In response to the recent problems with the HNQ, I think we need to rethink how the Hot Network Questions are ranked. As @E.P. pointed out, in their answer, one of the biggest, if not the biggest, problem with the list is that it is filled with clickbait.
Featuring clickbait on the HNQ just attracts new users that enjoy clickbait. These shouldn't be the people we are trying to attract. We want users that actually care about the site and will uphold the quality standards. This goes along with what @NicolBolas said in their answer. Showing clickbait just makes other users think using clickbait to get upvotes and views is OK.
What we really need to do is sort out which questions are clickbait and which aren't. That way we get good questions that encourage people to join the site and leave an insightful, helpful answer, instead of getting people who take a look at it and then leave or join just to post a spam answer. The kinds of questions that should be on the HNQ should be in need of answers, with a sufficient number of answers having a high score.
Unfortunately, click-bait-y answers get a lot of upvotes by virtue of having more views from more people clicking it, so votes is not an accurate indicator of whether the question is a good one (non-clickbait). The best way to tell whether the answer is clickbait might be based on the proportion of upvotes to views.
To combat clickbait, we should explore the possibility of a views:upvotes ratio to determine if a question is a good one. It would be simple enough to implement because it uses metrics we already have without needing checking for clickbait keywords.
What is the ratio of views:upvotes in popular clickbait questions compared to the ratio for a non-clickbait popular questions? Popular meaning these questions meet the objectives for a HNQ. These proportions will be important in determining the relationship between the two metrics, and will tell us if it is possible to determine what is and isn't clickbait.
This question asks for a ratio backed up by hard evidence. Please do not provide "Well I guess X because Y" answers. I know the answer will be a little subjective based on how you define clickbait, and it may require some digging and searching, but I think the results will still be accurate enough to be of use.
If you don't agree with this question
A lot if users have pointed out that, in their opinion, cickbait is not an issue with the HNQ, or that the views:upvotes ratio won't be helpful. Thank you for the feedback, but I am not asking about feasibility here.
For the purposes of this question, I do not want to argue about whether this metric will be helpful/accurate. If you think there is a problem with gathering the data I described, I am open to that. If you think the HNQ has a different problem, please discuss this on the HNQ post I linked to. Please do not complain about this question because you think the metric will be unhelpful. Also try to think about that if you are planning on downvoting or VTC-ing. All I am asking for is this ratio, my analysis of the HNQ issues is only provided as a background for the question.
If you are downvoting, it would help if you could please leave an explanation of why in the comments so I can improve this post. I have tried to edit this post multiple times, but it seems that there is still a problem.