As it has been announced on the main meta, diamond moderators now have the ability to remove questions from the Hot Network Questions List.

Since the policy on what to remove seems to be on a per-site basis, the same post also recommends the creation of a meta discussion with guidelines for both moderators and general users on when a question should be removed.

With this intent in mind, what criteria should be used for removing a question from the Hot Network Questions? When, if at all, should users be flagging questions for moderator attention for this removal?

Previous related topics include our discussions on whether to opt out from HNQ and our goals for HNQ.

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    \$\begingroup\$ This seems like something we are almost certainly going to have to develop over time to see what works. Trying to develop something solid to start off with trying though is not a bad idea I think. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 12, 2019 at 13:32

2 Answers 2


When HNQ Harms the Interests of the Asker

HNQ can give the asker extra visibility, but it can also result in answers that are missing some of the expectations specific to this sub-stack. It is a difficult question when the benefits exceed the drawbacks and vice versa. It's certainly not a welcoming experience when a person's visibility is denied due to a few bad apples. Still, being denied HNQ visibility is generally less bad than being denied all future answer due to question closure.

Thus, I see two cases when HNQ should be disabled:

  • When a question is nearing the closing threshold (or passed it) through no fault of the asker, but rather due to HNQ-derived answers. In this case, disconnecting the question from the hot network and keeping it open or reopening it is a better alternative. This bullet point is not meant to endorse 'punishing' an asker for bad answerers, but is a recognition of the unfortunate reality we live in where such closure common risk/event.
  • When the asker believes that the HNQ status is a net negative influence on the answers.
  • \$\begingroup\$ I like your second point, the first point is kinda soft around the edges due to how one makes the subjective judgment of "through no fault of the asker." In principle, I like what you propose. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2019 at 18:54
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    \$\begingroup\$ @KorvinStarmast It's a reference to 'your question is OK, but we will close it anyway because of the answers it receives' situations. It seemed to be an explicit type of closing I witnessed not that long ago. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2019 at 22:21

When the Question isn't a Good Representation of Our Site

Speaking as a mod who has removed a few of these types of question:

There is a certain style of question that is likely to end up on the HNQ that shouldn't. These questions are usually , , or questions that come off as more of a rant than an actual question.

These questions get a lot of interest with clickbaity titles and lots of drama. They also often drive lots of interaction through back-and-forth comments, votes, and answers, which increases the question's "Hotness" and gets it onto the HNQ. These questions also often touch on sensitive topics, further driving engagement, but not in a positive way.

Once on the HNQ, these questions tend to attract low-quality opinion-based answers from network users who just want to chime in on the drama rather than help refine the question or solve the querent's actual problem. These questions do not represent our site in a good light and are not the type of question we want drawing new users in.

Therefore, when questions like this hit the HNQ, it is better to pre-emptively remove them before the low-quality interactions roll in. It improves our ability to refine the question and help the OP, and also prevents unwanted noise.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Comment activity does not contribute to the hotness score. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 15, 2021 at 4:54

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