I see that Can an employer be forced to allow an employee to bring a gun to work (Washington State)? has made it to the HNQ list.

What process makes it possible for such a very localised (geographically and politically) question to make it to the HNQ list, when SE is a global enterprise?

I thought that HNQ status was assigned by a human.

  • 7
    Lots of localized questions make it to the HNQ. There are Travel questions about using a Danish visa to travel through China, Workplace questions asking about employee protection laws in Germany, etc. I don't see how this is any different. Just because it isn't universally applicable doesn't mean it's not interesting. Oct 26, 2019 at 21:43
  • @TheWanderer The question has been in the HNQ list for so long that "bored now" has become an internet meme. Oct 26, 2019 at 22:07
  • 4
    questions should only be able to stay on the HNQ for a maximum of 3 days. If it's been there longer, it's a bug. Oct 26, 2019 at 22:08
  • 2
    Also did you flag this raising your concerns? Local mods can knock stuff off hnq Oct 26, 2019 at 22:44
  • @JourneymanGeek I didn't know that was an option. Done. Oct 26, 2019 at 23:34
  • 1
    The question has only been HNQ for two days (the revision history shows this as an event now). The question is also exactly what HNQ is about: representing the kind of topics and showing off the quality of post that the site produces. It should not be knocked off the list prematurely because someone doesn't understand how HNQ works.
    – Nij
    Oct 27, 2019 at 0:30
  • I thought that HNQ status was assigned by a human. It isn't, it's assigned by an algorithm determined by e.g. how it's voted on and answered. Site moderators cannot add, but they can remove a question from the HNQ list -- if they notice that it's on the HNQ list and decide it isn't suitable.
    – ChrisW
    Oct 27, 2019 at 7:25

1 Answer 1


Because HNQ isn't about how broadly applicable a question is, not really. It's about how incendiary and 'exciting' a question is (to get users to click through and explore other sites in the network), and that often comes from controversial issues (at least in the area that the questions are relevant to) like gun control, which is why there's been controversy over HNQs for years.

Also, to be fair, 'broadly applicable' is a bit of a misnomer when it comes to SE: how many questions from Math Stack Exchange or TeX and Friends are 'broadly applicable'? Most people don't really care about TeX (sadly), so it's really much more about what's the most interesting and the 'best' of each site, or at least, that's what it's supposed to be.

Users are supposed to see an exemplary question from a particular site, go through, and think, "Oh, I should join that site - that's interesting and well handled." Of course, as I noted, it doesn't generally work like that.

Also, since there was an edit: HNQ status is assigned by an algorithm that looks at upvotes and views, among other things, not by a human. Due to some more recent controversy, moderators got permission to manually remove HNQs from the HNQ listing, but beyond that? It's an algorithm.

Finally, I think that the question about SE being a global enterprise kind of misses the point - if it's a global enterprise, there'll be questions applicable to all sorts of different specific parts of the world. It doesn't mean all questions will apply everywhere. Unless it's math, of course.


Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .