I'm not sure if this has been discussed before on Meta but I figured I would throw it out there.

Right now, we have our three "hot" tabs: hot, week, month. I like the way these work as they are an easy way for me to determine if there have been any stellar questions over those periods of time.

However, there is one case where I feel like we are missing out: questions that have become insanely active but were not necessarily just asked.

To give you an example, I asked a question on writing emulators which recently graced the front page of Reddit, Hacker News, etc. I asked this question 12 months ago and it got a decent bit of activity and about 9k views over those 12 months. However, once it hit the front page of those social news sites it sky rocketed to 48k views and counting, as well as garner hundreds of votes for the question and the answers within it.

Now, if you were to grace Stackoverflow.com, you would have no indication that this level of activity (unless you had access to the 10k rep moderator tools possibly) was going on within these questions.

I think it is a bit of a bummer you have to check out other websites to see what threads are generating tons of activity at the moment. I've seen this with other SO questions posted on Reddit/HN that aren't necessarily new but are getting a ton of buzz right now.

My suggestion is to possibly add another sorting method to questions that perhaps takes a rolling window of time and measures the activity among questions within that rolling window (ignoring age). That way this would be a true indication of "hot" and not just "hot AND asked relatively recently".

However, I'm not convinced that this new tab would be worth the risk of further cluttering the UI. Anyone have any thoughts?


Er.. what? Every time

  • an answer is added to the question
  • the question is edited
  • any answers to the question are edited

.. the question goes to the top of the default homepage, which is a simple list of recently active questions by the above criteria. That's about as "hot" as it gets. For active questions, they get bounced to the top of the homepage dozens of times per day.

The actual hot tab formula decays over time, but the effect is still pretty strong. I've seen wildly popular things stay on the hot tab alone for almost a week.

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  • This isn't really what I'm talking about. If a question that is months old suddenly gets 40k views, hundreds of votes and dozens of comments within a few hours, you still won't see it anywhere. I would consider that level of activity "hot" yet there is no indication of it built into the site. – mmcdole May 17 '10 at 3:51
  • I'm just curious if you would consider 40k views and 400+ upvotes (combined for q&a) within a few hours not hot? – mmcdole May 17 '10 at 4:21
  • I don't think that the default behavior for "Hot" should be changed. I like the age decay. However, that same age decay is what prevents a true list of questions that are having tons of views/votes a few months after posting. – mmcdole May 17 '10 at 4:27
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    @simucal - don't you think that if a question suddenly gets that sort of burst of activity that there would be at least 1 new answer? – Antony May 17 '10 at 6:36
  • @simucal I'm saying the same thing as antony. You can't have that much "viewing" without SOMEBODY adding an answer or editing something. – Jeff Atwood May 17 '10 at 10:15

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