at 13:38
  • 1
    For what it's worth, I had no idea my comment would spark such a discussion and I had no idea about what was the math behind HNQ. After reading Jeff Atwood's answer regarding the formula - and I assume he might know a thing or two about how it works - I am even more confused. If Qupdated is the number of hours ago it was updated and Qageinhours is the time since OP, then I can't see how it could have ever scored as Hot under normal condition. – Engineer Toast Aug 26 '16 at 14:18
  • @EngineerToast Yes, this is exactly how I feel about this mystery. – Revetahw Aug 26 '16 at 14:19
  • 1
    @KyleHale Thanks for stopping by anyway :) – Revetahw Aug 26 '16 at 14:20
  • 4
    @EngineerToast The formula in that answer doesn't apply to the hot network questions list; it is for the hot tab of individual sites. – Nathaniel Aug 26 '16 at 14:58

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