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This happens frequently, both on the main site and on meta: An old question pops back up on the front page, I open it, the text under the title says "Modified today", but when I check the timeline the last event is years ago, even if I show vote summaries.

Here's the latest one for me. This is happening as of 12:00 noon, EDT.

My guesses are

  • I don't have high enough rep to see the latest event. (I have ~5k.)
  • The event showing up in the timeline query is lagging behind the update of the "Last Modified" field, or some other database jiggery-pokery.
  • ???

Do others see this happening too? Does anyone know why it happens?


Adding the key points from MartinSleziak's thorough answer below, for future readers:

  • Questions get bumped by events on answers, which have their own, separate timelines.
  • Use the "Modified" value, under the title, to take you to the latest activity. It is a link, despite not looking at all like a link.
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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm, just re-checked that" latest one", and I could swear its vote total was 7, not 6. Aaaand, checking the vote summaries, it got a downvote today! So, a single downvote bumps the question back up? I guess that's intentional, and been hashed to death, but I would sure vote against it if I could. Especially if it takes 20 minutes for the downvote to show up. Is it worth keeping this question up, in case others have wondered too, or should I just close it? $\endgroup$ Oct 20 at 16:30
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    $\begingroup$ One of the answers was edited, which bumps the question to the top of the front page. If you click on the text "modified: today", it will take you to the post (question or answer) which was most recently edited. Answer edits appear in the timeline of answers, but not in the timeline of the question. $\endgroup$
    – Xander Henderson Mod
    Oct 20 at 17:55

2 Answers 2

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As already mentioned in the other answer, a question can be bumped for various reasons - in particular, it might be caused by activity on an answer (rather than a question). See the corresponding tag-info and the FAQ post: What can cause a question to be bumped?

If you click on the timestamp in "modified today", you'll go directly to the last activity. (With some exceptions - for example, if the last activity was on a deleted answer, the users below 10k won't be able to see it.) This link used to be in the sidebar, but it was later moved below the question title.

You can find the last activity also if you click on a timestamp when the question is displayed in the list of questions showing the recent activity. This was a result of this feature request: Add link to most recent activity of a question.

In many places on Stack Exchange sites, the timestamps are clickable. (And quite often the exact time and date is shown when hovering over the timestamp.)


Tangentially, since I sometimes want to see recent events for some posts, I made some SEDE queries that combines these event both for the question and all answers. However, SEDE is only updated once a week - so it is more useful in situations where some time passed since the most recent activity. For the posts you've mentioned you get this:

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    $\begingroup$ Man, that "modified time is clickable" is a great feature, and, once again, I do not feel in the least bit bad about not realizing it was there. Thx. $\endgroup$ Oct 20 at 18:12
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A question will be labelled as "modified [time]" on the front page if either the question or one of its answers was modified. For instance, in the example you linked this answer was edited today.

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