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I have noticed that moderators on sites tend to protect questions that hit the top questions lists. This is probably to mitigate the deluge of answers that hot questions are likely to get, mostly because they are common problems or questions people have, or are otherwise interesting.

They also typically already have good (more often, great) answers if they hit the Hot Questions list.

Can Hot Questions be protected automatically?

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    Or in the very least, protected for the duration of the hotness
    – mhlester
    Commented Feb 20, 2014 at 2:22
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    Interesting. While this is similar to the linked dupe, and the dupe is similar to the question it is closed as a dupe of, this question is quite clearly unrelated to the root of the dupe chain.
    – Kevin
    Commented Feb 17, 2017 at 19:10

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