I'm curious about the exact mechanisms behind the 'hot meta posts' blurb on the right hand side of the main/meta page.

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I have been monitoring it for the past few days to see if my recent question would make it, but it never appeared (to my knowledge, and I visit the site a somewhat embarassing amount).

Initially when the upvote count was higher than other older questions on meta I thought that perhaps the low view count was contributing, but the question that just popped up in the queue now currently has fewer views and fewer upvotes, and is an older question.

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If the amount of upvotes and views and time to get them have no direct bearing on what becomes a hot meta question, what does? Is it not showing for me because it is my question?

I did note that the moderator response to my question was essentially 'we have bigger fish to fry and like things the way they are', which makes me wonder if it was blocked from being hot by the moderation team. If this is the case I have no outright objections, although I think some transparency would be nice. (I also think that hot questions can't be edited like that by moderators based on past drama, but I am not sure.)

Any pointers are appreciated.

  • $\begingroup$ I guess that "the question that just popped up in the que" might be a typo. (Although Wiktionary says that this is used in South Asia as an alternative for queue.) As I wasn't sure what you wanted to write, I left a comment rather than editing the post. $\endgroup$ – Martin Sleziak Apr 18 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ @MartinSleziak It is indeed a typo, but I learned something new! Fixed. $\endgroup$ – Alec Rhea Apr 19 at 1:17

If you look at the community-bulletin tag info, you can find a link to this post: What criteria are used to select the links that appear in the community bulletin sidebar block? on Meta Stack Exchange. The post describes in detail, how a question gets into the community bulletin.

In short, only the questions from past two weeks, only questions having the tag and score $\ge3$ are selected. The mods can use the to add something to the community bulletin - although the question is then shown as "Featured on Meta" and not among the "Hot Meta Posts".

But it seems that SE is considering including also the questions with the tag. In fact, changes related to this caused a bug which was reported quite recently, see: New questions are not being added to the community bulletin (on Mathematics Meta), Only meta questions with both [feature-request] and [discussion] meta tags are featured in Hot Meta Posts (on Meta Stack Exchange) and Feature non-[discussion] meta post in the community bulletin (on Meta Stack Overflow).

Looking at the current criteria:

Here is a screenshot showing how the community bulletin is shown to me right now. (The screenshot was taken here on meta. It is worth mentioning that the community bulletin looks a bit differently on the main site and on meta.)


Becoming a hot meta post is shown in the history only since August 2020. (See: Recent feature changes to Stack Exchange and Hot Meta Posts: Allow for removal by moderators, and thoughts about future improvements.) This means that you can get them from SEDE using similar queries as for the Hot Network Questions. For example, here is one such query. (The same query was mentioned also in the chatroom listing bounties and HNQs from MO.)

Using SEDE you can also see which questions had the (featured) tag in the past. (It seems that, among the current moderators, François G. Dorais uses the tag most frequently.)

You have also asked whether your question was removed from the Hot Meta Post section by the moderators. Such action is technically possible, but it seems to me that this happens very rarely. And it would be displayed in the timeline and the revision history. I see only one such case here on MathOverflow Meta. (Again, you can find such posts using SEDE. The same query shown no such posts on Mathematics Meta and 7 instances on Meta Stack Overflow - which supports the claim that this is not used very often.)

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    $\begingroup$ Thorough as always Martin, thank you. $\endgroup$ – Alec Rhea Apr 19 at 1:16

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