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To the left side of questions listed under Hot questions, I see a number.

screenshot

What is that number? I would think it is the number of users who seen the question, but it's not the same number I see in the Q&A site.

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Those are "hotness" points. You can see how they're calculated here and how they're tweaked here.

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    Why would such a cryptic, semi-obfuscated statistic have such prominent visual and hierarchical placement? – alex gray Aug 21 '13 at 23:31

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