In recent months, the rate of new questions being asked on Stack Overflow — 3.1k per day — has been overwhelming. As a result, many questions have low views, a change from the previous year. I think the team must plan some way to balance traffic to new questions.

I know we can use bounties to solve this, but that's not a good long-term solution. We must find some way to categorize new questions better.

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    just to let you know there are over 150 bountie questions on SO at the momment
    – Benny
    Jan 31, 2011 at 0:03
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    I tried to fix up your post a bit, but I have no idea what you mean by "a good way in the new future." Could you clarify?
    – Pops
    Jan 31, 2011 at 5:21
  • @Popular, I mean must find some way to categorize new question better (maybe stackoverflow split to more than 1 site) or other idea that help.
    – Am1rr3zA
    Jan 31, 2011 at 6:47

5 Answers 5


While the timestamp of a question has a heavy weight when it comes to the ordering of questions on the site (under the Questions tab, anyway), there are other things that are considered; last edit time is also taken into account, and questions without answers are periodically bumped to the top in order to get a fresh batch of eyes looking them over.

I do agree that the pace at which questions get added can be a little overwhelming sometimes, it's fairly manageable if you're filtering by tags (which, I would imagine but don't know, many experienced users do).

I think that rather than either throttling (not likely) or reorganizing, something that can encourage users to participate (i.e. answer other questions if they can, rather than just asking) would be more helpful.

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    one other problem is most of people searching for easy question, when some one ask basic question less than 5 minutes it get 5 or more answer but when some one ask technical question largely not bored to read and answer that question.
    – Am1rr3zA
    Jan 30, 2011 at 20:46
  • Yes, there's nearly no reason for answering except for collecting rep. There are too many people greedy to help (or greedy to gain rep).
    – maaartinus
    Jan 31, 2011 at 6:29
  • @Am1rr3zA, @maartinus: Yes, the simpler questions are likely to get quicker responses, but that seems a little obvious: easy question -> fast answer, tough, detailed question -> slow answer. The greater the difficulty, the smaller your pool of people with the skill to answer the question, and not all of those people are willing (or able) to spend a lot of time at the moment the question is posted to answer the more involved questions. Feb 1, 2011 at 4:20
  • @maartinus: Perhaps we could retain the current time-based ranking, but add additional weight to people who've answered more questions (or have a better ratio? I'm not sure...just shooting from the hip here) Feb 1, 2011 at 4:24

As per Bill's request here is a look at the data of average views/question and the significant drop. You can see the query for this data here. The graph below displays the trend quite well, but I suggest you look at the data. You will notice that the number of questions has significantly increased (4x number of question in the last month compared to two years ago).

enter image description here

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    So you have a graph that proves that a question that was asked a second ago was viewed less than a question asked 3 years ago. What exactly does that prove?
    – waffles
    Jan 31, 2011 at 3:49
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    @waffles - I don't appreciate your tone, I'm just trying to provide some data to support or refute the claim. An old question will garner more views over time, but not a significant number. I think the data speaks for itself.
    – going
    Jan 31, 2011 at 4:03
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    @waffles - Greg Hewgill's data also supports the notion that if a question is not viewed in a reasonable amount of time it is not likely to get a significant attention once time has past. hewgill.com/~greg/stackoverflow/stack_overflow
    – going
    Jan 31, 2011 at 4:05
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    @xiaohouzi79 I have no problem and any data helps out. However as it stands this proves nothing, if you could come up with an expected trend graph and show where we are dropping from the expected trend, it would be helpful. But as it stands all that this proves is that there is a long tail.
    – waffles
    Jan 31, 2011 at 4:08
  • @waffles - But what the question is suggesting is the 'long tail' is growing. I think this data supports that. The argument that the OP is putting forward is this is leading to good quality questions having lower views. My data just supports the first claim.
    – going
    Jan 31, 2011 at 4:13
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    @xiao I agree with waffles, this is simply a graph that says "over time, older things are viewed more". It's not particularly useful. Jan 31, 2011 at 4:29
  • @Jeff - But doesn't the View count histogram in G. Hewgill's data speak against that trend? hewgill.com/~greg/stackoverflow/stack_overflow/stats.html. Doesn't it say over time older things are viewed less. Although it still accumulates views over time I don't think it wouldn't be as far as to make that line straight?
    – going
    Jan 31, 2011 at 4:35
  • @Jeff - I guess that's up to me to prove if I'm going make the claim. As it stands it's just an assumption.
    – going
    Jan 31, 2011 at 4:37
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    It might be useful to do the analysis on older data dumps and compare it with the current dump. That way you can get a sense of how much a "new" question was viewed X months ago compared to today. Jan 31, 2011 at 4:42
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    Is it possible to compare the number of views on within a specific period of being posted (say, within one week) that questions had on average two years ago, and that questions have now? Jan 31, 2011 at 8:21
  • @Jeff is the data for compare the view/week (for same weak for example 1-8 january) available for question? (between this year question and and last year)
    – Am1rr3zA
    Jan 31, 2011 at 8:46
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    Could you label your axes, please? At first, I thought this represented the number of views each question got, while new, based on posting date.
    – Pops
    Jan 31, 2011 at 14:28

See related blog post


I’ll be honest with you, this change makes me nervous. It’s like Colonel Sanders mucking around with his magical blend of 11 herbs and spices. But at the same time, the old simple “questions by activity date” homepage default was clearly not working with the 2,000+ questions being asked on Stack Overflow each and every day. Something had to change.

Well, this is that change. Let us know what you think, and feel free to experiment with alternative weightings if you have ideas for ways to further improve upon it.


Maybe there should be an extra reputation bonus for answering older questions.

  • There is already the Revival and Necromancer badge, that you can get.
    – HoLyVieR
    Jan 31, 2011 at 14:43

More questions means more users, which means more people to potentially answer questions. Do you have any data to show that average views/question is dropping significantly as the number of questions submitted per month goes up?

  • I have no data I conclude this by myself question view. but @bill must note something when in a few minutes your question disappear from first page it's Less chance of being seen.
    – Am1rr3zA
    Jan 30, 2011 at 20:08
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    @Am1rr3zA: But there are more people looking at the front page at a time. It should at least come close to balancing out. I'm definitely interested now to see what the numbers work out to be. Jan 30, 2011 at 20:12
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    Please see my answer to this question indicating viewing trend over the last 2 years.
    – going
    Jan 31, 2011 at 3:18

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