In the discussion on our back-it-up policy, Adam Bailey made a suggestion (3rd paragraph under point 5) that somehow got buried among his other points. In particular, he proposed that we as a site should limit our exposure to the Hot Network Questions (HNQ) queue. His rationale was:

[W]hen low-quality answers receive a lot of votes, some of those votes are by people who are not regular users of Economics SE but have seen a question on Hot Network Questions. We might explore (I think it would have to be raised with Stack Exchange management) the possibility of excluding our site from HNQs. This has already been done for several other sites (see here). The grounds for requesting exclusion would be that some economic questions are liable to attract attention from those with more interest in some social, political or other agenda than in economic science and that their votes can be harmful to the site.

I think this is quite a sensible proposal. Apparently every one of the 12 protected questions since last August had been on the HNQ queue before they got "protected". This is compelling evidence in favor of limiting, if not entirely excluding, our possible presence on the HNQ.

Should we follow through with this proposal?

  • $\begingroup$ It is true that would help to limit exposure to votes from laymen but it would also make our site less visible. I remember that originally I made account on SE for cross-validated and Stack overflow and I discovered economics.se through hot question queue. I would not be surprised if there are economists at SO or cross validated that maybe not heard of us yet. The sites that do that in that list are also not other science stacks, it is true that we have smaller expert base than the other ones though. We also recently adopted the community standards for answers I think that will help $\endgroup$
    – 1muflon1 Mod
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 8:48
  • $\begingroup$ @1muflon1: I think in essence we are balancing between visibility to experts and visibility to laymen. Glorfindel’s answer shed light on some aspect of this trade off. $\endgroup$
    – Herr K.
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 13:30

1 Answer 1


I'll admit that I don't frequent this site enough to know how big the problem is, so I don't have an opinion about your proposal, but I can give you some additional insight with help of the Stack Exchange Data Explorer. Since March 2019, it registers which questions became Hot Network Questions, and Economics had 364 of them. Only 18 of them (5%) were protected, as this query shows.

Please note that SEDE is updated only once a week, on Sunday morning. But for historical analysis like this, that should not be a real problem.

  • $\begingroup$ Thanks. This data is very helpful. $\endgroup$
    – Herr K.
    Commented Mar 27, 2021 at 13:12
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Protecting a question prevents users with very low rep from posting answers, as could happen when users arrive via HNQ's. However, the more serious issue is when a low-quality answer (posted by whoever) receives lots of upvotes from users arriving via HNQ's, perhaps becoming more prominent than other very good answers. $\endgroup$ Commented Mar 28, 2021 at 12:25

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