Vanity is the background of this question, but here we go...

To prevent misunderstandings: this is not about the ask ubuntu newsletter, but the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter (sent by Elizabeth K. Joseph).

Since long

I have been subscribed to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter. I never read it actually too well, until today. My eye fell on a subject in the mail:

People Contributing the best questions and answers this week:
Since at least once or twice, one of my answers was generously voted on, I expected to find my name somewhere in older mails. I admit.. as vain as it gets.

Digging through the mails however, I didn't see my name ever, which made me wonder, what is the algorithm behind the decision to mention questions or answer as "the best"?

What it is not:

  • The votes on the questions or answer
  • The activity on the question
  • Ask Ubuntu Top 5 Questions this week

Since these are mentioned separately.

Therefore, I asked the newsletter folks, who directed me to the Ask Ubuntu script on Launchpad, which didn't help much. I was advised to ask it here, and so I do.


A thorough search shows I was on the list a number of times, but the reason why puzzles me even more. Weeks with relatively high rank (e.g. in the example from muru's answer, #3, Feb 7, 2016 - Feb 13, 2016), I wasn't on the list, while I was on the list on e.g. 30-9-2015 (#34)

  • This sounds like a question for main, not meta. This has nothing to do with Ask Ubuntu as a site.
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 22:27
  • @Seth The script seems to point to AU? Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 22:28
  • Ah, I see. In that case we're good here. Did you consider asking Oli since he wrote the script?
    – Seth
    Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 22:31
  • @Seth Aha, thanks, I will! (or he might notice the question :) ) Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 22:36
  • Good question. . Commented Feb 22, 2016 at 23:12

2 Answers 2


I wrote the initial script after a request from Jorge. That has since been moved to Launchpad (as you've noted) and I've pushed a few changes over the years.

I know you can understand the script but I'll just spell it out for others,

  • It takes the top 5 questions from the "Hottest Questions this Week". I don't know the exact time-ranging algorithm for this.
  • Another 5 questions pulled from the API sorted purely by votes. This is time-based.
  • The list of contributors comes from the SE League. This is based on reputation between Mon and Sun, inclusive with no exception. This means that if you generate the list on a Tuesday it's only based on Monday's data.

If you think you should have been featured in the contributor list, I suspect your contributions might have been too late in the week. I'm not sure when the script is run so there might be something else.

I'm sure that when writing it I hadn't realised it was a literal "this week". If you can find a way of ranking users over the last 7×24×60×60 seconds in the API (or whatever), I'd be happy to help integrate it back into the script.

  • Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it. However: The "Hottest Questions this Week" as you mention it, seem to be covered in the header "==== Most Active Questions ====", the highest voted questions in the header "==== Top Voted New Questions ====". The The list of contributors however seems to have no correlation whatsoever every now and then with the People Contributing the best questions and answers this week. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 12:06
  • As mentioned, an example: in the beginning of september 2015, I was in the list whit rank #17, surrounded by #23 (previous week) and #45 (the week after). No way I should have been in the list, whatever the timing was. Same end of September 2014 (#34/#88/#25). At the same time, on other occasions (beginning of February) I would expect to be listed (#3), but wasn't. This could be a timing issue though. Didn't check them all. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 12:11
  • You could pick the previous week, always, for example, by getting the current week using datetime.isocalendar(), subtracting one from week and setting weekday to 0, then using the function here: stackoverflow.com/a/1700069/2072269. A few lines of code, probably not worth it. How do I do a fork-and-pull-request on Launchpad?
    – muru
    Commented Feb 25, 2016 at 6:16

The code in question:

contribs = ['%s (%s)' % (u.contents[0].string, u.contents[0]['href']) for u in BeautifulSoup(requests.get('http://stackexchange.com/leagues/31/week/ubuntu').text).findAll('h2')[1:6]]
output = '%s\n\nPeople Contributing the best questions and answers this week: %s and %s' % (output, ', '.join(contribs[0:4]), contribs[4])

http://stackexchange.com/leagues/31/week/ubuntu is the weekly reputation league for our site. Since it picks the top 4 users, you should have been in the list a couple of weeks ago.

  • Thanks, it makes sense. It increases the puzzle however. In the meantime, I found myself in the list a few times, but not on weeks with high rank (e.g. I was on the list here: #17 stackexchange.com/leagues/31/week/askubuntu/2015-08-23), nor in the example you mention. Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 6:02
  • The league is very literal when it says "this week". It means the current Mon-Sun period we're currently in... so it matters when the list is generated. An oversight on my part I'm sure.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Feb 23, 2016 at 11:02

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