This question was removed from the HNQ list with only a short notice "Needs detailed answers".

Why not "protect" it instead of entirely removing it from the HNQ? After being edited and reopened, it looks like a good question that received at least one great answer.

Removing a question from HNQ was discussed here and there seemed to be an agreement that it should be done only on an exceptional basis:

Very rarely, when absolutely necessary to prevent harm to the site or the community.

  • 1
    I don't understand why this is getting downvoted. I don't think it's immediately obvious why the question was removed from the HNQ. Even if it was, nothing wrong with asking about it on Meta.
    – yannis
    Apr 3, 2020 at 3:23

2 Answers 2


Hot Network Questions attract bad answers and bad comments, especially when they're about partisan current events like this one. While that question has one great answer and a few good answers (all of which were posted early on), its also attracting bad answers and lots of bad comments, most of which amounted to "Americans are stupid", which have to be cleaned up creating work for mods and users.

"Protecting" the question doesn't accomplish anything since it requires only a single upvote to overcome, and does nothing about comments.

The value, in my opinion, of HNQ is that it shows off good work and attracts new users. But when it starts attracting unproductive contributors or users whose aim is to ratchet up conflict, mods should be quick to shut it down to try to maintain the relatively low level of partisan conflict (at least compared to the rest of the internet) that allows this site to function.

Obviously, my opinion on this isn't universal, but I'm strongly inclined to trust the moderators to judge when the costs of HNQ outweigh the benefits, especially since doing so doesn't hide anything, it just slows down the firehose of users. While the author of the Meta question you quoted is less inclined to have mods intervene, they also say:

At the same time, I am inclined to trust the site's moderators to use reasonable judgment in exercising their powers.

I see no reason here to doubt their judgement on this decision.


When I happened upon the question, I noticed that the later answers were both opinionated and unsupported. There were also more than a handful overly chatty comments. A troubling pattern, and one that strongly hinted the question was past the point where the extra attention of the HNQ was of any benefit.

Why not protect it?

Protecting a question is a stronger action, as it blocks answers from newer users. Removing the question from the HNQ doesn't block anyone or anything. It just returns the question to its normal state.

Also, in this specific instance, protection wouldn't be particularly useful. Only one (somewhat) problematic answer is from a brand new user. The rest would have all gone through.

  • 1
    Yeah, the answers to that question of quite a few regulars here were fairly disappointing to me as well. (As was the closure of the question, which made edit another answer to say something, earlier on.) The "protection from" HNQ was more of protecting our reputation by not showing off an embarrassing (mostly internal) product rather than protecting the question from HNQ answers. But I think that once something gets HNQ'd "the regulars" chime with "easy answers" hopring for "easy rep" via HNQ votes. YMMV if I'm correct about that, as it's very difficult to prove it really works like that. Apr 3, 2020 at 1:17

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