I'm assuming that this question Is there a word for the joy a smart aleck feels when they point out to other people how stupid they are? got more than 7,000 views, 25 net upvotes, and was favorited 4 times because it got on the Hot Network List.

How does a question get on the list, and does ELU have any say in what gets on the list?

The question is a mean-spirited one. I'm not saying I am offended by it, only that I think it unworthy of being a representative of ELU on the List.

  • 3
    We have no control over the HNQ.
    – Dan Bron
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 1:10
  • I believe closed questions are removed from the list; otherwise, what @Dan Bron said.
    – herisson
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 1:49
  • 1
    @DanBron Are we even in control of ourselves? :P
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 8:40

2 Answers 2


The answer to the question "Do we have any control" is actually Yes.

Well, it's "Yes, but."

It's not that we have control over which questions appear, but whether questions appear at all. It is possible for sites to opt out of having any questions appear on the HNQ list. For that to be implemented, a Meta question setting out the proposal and getting a high degree of support would be needed.

  • 1
    Ah, but I love showing off our questions to the rest of the network. Wish there was a way to choose the best ones to showcase, though. I've seen some MSE about it. So far, no control is given to users, except to close questions quickly if they're bad.
    – NVZ Mod
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 8:19
  • That's true. Users can protect questions though, and the system does that by itself if several low-score answers are deleted. That does quite a bit to save the site from the ravages of the hordes.
    – Andrew Leach Mod
    Commented Sep 28, 2017 at 8:21

As of March 2019, moderators can now kick a question off the HNQ.

Otherwise, the criteria used for the HNQ can be found here. As you can see, there are two actions that would stop a question from being on the HNQ list (closing the question or deleting all its answers). In this case, there's nothing wrong with the question or its answers, so neither is going to happen. Waiting it out is always an option too.

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