I realised today that I actually first came to TWP through HNQ (Hot Network Questions list, on the right hand side of the StackExchange pages) while waiting for an answer to a question on Stack Overflow, same with my other sites like Bicycles.

I haven't joined a single site except SO independently. I'm wondering how many of us did the same since some people are saying it's broken, has no value, and we should opt out.

If some of us got here originally through HNQ, then it does have value. If it generates traffic, it has value, if it entertains, that is also value.

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    I am not quite comfortable about idea that (indiscriminately?) generating traffic and providing entertainment is of value because one can argue that this way we probably better start hosting porn at the site 'cause it generates traffic and entertains. Consider editing the post to clarify if this is not what you meant to state – gnat Nov 30 '18 at 17:21
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    That why we are going to run the test, to see to what extent HNQ helps or harms, and then decide. – DarkCygnus Nov 30 '18 at 17:25
  • DarkCygnus, I think the problem is, how do you define "help" or "hurt?" And how do you weigh them against each other? – dwizum Nov 30 '18 at 18:39
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    @dwizum That's being discussed in this meta thread. – David K Nov 30 '18 at 19:49
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    @DarkCygnus you're going to run the test, I thought it was still in debate, when did we decide to implement it? – Kilisi Nov 30 '18 at 20:49
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    Boggles the mind how anyone read my question and worked out it needs clarification or I'm advocating turning us into a porn site. – Kilisi Dec 1 '18 at 11:41
  • @Kilisi Most likely it will be implemented, judging my the currently +22/-3 votes on This Meta Post. – DarkCygnus Dec 4 '18 at 0:22
  • @DarkCygnus depends how they want to poll it, that would be clear bias since the two top answers clearly indicate HNQ has value. Nothing new about inane bias here though. I didn't even think to downvote the question as it's a valid topic for discussion, didn't realise it was a poll regardless of answers... I'll dv now – Kilisi Dec 4 '18 at 0:24
  • @DarkCygnus out of interest, how did you first come to TWP? Were you looking for an answer on google to a work related issue you had? – Kilisi Dec 4 '18 at 0:28
  • @Kilisi perhaps. To clarify, regarding my first comment I was in a way speculating on the apparent result. But my point was that, in order to know for sure if HNQ is helpful or not, we have to do some analysis and run some experiments. The points you mention (traffic etc) are precisely what should be analyzed here, but we have to find out that first in some way. Sorry if my first comment was confusing :) – DarkCygnus Dec 4 '18 at 0:28
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    @Kilisi I came here because I had a work-related question. At that time I already had 4 years on SE, most exclusively on SO, so I actively decided to search if a suitable site existed... then I arrived here :D – DarkCygnus Dec 4 '18 at 0:30
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    @Kilisi well, then we agree that we disagree :) anyways, I share your concern about this whole topic, and hope to see a consensus/solution soon – DarkCygnus Dec 4 '18 at 0:35
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    @DarkCygnus workplace.meta.stackexchange.com/q/5754/86962 says "Please indicate your support or opposition through answers (and votes on answers)". So you should be judging the results based on the answers, not the question votes. Sorting answers by votes makes it clear that there is overwhelming support for continuing to be in HNQ – DaveG Dec 11 '18 at 13:05
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    Yeah, the results of the meta post was an overwhelming 'keep', if you look at the votes on the answers (as the post said was going to be done). – Ask About Monica Dec 11 '18 at 19:28
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    Way late to this discussion, but to clarify I think few people claim it has no value, more so that it may do more harm than good since it does break some of the typical checks and balances. Measuring actual impact seems important but indeed difficult to quantify. As for the very interesting question raised here: I actually arrived here via HNQ back in the day. Something I hadn't really considered before, which I probably should have since I've been a vocal critic of the HNQ. – Lilienthal Dec 24 '18 at 0:28

11 Answers 11


Same for me. I was lurking on SO (I think? or one of the other IT sites) and saw an interesting workplace question. Since, I've found HNQ a great way (indeed, my primary way) of learning about other stack sites. I've had the ability to contribute and enjoy them as a result.

People naturally go online for "how to" technical questions, a place like SO is easy to find and well known. I would never have, actively, gone to find a site like Workplace. Without stumbling across it on HNQ, I would have never known about it.

  • why would anyone downvote this? – Kilisi Nov 30 '18 at 22:52
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    You have 103 answers, 236000 people reached in just 8 months, enough badge jewelry to cover yourself head to foot, I'd say that's pretty valuable. – Kilisi Dec 1 '18 at 5:29
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    Same here. Found interesting question in HNQ, then lurked for a year or so just reading, and eventually there was an unanswered question I knew something about so I decided to join. – Sopuli Dec 6 '18 at 22:34

Well, in my case I arrived here by other means different to HNQ.

I came here because I had a work-related question: Handling unusual email from possible recruit

At that time I already had ~4 years on SE, most exclusively on SO, so I actively decided to search if a suitable site existed... then I arrived here :D

  • Thanks for the answer, there are definitely other avenues to being here. I first found SO on google and have joined one site just a few days ago because I had a particular question I wanted to ask on building a swing for my kids. But all the rest including here through HNQ back in my early days. – Kilisi Dec 4 '18 at 0:36
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    wild idea now we have momentum - could there be (or is it already a thing) to be able to remove a question (instead of banning sites) from HNQ? Perhaps a Mod power, or some +25k voting... – DarkCygnus Dec 4 '18 at 0:38
  • Best idea I've seen so far on the topic... maybe make it a feature request? – Kilisi Dec 4 '18 at 0:41
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    @Kilisi I have to disconnect now, but perhaps we can cook this on chat and then work on a request tomorrow? – DarkCygnus Dec 4 '18 at 0:42
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    Have you seen this post Tim made today? It's just talk and ideas right now, but it sounds like review before HNQification is under consideration. – Monica Cellio Dec 4 '18 at 1:44
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    @MonicaCellio interesting, human involvement to my mind is a much preferable resolution than opting out altogether. I'm fine with the status quo, but if others aren't then this would be the best way to handle it. – Kilisi Dec 4 '18 at 9:55
  • @MonicaCelio nope, Will read it when I get to the office. I'll ping you guys later – DarkCygnus Dec 4 '18 at 14:20
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    Maybe a comment on this answer isn't the best place to ask this, but I feel really ignorant. Can someone post a link to an actual example of an HNQ-ified question that turned out poorly? And describe why it was a poor outcome? I know from the discussions that the fear is that it attracts unwanted attention but (and I almost feel silly for saying this, given how riled up everyone is), I can't say I've ever actually seen that happen firsthand. – dwizum Dec 4 '18 at 14:44
  • @dwizum one list of examples I can quickly get is from another SE site: Recent Trouble With Popularity. If you are primarily interested in examples from Workplace, ping me and I will look for (it may take time though) – gnat Dec 4 '18 at 15:10
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    @dwizum The best way to find a list of previously HNQs is to go to Questions and sort by highest votes. You may not be able to see most of the negative effects, because while an HNQ is active, the moderators spend a lot of time cleaning up and deleting comments and answers that shouldn't be there. The top three highest-voted question have a total of 23 deleted answers between them. – David K Dec 4 '18 at 18:20
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    @DavidK So, the problem is it's a lot of work for the moderators? And there is no lasting effect that's easy to point to? gnat, thanks for the link, I will take a look. – dwizum Dec 4 '18 at 18:35
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    @dwizum Only moderators can see deleted comments, but you can see all of the comments moved to chat, and that's just a portion of them. At 10k you'll be able to see all of the deleted answers too, including one that literally just says "KICK HIM IN THE BALLS!!!!!!!!!" Imagine what all of this would look like if the moderators didn't do anything. And the moderators can't fix things instantaneously - there is a lot of time where things do look really bad. – David K Dec 4 '18 at 19:13
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    The biggest impact that you can still see are the sheer number of answers - there are 29 of them on the first question. Do you think that it's possible for 29 answers to be substantially different and useful? No, they're just clutter and make the everything more confusing. Now if someone did come along with a novel and interesting answer, no one will see it because it's buried in all of the answers that say "I agree with the other posts but I want to add one tiny extra detail" – David K Dec 4 '18 at 19:18
  • More work for moderators is fine, we're paying them in diamonds... hehe – Kilisi Dec 4 '18 at 22:19

I frequently come here to from the HNQ, to view interesting questions. I vote only if I knew something is on topic. There are so many questions that potentially also apply to my workplace partially.

Statistics: visited 939 days, 16 votes cast


Pretty much the same here.

I started answering StackOverflow questions, if I'm truly honest, as PhD thesis procrastination. From there I discovered Area51, and then started contrbuting to the great outdoors through that.

That was years ago though. IMHO, Area51 is basically dead now.

Every other site I've ever contributed to has always been via an interesting HNQ that drew me in - this site included.


I got here via HNQ. I'm sure I didn't scan the list of 170 or so sites and pick this one out. I've been using StackOverflow for years and didn't even realize there was more to Stack Exchange until a year or so ago when I noticed a HNQ. So I'm definitely in favor of remaining in HNQ


Same for me via HNQ. Came for the sideshow, stayed for the content.


I'm a frequent visitor of The Workplace. I would say I typically visit 2-5 questions a day, and those questions are always because they were in the HNQ. Very infrequently, maybe once a fortnight I'll actually go to the newest questions and cast some flags or votes that way, but without HNQ I would likely not participate very frequently (not that I'd call what I do participation, besides reading the HNQ and voting appropriately).

Case in point: I just came here from HNQ while looking at two of the hot questions, and before I browsed away I stumbled upon this meta question.

My story is the same with IPS: I visited IPS daily, for the 2-4 HNQ, then eventually I joined and started voting, but since they've been removed from HNQ I've visited perhaps once.


I don't really remember if my first step was from the HNQ or the listing of sites.

At first I didn't know there was something else than SO, I start noticed it through the HNQ, and after with the list of sites using the header.

I went through the whole list and selected quite a few of my interest.

I also discovered some beta sites through the HNQ, it's not like I can really see a newcomer among all the sites since the list of already so long.

So maybe for a long established sites, removing itself from the HNQ should be manageable, however I would be far more skeptic for sites that are still in the process of growing.


To be honest, if The Workplace is not in the HNQ then I don't arrive here.

Given this reality I find that I am not very vested in the site's goal nor longevity. Don't get me wrong, I respect it but I'm just not vested.


I've discovered most of the Stack sites that I participate in via HNQ. Without it, the whole network would be a poorer place.

I really don't understand the priorities of these people who are making the complaints.


I also discovered several interesting sites via HNQ

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