This isn't the kind of thing you could easily exploit to keep a site from appearing in the hot questions list too often. This is designed to ensure that a single site doesn't dominate the list, and that users see a good sampling of questions that are likely to interest them throughout the network.
I want to make something perfectly clear (speaking to
the stuff you striked) ...
If you're a Stack Exchange site, getting on this magic carpet ride is something that is most decidedly good.
Yes, I know that sometimes being on the list causes:
- Low quality / joke answers
- Exaggerated voting
- Excessive discussion in comments
Getting someone to find your site and then do something meaningful once there is an extraordinarily difficult thing to accomplish. You might not see it that way because you use our sites every day and have for quite a while, but steering new, productive people into established communities is hard. We spent an enormous investment in developer time to come up with systems that help us identify where we lose people, where we win people, and where we sort of flip-flop.
It's actually better than Hacker News or Reddit, because the people arriving are more likely to know how things work and make fewer messes.
If you get five, or ten contributors that stick around and actually do the sorts of things that you want them to do once the party bus leaves, even if they only do it two or three times, you win, even at the cost of 20 or 30 flags.
While I am working on the idea of a two-key system that moderators could use to eject a very limited number of questions from that list once certain criteria has been met, this isn't the magic shield you're looking for :)