I don't know how many look at the MathOverflow Weekly Newsletter, but these were the "Greatest hits from previous weeks":

I assume this is an artifact of people editing old, popular posts. It doesn't put the best face on MO. (On the other hand, the "Top new questions this week" do represent MO more accurately.)

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    $\begingroup$ Where does one even find this newsletter? $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 0:15
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    $\begingroup$ @Scott: Here: http://stackexchange.com/newsletters. It can be a useful service for those who have an interest in an area but do not participate regularly. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 0:32
  • $\begingroup$ (Incidentally, I don't know if there is an archive of earlier newsletters...) $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 0:33
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    $\begingroup$ According to this answer at meta.SO there is no such archive. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 12:32
  • $\begingroup$ Well, that's a shame that there is no archive (I delete them weekly myself). I remember that "What are your favorite instructional counterexamples?" was among the "greatest hits" recently, as was "Statistics for mathematicians." I don't see any way to control this, but it is an unfortunate side effect of old posts being bumped to prominence again. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 12:41
  • $\begingroup$ Is the newsletter made by an artificial intelligence? (I mean, any intelligent human editor would spot the problem at once). If so, why not to push the off button for the time when the bumpy transition is going on? $\endgroup$
    – fedja
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 18:52
  • $\begingroup$ @fedja: Yes, I think it is entirely automated via software. Likely no StackExchange employee looks at it, except to verify that the software is working. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ @fedja (and in general) I had a look around on meta.SO following the link above and also a bit more generally to find out how exactly the selection is done but had no luck, but at least can confirm what Joseph O'Rourke suggests it is pure AI. Also, other components (like some selection of unanswered questions the newsletter contains) differ from one letter to the other (also for the "same" newsletter, which also explains that there is no real archive). But that the 'good' questions that are selected are often not so good is IMO unsurprsing and not temporal in any way. $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 21:27
  • $\begingroup$ The main issue seems to be extrapolating from how "hotness" is determined that many answers are considered as 'good' (in a direct plus in an indirect way via total score of all answers). Anyway, as I said in one of the last discussions on 'tea' I think to make a good newsletter for MO is difficult (for AI and HI), to the extent one might best give up on the idea, in my opinion. For some other selection that is in part a bit, well, not optimal mathoverflow.net/questions?sort=frequent (but really only in part, it is actually not so bad). [For that selection number of links is key.] $\endgroup$
    – user9072
    Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 21:33
  • $\begingroup$ Just as a contrast: I also subscribe to the Theoretical Computer Science Newsletter. In the Aug 1st newsletter, which I haven't yet deleted, the "Greatest hits from previous weeks" are: "What is the complexity of this edge coloring problem?" and "How to check if a number is a perfect power in polynomial time." These seem much more representative of TCS than do the "greatest hits" represent MO. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 29, 2013 at 23:47
  • $\begingroup$ I'll change this to a bug since it was reproduced in today's newsletter. $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 0:23
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    $\begingroup$ "to make a good newsletter for MO is difficult" Agreed. But not to make a bad one should be easy (by making none, if no brighter idea comes into anybody's mind). I mean, if this feature hurts more than helps (and it seems to be so), maybe we should request disabling it for MO. Are there any good arguments against such request? $\endgroup$
    – fedja
    Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 4:46
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't even know that such a newsletter exists... $\endgroup$ Commented Aug 30, 2013 at 14:12


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