Is there a way to filter the "hot questions" displayed in the Stack Exchange menu?

enter image description here

I have a profile on Stack Overflow and that's pretty much it. Therefore the list as it is now is pretty useless because it just adds noise - I'm not coming to Stack Overflow to discuss terrorists and the like ;-)

  • 3
    I can see that you only want to see "hot" questions from those sites that you are active on (rep > 200?).
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Mar 23, 2011 at 11:53
  • 21
    @ChrisF Much more important would be the ability to say "I never want to see questions from this objectionable stack exchange site ever again". I don't mind if other people see those questions, but I am not interested in any question that might be posed on that SX site and I never will.
    – Mark Booth
    Commented Sep 1, 2011 at 17:09
  • 7
    Agree, we really need to be able to black-list sites, some sites are producing content that is perfectly acceptable to members of those sites but can be quite offensive to members of other sites.
    – jk.
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 10:36
  • 6
    Agree, I basically never use the hot questions tab any more because of this
    – Flexo
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 18:20
  • 13
    43 Would Star Trek holodecks physically affect you once you exit the Holodeck? scifi.stackexchange.com <-- I don't care!!
    – wim
    Commented Jan 8, 2012 at 23:13
  • 11 years and 7 months later not being able to filter the Hot Network Questions is still an issue. So much for listening to UX feedback :P
    – Steve
    Commented Nov 10, 2022 at 22:42

7 Answers 7


There are two alternative solutions to this:

  • positive filtering: only show hot questions / sites that I'm active on. Much less noise, but doesn't achieve goal Jeff mentions — exposing you to questions from whole SE.

  • negative filtering: show everything, except the sites that I explicitly block. This will lead to some initial noise, but I will be able to adjust that. It's harder to implement, and bit harder to use. However, this will achieve goal of exposing you to questions from other SE sites, including new ones.

  • 48
    +1 for negative filtering, a user specified black list of sites is just the ticket to allow initial discovery of the new but allow blocking if a user decides they have had enough
    – jk.
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 10:39
  • 2
    @jk. four years later, has any progress on implementing this been made?
    – abcd
    Commented Oct 17, 2015 at 23:39
  • 2
    @dbliss nope, though you should probably ask Some one at stack exchange rather than me
    – jk.
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 6:57
  • @jk. it was easier to ask you. i think there has been progress, though. apparently you can block the hot questions using adblock.
    – abcd
    Commented Oct 18, 2015 at 7:02
  • 3
    I don't see how this answers the question. Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 11:18

Considering just how many duplicates and alternate versions of this question there are, it's shocking just how pitifully inadequate the response from the developers has been.

I'm tempted to believe that it's yet another case of SEO overriding user experience, but crawlers wouldn't get filtered, so that can't be the issue either. Seriously, what gives?

Let me be clear, here: I like the hot questions feature. I see a lot of fun/interesting posts that I normally wouldn't be exposed to. I get to pick up random useful tidbits of information and conversation pieces that actually benefit me in my daily life.

But there's some sh** that I'm just not interested in, was never interested in, never will be interested, just not going to happen ever, frickin' leave me alone already damn it!

Are you hearing me, SE? You've accomplished your goal, you've exposed us to the questions. We have, in turn, in our infinite wisdom, decided that entire categories are not of interest to us. I don't read the sports section of the newspaper - not even the headlines - likewise, I don't want to see links to questions on Chinese languages or have to keep hearing about the ever-expanding downward spiral of popularity contests on the "programming puzzles" site.

Yes, I know what you're thinking. "If you don't like the feature, don't use it/don't look at it. You're still not listening. I like the feature. I want to use it. But you could be linking me to interesting questions that I want to read, and instead they're being drowned out in noise that I'm never, ever going to care about. This is anathema to your goal of spreading the love. Instead of occasionally reading sci-fi questions that I know deep down are time-wasters, or trying in vain to remember my 3rd-year university solid state physics material, I just give up and ignore the sidebar because just looking at actually annoys me. And I'm not alone in this, just look how many people hate the system:

Geeze Louise, this goes way beyond "who moved my cheese" - people from all different backgrounds are screaming for some control over this feature.

I'm inclined to agree that whitelisting actually isn't the appropriate response here. Yes, really. This isn't a security or spam filtering system, and Jeff is/was right about one thing, its entire purpose is to bring people outside their narrowly-chosen fields of interest. That's a good thing, especially when it comes to new sites popping up - we want to give them a chance. However, we really should not rule out blacklisting here; I'm just never going to read a question on Islam or Biblical Hermeneutics. Seriously - not ever. For me, personally, those links are just taking up space that could be used to draw my attention to more interesting, more personalized content.

As both a user and a very experienced web developer who has spent a lot of time working with SEO, marketing and ecomm folks, I honestly cannot fathom why this isn't a priority. This is basically equivalent to having untargeted rather than targeted ads. We figured out more than 10 years ago that targeted ads got more than twice the click-through rate, and the statistic gets confirmed again and again. It's not just what the users want - there's real money in this equation.

Or, even better, instead of a blacklist, throw some of those fancy ComScore analytics at the problem to figure out which links people actually click on and how long they stay, and then apply some predictive personalization, which can actually give you 3-4x as many click-throughs.

Sigh. Anyway, time for something constructive from me. There was a user script posted in a duplicate question, but it was buggy and the UI has now changed (it's in the right sidebar instead of the "multicollider"). So, here's a newer user script, with bugs fixed and working on the right sidebar:

// ==UserScript==
// @name           Filter Hot SE questions
// @namespace      http://stackoverflow.com/users/390278
// @include        http://stackoverflow.com/*
// @include        http://*.stackoverflow.com/*
// @include        http://superuser.com/*
// @include        http://*.superuser.com/*
// @include        http://serverfault.com/*
// @include        http://*.serverfault.com/*
// @include        http://stackapps.com/*
// @include        http://*.stackapps.com/*
// @include        http://askubuntu.com/*
// @include        http://*.askubuntu.com/*
// @include        http://*.stackexchange.com/*
// ==/UserScript==

(function() {
    function embedScript(id, main, globalFunctions) {
        var scriptElement = document.createElement("script");
        scriptElement.type = "text/javascript";
        scriptElement.id = id;
        var name, content = "";
        if (globalFunctions) {
            for (name in globalFunctions) {
                if (globalFunctions.hasOwnProperty(name)) {
                    content = content + name + "=(" + globalFunctions[name].toString() + "());\n";
        content = content + "(" + main.toString() + "());";
        scriptElement.textContent = content;
        return scriptElement;

    embedScript("filter-hot-se-questions", function () {
        var enableLogging = false;

        var blacklist = [
        var whitelist = [

        $(function() {
            var retryCount = 0;
            const retryMax = 3;

            function tryFilter() {
                var $query = $("#hot-network-questions li").filter(function () {
                    var $link = $(this).find("a");
                    var site = $link.attr("href").match(/:\/\/(?:www\.)?(.[^\/:]+)/)[1];
                    if (!site) {
                        return false;
                    var isBlacklisted = $.inArray(site, blacklist) >= 0;
                    var isWhitelisted = $.inArray(site, whitelist) >= 0;
                    var isBlocked = isBlacklisted && !isWhitelisted;
                    if (enableLogging) {
                        var msgData = { 
                            site: site,
                            isBlackListed: isBlacklisted,
                            isWhitelisted: isWhitelisted,
                            isBlocked: isBlocked
                    return isBlocked;

                if ($query.length > 0) {

                if (retryCount++ < retryMax) {
                    window.setTimeout(tryFilter, 250);

            window.setTimeout(tryFilter, 250);

It's a crappy solution, but it's better than nothing. Of course, I personally use a much longer blacklist, but that's for individuals to decide. I'm not sure why the original had a whitelist and a blacklist, since whitelisting is already the default, but whatever, I've left it in just in case somebody wants it.

  • 11
    "I'm just never going to read a question on Islam or Biblical Hermeneutics." - actually, I might but... I'm never going to go to the many, many 'hot questions' that come from Puzzling that seem to be ever-present in that damn list. Even crap about superhero movies is OK by my lax standards, but please get rid of puzzling. So many questions, not even interesting as a question if you're not going to try to solve the puzzle.
    – gbjbaanb
    Commented May 11, 2016 at 12:13
  • 6
    @gbjbaanb I agree about the puzzles. What's particularly annoying is they tend to have interesting titles and they have a not-obvious icon (I always think it's the workplace or academia icon), so I constantly think its interesting and waste 3 seconds realizing it's another meaningless puzzle. sometimes I waste this 3 seconds multiple times on the same question. Commented Jul 17, 2016 at 20:11
  • 2
    Please, a get-me-started clue how I use that script? Is there some hidden feature on my user profile where I can 'install' it?
    – Ed Randall
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 6:14
  • It's hard to believe that seven years later, it's still just as broken. Instead of actually reading the "hot network questions" and spending lots more time on the site like I did so many years ago, these days I just ignore the entire section outright and leave the site after I've asked or answered the one question I came here for. And I'm sure my engagement isn't the only engagement SE is losing from this. Commented Oct 12, 2021 at 15:06

I've written a Chrome extension to hide/filter the Hot Network Questions list. It hides all questions by default, or you can specify a whitelist or blacklist of sites and keywords you'd like to see.

You can install it from the Chrome Web Store or check out the code on GitHub.

  • 2
    Ha, smart use of the bounty system to attract extra attention to your answer! :) Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 12:29
  • 4
    I can't believe you posted this exactly when I decided I am losing too much time reading those hot questions, and was looking for a way to hide them. For now, it looks and works perfectly, no bugs, so thank you very much!
    – Adinia
    Commented Dec 30, 2015 at 14:37
  • How do you reach the settings menu? there is no options link in the chrome extensions page. Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 11:24
  • @martinkunev There should be an "options" link listed under the extension name in the Extensions section of your Chrome settings. It also inserts a link to the settings (currently labelled "question hiding options") at the bottom of the question list by default. This is currently working for me on two profiles/machines with v0.1.3.0 (the version currently in the Chrome app store). If that's not appearing for you... I'll need to look into it. :/ (If there's any more information visible, such as console error messages, that might help)
    – Jeremy
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 18:01
  • 1
    Can you create a Firefox extension too?
    – opticyclic
    Commented Sep 23, 2016 at 14:13
  • This stopped working for me sometime in early April 2019. Is anyone else having an issue that I should dig deeper into my config or did stack change something to break this Awesome plugin. Die Clickbait Die. Commented Apr 11, 2019 at 17:29
  • 1
    @MichaelPotter yeah it stopped working for me too. Filed an issue: github.com/jeremyBanks/hide-hnq/issues/7
    – Carl Walsh
    Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 0:16
  • I installed "SidebarOverflow" and it is doing the same thing. Only works on limited sites tho. Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 1:20
  • 2
    @MichaelPotter Fixed! If anybody runs into other problems, filing an issue at the Github is probably better than stackexchange comments :)
    – Carl Walsh
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 3:56

I agree with Jeff. As I said before, I feel the StackExchange™ MultiCollider SuperDropdown™ is one of the features that best help beta sites grow. It has done wonders for us at Skeptics, and I would be surprised to hear we are alone. As such, I am against the concept of filters.

With that said, I think that, eventually, filtering by language will become a necessity. Right now, there's only one site that is not in English - German - and it even allows questions written in English (really?). However, as the Stack Exchange Network expends into more and more language, the importance of this feature will increase. Discovering a new interesting or reading something thanks to the hot question is cool, but content in languages I do not speak are of no interest to me - or anyone, really.

It's not a priority right now, but it will be - eventually.

  • Perhaps it could be tweaked by favoring sites which links you've followed before, but that would 'punish' all the newer sites
    – Ivo Flipse
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 23:03
  • 7
    If I decide I'm not interested in the topic of a beta site, I'm not likely to visit it and help it make it out of beta. Why therefore oppose me filtering it out?
    – razlebe
    Commented Sep 3, 2011 at 9:25
  • 1
    I don't want to see content from movies.stackexchange.com that include spoilers in the question title...
    – CJBS
    Commented Nov 20, 2015 at 19:27

For FireFox, there is the UnHot addon which should do just that. unhot logo

Just install it to hide them.

I programmed it, see also https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/293137/289870

  • 1
    It just hides the whole thing? Disappointed, I was hoping it would have some filtering capability.
    – Ed Randall
    Commented Apr 24, 2018 at 6:29

Another option would be a 4th tab ("My Hot"), which uses either the positive or negative approaches suggested by vartec. Or you could beta-test both ideas with selected group, and see what the effects are on users.

My preferred method would be to "amazon" the data so that if you're signed up to say, "stackoverflow", "superuser" and "itsecurity", it works out that most people signed up to that are also signed up to "gaming" (even though you're not), and suggests questions based on that. (e.g. your stuff gets a boost to rank, stuff you "might" be interested in gets a minor boost, and stuff that's unlikely gets no boost)

I get the original idea, and as one of the primary contributors to parenting, I'm aware of the need to get the smaller sites more interest, but again, as one of the primary contributors to parenting, I'm aware that just because a question is popular with a large group of people doesn't mean it's not totally irrelevant to an even larger group. As stackexchange grows, not tailoring it is going to have a "wasting my time" effect.

If we're looking to avoid spurious and memeish Q&A's, better that we don't advertise "tex", "mathematica" and "cstheory" to people whose primary interests are "gaming", "parenting" and "judaism"


Please note that the intent here is to explicitly expose you to the most interesting questions from across the network, whether you have accounts on those sites or not.

edit: at the time I wrote the above, we did not have German, Japanese, or Judaism -- I am more sympathetic to the "this isn't even in a language I can read!" argument.

  • 1
  • 36
    I like the idea of being exposed to interesting questions from across the gamut of sites, but I will never be interested in certain topics (*cough*religious-themed ones*cough*) and would prefer they didn't take up a slot that could have otherwise been for an interesting question on lemons from the cooking site...
    – JYelton
    Commented May 12, 2011 at 17:33
  • 26
    -1: how can a question in German be possibly interesting to anyone who doesn't speak it?
    – vartec
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 14:27
  • 18
    Or a question about Jewish tradition interest an Atheist... I'm much more likely to check out a random cooking or home improvement question because I cook and have a home.
    – JYelton
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 19:03
  • 10
    I will say this, however: I am not a parent, and don't intend to be, but some of the Parenting questions have been very interesting. I can appreciate the intentions for exposing users to other topics' hot questions (those which I otherwise would have ignored). Still, I think the network of sites will be more useful with filtering enabled.
    – JYelton
    Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 19:20
  • 2
    That's all well and good, but considering I don't speak a lick of German (despite English be a Germanic language) questions from german.stackexchange.com are purely noise. Commented Jun 3, 2011 at 20:40
  • 10
    Given that there are starting to be websites that are just pure noise (to some, including me -- German especially, since I speak no German), is this still status-declined? Or has it been reopened for consideration?
    – Reid
    Commented Jun 5, 2011 at 17:40
  • 12
    @Jeff Please consider undeclining this. I have no interest whatsoever in seeing questions about religion when I visit stack. Commented Sep 5, 2011 at 20:06
  • 9
    You're looking at this from a programmer's perspective. But to non-computer-savvy people, about half the sites are effectively in a foreign language (they're about esoteric computer stuff). Commented Sep 17, 2011 at 20:11
  • 6
    this one needs to be reconsidered, with all the new stackexchange sites popping up the signal to noise ratio is plummeting and it's making the dropdown thing become spammy and useless
    – wim
    Commented Jan 16, 2012 at 6:29
  • 4
    @Jeff As an application developer working in Western Europe, I'm a lot more likely to learn German than I am to learn to use Mathematica
    – deworde
    Commented Mar 12, 2012 at 10:19
  • 5
    I don't play video games, yet they keep showing up at the top. Don't force ads on us. That's why adblock exists.
    – siamii
    Commented May 28, 2012 at 5:19
  • 8
    Another vote for the negative filtering. I don't know anything relevant about chemistry or aviation, yet I occasionally check out a question featured from there. But I have absolutely no interest in LaTeX or Judaism, the space taken up by those questions could and should be used for something more valuable for me. A negative filter could be used for these exceptions and this approach would not impede newly-started SE sites (since they would not be filtered by anyone when they are created)
    – zovits
    Commented Mar 11, 2014 at 12:40
  • 8
    Exposing users forcefully to Hot Network Questions can spoil entire plots, e.g. from the Harry Potter universe. I would love to have an option to filter specific networks.
    – robust
    Commented Jun 28, 2014 at 12:05
  • 7
    The point is not to hide networks which the user haven't used before. It's to hide networks that the user has seen and has no understanding or interest. e.g. topics requiring domain knowledge are useless to people without it (japanese, cryptography, mathoverflow, TeX, codegolf, christianity, arduino, serverfault, game development, etc, etc.) Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 12:26

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