“Measures to separate MO from the rest of the stackexchange network”, and various other recent meta questions, have discussed (among other things) opting out of the stackexchange-wide hot list.
I’ve not seen anyone yet addressing the sub-question: what downsides, if any, could such an opt-out have? Is MO (or Stackexchange as a whole) currently getting any benefits from MO questions on the hot-list?
In particular, the most obvious possible benefit is bringing new users to MO, or keeping existing users active by giving them pointers back to MO from other SE sites. Of course, these are only desirable so far as the users are “good” users — people engaging seriously with research-level mathematics, not just kibbitzing and upvoting the more popularly accessible questions.
My expectation would be that we don’t gain many new good users this way, but that it might help keep existing good users active. But this is just a guess; does anyone have any evidence, anecdotal or statistical, on either of these? Or ideas on other possible downsides to an opt-out?