# Mod removing questions out of HNQ

It has been observation as of late that moderator Asaf Karagila has been removing quite a bit of questions from HNQ. What is the basis for removal? and, under what circumstances is a moderator removing questions of HNQ justified?

• See here for some previous discussion. Aug 6 at 21:25
• Hmm can't see how the removal of this question from HNQ was justified based on that Aug 6 at 21:39
• I'm not taking a position, just letting you know about previous discussion. Aug 6 at 21:44
• @SouravGhosh That is a particularly bad post to be brought up as "evidence". I seem to have downvoted it back in the day. Also, it is ten years old. Nowadays it would be deleted. In my opinion it should have been deleted back in the day, but it is that kind of clickbait questions that raked in a lot of upvotes from nincompoops passing by. Aug 7 at 4:55
• "quite a bit of questions" means 7353 questions from 2019-03-13 until today according to this public SEDE query. Basically, Moderator Asaf Karagila has removed almost every single math question from HNQ.
– user1046533
Aug 7 at 13:16
• Bruh moment extreme @user1046533 Aug 7 at 13:18
• @Beautifullyirrational: that crucial context can be added to your post. But I will leave it to your own decision.
– user1046533
Aug 7 at 13:22
• Regarding the previous discussion (which I initiated back in the day), I just want to point out that there wasn't a lot of active participation by the community in that discussion. The ability for mods to kill HNQs was relatively new, and I got the impression that: a) nobody cared as much about the issue as myself and Asaf, and b), a vague majority of meta users seemed to lean tend towards Asaf's position over mine. People seemed to care more by the time this proposal rolled around. It might be a good time for a new discussion? Aug 7 at 13:38
• @TheoBendit: It seems to me that it is because no ordinary users can (can they?) affect HNQs due to the imbalanced power of moderators that makes not many wishes to participate in the discussion.
– user1046533
Aug 7 at 13:56
• @user1046533 Ordinary users can, and sometimes do. Having MathJax in the title of a question automatically kicks a question from the HNQ, and though I lost the example, I did find an example of someone using this to remove a HNQ (I think it was ${}$ appended to a title). SEDE enquiries found here showed that this was rare behaviour though. Either way, the discussion was supposed to gather input from the community to generate a policy that mods would then try to stick to. Aug 7 at 14:10
• There are some very good questions in that SEDE query, exactly the types I'd like to be showing the rest of the world about MSE. The top two in this list are this and this, two very decent questions that deserve an audience of their own. There ought to be more community vetting of the HNQ. It's really unfortunate that under current circumstances, either the mods or the script has most of the control. It'd also give us an opportunity to sound out advanced excellent answers, which don't get attention. Aug 7 at 15:17
• @SarveshRavichandranIyer: I'm terribly sorry, but no question with a title "About the definition of X" is good enough for the HNQ. Pay closer attention and improve the titles as things come into the HNQ to make them worth the effort, and it won't be removed.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Aug 7 at 16:57
• I think I stand with Sarveshs original stance. Should the criteria of staying on HNQ list be the exterior packaging or the actual meat of the question? Aug 7 at 17:12
• Let me correct you, "hot meta posts" are only shown in site. And the fact is that when it got more exposure, people came and saw the post, and decided that they disagree with your stance or tone or maybe something else that only they know. These are mostly, if not only, site regulars. They are not users who browse, say, literature.SE and saw your question on the HNQ, popped by, decided to upvote, and left. No, these are actual members of this community. If I were you, I'd consider removing that weird complaint that you've edited in.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Aug 10 at 9:50
• It wasn't a complaint in any form, it was just an observation. I am of high doubt if any literature . SE users have enough knowledge to judge and upvote say the group theory that sarvesh posted or the lebesgue integral question I posted. I haven't seen myself doing vice versa for offsite posts or can imagine others doing it @AsafKaragila ; but nonetheless I comply to remove it on the post Aug 10 at 10:21

I've explained most of the reasons that I normally apply in the past. But let me also add that if I see a user whose questions very consistently and very frequently end up on the HNQ, then I will default to assuming that the user is trying to game this system. If nothing else, it will make me more judicial when looking at their questions that do make it to the HNQ.

Of course, sometimes honest mistakes happen. I sometimes remove questions and instantly realise that I did not want to remove that question.

• Shouldn't the default assumption be innocent until proven guilty?
– user1082389
Aug 7 at 11:05
• "I will default to assuming that the user is trying to game this system" Because of the power of diamond moderators, you do not need to justify your assumption to anyone, do you? And nobody except the community moderators can effectively question such an assumption; but of course, maybe they don't care at all.
– user1046533
Aug 7 at 13:19
• I feel extraordinarily conflicted reading that gaming the system part. Other than voter fraud, how could one possibly game a system, if any question can only be democratically voted up? Or, are you saying the site should be a mix of democracy + some curators who filter the items which are voted up. But wouldn't that sort of be hypocritical in some sense because you got voted up to become a mod yourself..? Aug 7 at 13:46
• @Beautifullyirrational a question in the HNQ tends to get upvotes from people who see it there and visit it. Rightly or wrongly, that's the trend. So if you could write questions that appeal to the HNQ algorithm, you could get a lot of (possibly unjustified) upvotes. And since reputation is something that appeals to very many people on StackExchange sites, there's a motivation for it. But, since the details of the algorithm are not made public, if you were to keep appearing in there, you would appear to have gamed the system.... Aug 7 at 13:56
• Labelling votes as justified or unjustified is beyond the scope of the site as far as I understand. I remember some users mentioning in a few previous posts ago that there should be no justification for downvotes, and one can throw if they don't like... but for upvote, it needs approval of external agent to be attracted..? So, it seems to me , that the site users have come to a conclusion that the universal suffrage democracy doesn't work, and even voting must be vetted. Aug 7 at 14:06
• @postmortes IMO, these are highly subjective and speculative decisions. Unless there's strong evidence to suggest malpractice, I find it inappropriate to remove questions from the HNQ on a whim.
– user1082389
Aug 7 at 14:09
• @postmortes: We actually do know something about that algorithm. It is public knowledge that you need to get some answers fast enough, with some votes, and be aged at least 8 hours. In the case of this site, it also requires that the title will not have any MathJax. It isn't very hard to write questions like that. And when certain names appear more often than others, it does raise a suspicion that some kind of gaming is being done.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Aug 7 at 16:48
• I also don't understand why people are so riled up. If you are not gaming the system, then the votes don't matter, then being on the HNQ doesn't matter.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Aug 7 at 16:49
• Mods should curate the HNQ, like everything else, in the interest of making the site better. People do not have some constitutional right to seek reputation or a spot on the HNQ list. Aug 7 at 16:56
• Many of the sites policies like EOQS are not in the site's default "Constitution" . It's a question of how much power the moderator should be allowed to swing around. @JonathanZsupportsMonicaC Aug 7 at 17:00
• It is unclear what exactly the issue of "gaming the system" is when a question appears on HNQ, and how it adversely affects the site. Aug 7 at 17:02
• By your logic, if a mod started randomly banning people on their whim, that'd be justified too. Since they have the power , they can do whatever with it . Aug 8 at 10:53
• @Beautifullyirrational: No, by that logic, if a mod started banning random people on a whim, you can complain to the SE Community Managers, which will investigate the matter, as the "random" might not be random at all, and the "whim" might not be as whimsical as you see it, from your side of the terrace. And if the SE people find that the moderator is not conducting themselves properly, they will correct the problem and issue some punishment as they see fit.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Aug 8 at 12:49
• @Nij: Not to mention that a lot of utterly incorrect answers get tons of upvotes from the HNQ drive-by voters who know zilch about proper mathematics. HNQ creates not only a bias towards upvotes, but also a bias towards junk promotion. Aug 8 at 15:54
• @Beautifullyirrational: Don't twist my words. You were talking about a moderator suspending people on a whim. I gave you the oversight in that case. Moderators do not discuss suspension of users in public.
– Asaf Karagila Mod
Aug 9 at 6:23