The acronym "HNQ" has been mentioned a lot recently. Regarding Hot Network Questions (HNQ), there was a question on Meta Stack Exchange: What is the Goal of "Hot Network Questions"?

In the context of questions in mathematics, I think the goal may be different. Hence my question:

What is the goal of having questions from Mathematics Stack Exchange in the SE Network Hot Questions List?

See also a related question on meta several years ago (thanks to @Martin Sleziak):

What are advantages/disadvantages of having question in hot questions list?

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    $\begingroup$ What do you mean by "in Mathematics Stack Exchange"? It would seem to be about the HNQ (mostly on other subjects) displayed in Mathematics Stack Exchange. But I suspect it is actually about the HNQ questions from Mathematics SE in the list, but maybe it is not. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 15, 2020 at 14:48
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    $\begingroup$ A bit related older question: What are advantages/disadvantages of having question in hot questions list? (Although it did not get much response.) $\endgroup$ Apr 15, 2020 at 14:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Martin: Also the HNQ algorithm was revised since then, with new tools added. So there's more to do with the HNQ. $\endgroup$
    – Asaf Karagila Mod
    Apr 15, 2020 at 15:09
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    $\begingroup$ And I also believe that the SE network is working, due to a tremendous about of feedback from individual sites about how the crude algorithms of SE overall, may lead to posts from individual sites that members of those sites felt weren't well representing the sites questions... so now each site is invited to create "site-specific filters" to help the more crude filters already used, so that posts from each site better reflect what users on those sites endorse. If you're new to the conversation about site specific HNQ filters, @Jack, then my "synopsis" may be too confusing. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Apr 15, 2020 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ See for example autofilters for hot network questions. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Apr 15, 2020 at 15:57
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    $\begingroup$ @Jack: I'd recommend you and encourage you to read Theo's answer .Yes it's a long answer, but it might answer your question. And let you see things from a different perspective. It changed my mind, a little bit late tho bc lazy me didn't read it first, and started giving opinions... $\endgroup$
    – user486983
    Apr 15, 2020 at 17:08
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    $\begingroup$ If you want to refer to Meta, I think it might be useful to mention Revisiting the “Hot Network Questions” feature, what are our shared goals for having it? or Updating the Hot Network Questions List - now with a bit more network and a little less “hotness”!, which are much more recent than the one linked in the question. $\endgroup$
    – Arnaud D.
    Apr 16, 2020 at 7:50
  • $\begingroup$ @quid: Sorry, I don't understand your question in the first comment. What do you mean by "the HNQ (mostly on other subjects) displayed in Mathematics Stack Exchange."? $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Apr 16, 2020 at 15:30
  • $\begingroup$ @AsafKaragila: Thank you for adding the appropriate tag. Do you know a link to the "HNQ algorithm" you mentioned? $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Apr 16, 2020 at 15:33
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    $\begingroup$ There is the networkwide list of HNQs which is displayed on the math.se site, and there are the math questions displayed as HNQ networkwide (and on our site). I asked if you want to discuss (a) what is the goal of having "Hot Network Questions" (mostly from other sites) displayed on math site, (b) what is the goal when displaying math questions in the HNQ on other sites, [(b2) what is the goal when displaying math questions in the HNQ on our site]. From your formulation I would assume (a), yet from the context I assume (b). The concerns are quite different. $\endgroup$
    – quid Mod
    Apr 16, 2020 at 15:41
  • $\begingroup$ I do not yet understand what the question is. :-| Jack? $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Apr 16, 2020 at 16:37
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak: Thank you for mentioning your post. I have added to my post here. $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Apr 16, 2020 at 21:59
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    $\begingroup$ @quid I see what you mean. Edited. Thanks. $\endgroup$
    – user9464
    Apr 16, 2020 at 22:00

1 Answer 1


In my mind the goal is not really different from that of other sites, at least not from that of other established sites with science or technical content. I share many points of view expressed in the linked post.

The global goal of the HNQ seems to me to offer:

  • "the best posts of the network that are of interest to a wider population than only experts on that subject" (Mad Scientist)
  • "quick - and ideally informative - diversion" (Shog9)

Upsides of having this is that it is something some readers find nice to have, it maintains some bond over the network as a whole and increases discoverability of (new) sites.

The two goals at least in abstract to me seem not overly controversial (but maybe giving this answer will prove me wrong), and we should strive to offer posts to the HNQ that are in line with these goals.

What might cause friction in practice is that they are subjective, and thus there might be disagreement on which of this site's posts best contribute to achieving these goals.


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