Today I visited the front page and was surprised to see that almost half of the questions were blatantly off-topic, and another chunk casually mentioned the possibility of a tool solving their problems but were otherwise not really posed as a typical Software Recommendation question. Curiosity got the better of me and I decided to write a SEDE query displaying the number of questions per week.

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There's a large increase in the number questions from last December until February (from 10 per day to 40 per day) and 50% of them have been closed and/or deleted, compared to only 10% in the period before. March looks like the site is back to its normal level, but the state of the front page gets me a little worried.

Note that the decrease in # of closed/deleted posts since April 2018 can be attributed to the RemoveAbandonedQuestions program of Roomba.

What could be the cause of this? Is another site on the network redirecting bad traffic to here? Has an unfortunate email gone out?

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    Seems to coincide roughly with the AAQ wizard being tested. Doesn't it sometimes recommend Softwarerecs to ask on instead? Can someone with analytics access see if there was an increase of referrals from SO in the same period? – magisch Mar 28 '19 at 16:52
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    June 2018 was the first announcement of Ask a Question wizard on Stack Overflow (looks like no redirection to other sites yet), December 2018 started the test (with the redirection), March 2019 officially launched. Yeah, one of the option in the AaQ Wizard is recommending Software Recommendation. – Andrew T. Mar 28 '19 at 16:55
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    Is the bump similar on Super User and Hardware recommendations? – rene Mar 28 '19 at 17:03
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    Super User yes; Hardware Recs probably. – Glorfindel Mar 28 '19 at 17:06
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    Ask Question wizard is probably related then. Needs a CM to see where the referrers are from. – rene Mar 28 '19 at 17:14
  • I wonder what is meant here by "bad" traffic. – TylerH Apr 18 '19 at 20:39

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