I'm curious, as I see questions from many sites which I never heard of, but I never see one of Latin.SE.

If not, is it allowed to collude and coordinate a viralisation of a question (via several quick answers and comments and views)?

  • 1
    Funnily enough, I just saw this Meta post in your profile after asking a question that just got into the HNQ. It currently has 20 hotness points, with the threshold being around 10, so it may be there for a while.
    – fedorqui
    Commented Aug 28, 2018 at 10:59

3 Answers 3


This site has had questions on the HNQ (Hot Network Questions) list. I recall there being a time when we had three questions on that list at the same time.

The HNQ questions shown on the side panel are a small selection of all HNQ questions. The full HNQ list is far longer. I'm under the impression that the ones shown in the side panel are a random selection from the longer list, but there may be some ranking involved, too.

The hotness of a question is currently calculated using this formula:

(MIN(AnswerCount, 10) * QScore) / 5 + AnswerScore
         MAX(QAgeInHours + 1, 6) ^ 1.4

There are also some additional adjustments. You can read about some details here, but I don't know how much of it is up to date. (There has also been discussion on reorganizing the HNQ ranking if you are interested.) If you hover your mouse over a question on the HNQ list, you can see the hotness score it has.

The list consists of the highest scoring questions on the network. Notice that the score decays as the question ages, so all questions will eventually drop. I think questions over 30 days old are ineligible.

If you want to promote a question to the HNQ list, you need to increase its hotness score. Views and comments don't help there. The score of the the question and answers are important. One of the most important things is (unfortunately if you ask me) the number of answers.

Most of our HNQ questions are the ones that get two or more answers pretty quickly. In some cases the question title is interesting and people follow the HNQ link and vote. This phenomenon is quite rare, but it has happened a couple of times. For reference, here are the questions of 5000 or more views. You can change the view limit to see more or less.

If you collude to bring a question to the HNQ list, you do the site a service, so I have nothing against it. I have seen opinions on other SE sites that getting to the list is a disservice, but I think the thing it takes to get there — many answers and votes — is a service.

I strongly support giving a lot of answers. Even if the answer is simple, it should be given as an answer instead of a comment. This does promote our questions in the HNQ list, but that's not my main motivation. It's just that the site seems to function better in many respects when there are several answers to compare and vote. Even rewording and emphasizing some key points of an older answer is fine (and encouraged); it can be immensely helpful. Many users might be experts, but the site is supposed to be helpful to non-experts as well, and someone with less knowledge can benefit from different explanations of the same thing quite a lot.

  • 2
    Even rewording and emphasizing some key points of an older answer is fine (and encouraged); it can be immensely helpful. That's actually an interesting point.
    – Cerberus Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 19:16
  • @Cerberus I have seen that phenomenon very clearly at mathematical sites, and I strongly believe it exists across the whole network. Experts might consider two explanations equivalent even if they are very different for a newcomer. // I added an answer to the question whether coordinated promotion to HNQ is allowed.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta Mod
    Commented Jul 26, 2017 at 19:57
  • 1
    It’s perhaps worth noting that answers-in-comments are officially verboten in the Stack Exchange network norms (though many Stack Exchange sites follow this norm loosely, if at all), because answers-in-comments break down a lot of the fundamental functioning of the site: you can’t accept them, you can’t downvote them, they are smaller and are supposed to be entirely skip-able, and so on. Answers-in-comments are decidedly bad, and should be uniformly avoided. All that said, to corroborate: I only discovered this site, and for the most part have only visited it, because of HNQs.
    – KRyan
    Commented Aug 8, 2017 at 20:39

I can see that this is actually not a strange phenomenon. To complement Joonas's answer, I show that this happened to two of my questions (here and here):

enter image description here

enter image description here

(I'm not trying to be pedantic, nor doing this on purpose).

  • Came here for this
    – Rafael
    Commented Aug 9, 2017 at 20:17

Well this question made it for obvious reasons: enter image description here

as far as your other question I believe viral question making is actually encouraged, publicity is good, as it brings in more answerers and askers.

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