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In connection with several recent discussions it might be useful to know which questions in fact get the most exposure. This obviously depends on many factors (e.g. timezone), but the way the users access MSE is definitely one of the factors.

For example, Alex Becker says in his comment here that:

The questions that get the most attention by far (in my experience) are those visible without scrolling. On my laptop, that's the top 3 questions, and on most computers it might be as many as the top 5. But the top 5 were all updated in the last 10min! So frequent editing makes a big difference.

Willie Wong writes here:

Each of the above actions changes the front page. One screen-full (not scrolling down) of questions on the front page has around 10 - 15 questions. And during the day in, say, East Coast Time in the United States, the lifetime of a question on the first screen-full (where it gets the highest exposure) is about 30 minutes, with most questions gone from the front page within 3 hours of its last edit.

Many of us can guess what influences the exposure of the questions; it would be interesting to know to which extent our guesses are substantiated.

I thought that kind of poll could shed light on this and posting something like this seemed to me the possibility to receive this kind of feedback.

If you think that this question is not appropriate for meta, you can express this opinion by downvoting the question and comments - we (=I or mods) can remove this question if many users say that it should not be here.

And also if you think that this is not a very effective way to get this information and you have a better suggestions, I hope to read about it in comments.


Which of the questions are noticed by individual users depend heavily on their browsing habits, a few examples:

  • User can view newest questions or recently active questions.
  • There are various settings - front page can be set to contain the 15, 30 or 50 posts.
  • Recently active questions can be viewed in a more compact way or with more details.
  • Some users can actively try to view older questions; e.g. by browsing through all questions since they were at MSE and checking at least their titles.
  • Some users can view questions tagged by their area of interest, simply by browsing the most recent tags or using some of the filters.
  • There is a possibility to get email notification of newest questions in some tags and in some filters.
  • We can subscribe to the weekly newsletter.
  • I don't use twitter, but IIRC I've read somewhere that it is possible to follow new questions there; I think tags also have RSS-feeds.

My suggestion how to do this poll:

  • If you regularly use some of the methods for reading questions mentioned bellow, please upvote the answer. (I do not think that there is much sense in upvoting something you use once in a year.)
  • If your method of accessing MSE is not mentioned here, please add a new answer.
  • Don't upvote/downvote the answers based on whether you like the method mentioned in answer or whether you find it interesting. Upvote only if you use that method.
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I regularly check recent questions in tags of my interest.

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    $\begingroup$ This is funny. Although I consider myself one of the more avid users of the site, I almost never do this. $\endgroup$ – davidlowryduda Jul 26 '12 at 14:36
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Typically I visit the site 2-3 times a day.

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    $\begingroup$ Is 2-3 meant as a lower or upper limit or both? I'm sure Asaf visits much much more than just 2-3... $\endgroup$ – Willie Wong Jul 26 '12 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ It was intended as: My average is in the interval $[2,3]$. I.e. if you visit the site more often, you should post some new answer. (Of course there should be some reasonable intervals, we don't want one answer for each single number of visits.) $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 26 '12 at 9:51
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    $\begingroup$ In his case it is more often than teenage girls update their Facebook status; see here. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Jul 26 '12 at 9:54
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    $\begingroup$ @Martin: That is an old comment. The time passed and now I check the site more times than a the times I check the site... $\endgroup$ – Asaf Karagila Jul 26 '12 at 13:56
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    $\begingroup$ I visit the site more than this, most days, but still miss many questions. Long ago, I would open every question that is asked, but the volume precludes that now. I scroll the top 50 periodically, but still miss many. What is the daily volume now? $\endgroup$ – Ross Millikan Jul 27 '12 at 4:23
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I regularly read at least the titles of all new questions back to when I was last on the site.

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I view recently active questions, my setting is 50 most recent questions.

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I have email subscription to filter for my favorite tags and/or to some individual tags. I visit the questions from these emails which seem interesting.

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There are a few users who seem to have similar interests as me, so I check their recent activity, their questions and/or answers.

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Every morning I read the headers on the front page (i.e. Top Questions, active). Once Upon A TIme that was enough to see all the new questions from overnight. But currently that is only about 2 hours' worth. So I may not see questions from the 6-8 hours before that, which may be prime question time in Europe.

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When I don't (or shouldn't) have a lot of time, and also the first thing I check when I do, is the StackExchange™ MultiCollider SuperDropdown™.

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    $\begingroup$ Are you talking about the inbox thingie in the upper left corner of the page? If not, what else? $\endgroup$ – t.b. Jul 29 '12 at 20:13
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, a Meta Stack Exchange meme, sorry. $\endgroup$ – Mark Hurd Jul 30 '12 at 1:05

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