Why does the list of Featured questions now appear to include questions which do not currently have available bounties?

For example, it now seems to include some questions which involve bounties but where all bounties have been awarded. I thought perhaps it is including questions whose bounties have recently been awarded, which it used not to do.

Here's a recent screenshot from the 'featured' list:

featured questions

and here's the bountiless question included:

bountiless question

However, it also includes questions such as this one

bountiless question

which offers no bounty and which has no answers already awarded bounties. So perhaps it also includes questions whose bounties recently expired, including expiry of the grace period.

  • 2
    I cannot replicate this behaviour. The current list of featured questions lists a single question. – Werner Aug 20 '16 at 6:34
  • There's one question only for me too in the list of featured questions. – user31729 Aug 20 '16 at 8:06
  • @Werner I think it depends when I look. When I wrote this, this was the behaviour. A couple of hours later, I got zero questions. A little after that, a new featured question appeared (though I didn't check the 'featured' tab at that point). So I'm assuming it is some kind of time lag or something i.e. eventually, the system catches up with itself. But I don't know. – cfr Aug 20 '16 at 12:46

Thanks; there was a bug on the "tag engine" (the backend system that deals with this stuff) that failed to update the "count" of an index when that index was being reduced to zero (it is fine when reducing in general - just the zero case is the problem). This meant it was happily reporting data that it knew wasn't "featured" (or whatevever) any more. Essentially (not the actual code!):

// rebuild a filtered+sorted index...
int matches = workspace.ApplyFilter();
if(matches == 0) {
     // nothing to do
} else {
    index.UpdateCountAndCopyFromWorkspace(matches , workspace);

In the zero case, it would never actually mark the index as being empty (the "nothing to do" was wrong - it should still have updated the count). Entirely my fault. A permanent fix for this will deploy today.

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