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I noticed earlier, after receiving the Popular Question badge for 1k views, that my question had made it onto the Hot Network Questions list, which is probably why it'd gained so much attention.

I was totally oblivious to the fact that this had happened and thought it would be cool if Stack Exchange would notify us, even just an inbox message or something, telling users when they make the HNQ list.

Is there a reason this doesn't exist?

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    But why? What use would come out of this notification to the average user? We generally only notify people when there is something actionable for them, not just because. – animuson Apr 19 '17 at 15:22
  • @animuson I just thought it would be cool if users could see that they'd made it onto the list, even if just the first time they do. I know there's not much use of it, unless it was made into a badge rather than a notification, but I wonder how many users have wanted to make the list and not been aware when they have. – David Apr 19 '17 at 15:27
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    It's effectively notified already, from the extra votes you get and the wave of irrelevant sarky comments you'll get from people from other sites who don't understand your problem... but yeah, it'd be nice if there was a notification, especially if it came with an "Ignore comments for 24 hours" button. A badge is a nice idea but I imagine people will worry it'll be click-bait-bait – user568458 Apr 19 '17 at 16:25
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    @animuson We notify people when they earn badges, yet there's nothing actionable about that, either. – Barmar Apr 20 '17 at 18:58
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    The user also gets informed about each and every upvote to their content as well as when their edit gets accepted, and to notify them they've just registered on a new site. Nothing actionable in any of these cases - and downvotes, which would have been actionable, get sunk into a black hole. @animuson – John Dvorak Apr 21 '17 at 16:21
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Is there a reason this doesn't exist?

Because it's really fuzzy, and HNQ status is not tracked or logged. Check out Please open the Hot Network Questions to auditing via the Data Explorer for an overview of the issues here, and also follow the links in that OP and beyond for some more info about the algorithm.

Should we be notified if we make it onto HNQ?

I don't think so, because there's nothing you can really do with this information. It's merely mildly interesting, but it isn't actionable. See, you write:

I was totally oblivious to the fact that this had happened and thought it would be cool if SO would notify us ...

And I think it would be cool, too, but ask yourself: What would you have done differently had you not been oblivious to that fact? There is really no action to be taken here.

This comes up again in your comment:

... I wonder how many users have wanted to make the list and not been aware when they have.

Again, it would be neat to know, sure, but what would those users have done differently if they were aware beyond pumped their fists?

In any case, it's relatively easy to tell if your question ends up on the HNQ list, you'll generally notice an unusual increase of vote/comment/answer activity, which do show up in your inbox. You'll also see the view counts very high relative to other questions, as you noticed (and at certain points the badges will show up in your inbox as well). You can also look for your question on the sidebar or in the hot tab at https://stackexchange.com/questions?tab=hot.

Obligatory btw:

... I wonder how many users have wanted to make the list ...

Note that getting a question on the HNQ list isn't necessarily something to strive for, it's just something that happens. What you should do is just always try to ask good questions. If you end up getting one in the HNQ list, that's just a bonus.

  • I see what you mean after reading through the linked post, the first comment mentioned 48k rows a day or something, which instantly makes it clear why these sorts of things aren't in place already. I admit, there is no real benefit, because the information is useless, maybe a badge would have been a better idea, but again, seems unfeasible now. – David Apr 19 '17 at 15:38
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    @David Yeah, I mean, I'd be super in to a notification, too. But, unfortunately, if you weigh the benefits vs the cost here, it becomes clear that the possibility of an HNQ notification doesn't have a very bright future. – Jason C Apr 19 '17 at 15:39
  • Yeah, understood, wasn't aware of the limitations that this had – David Apr 19 '17 at 15:46
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    Unfortunately there is some cynical motivation to aim for it, especially on small sites - you get way more rep than you ever would on a non-HNQ. It's even more extreme on answers, of course. I've been active on cooking for several years, and my top three answers are all on (former) HNQs, one in the last couple weeks and one a month ago, easily passing up many older answers on non-HNQs. So yeah, we don't need to encourage it any more; there's already a huge rep reward. – Cascabel Apr 25 '17 at 20:05

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