Voting for pure contest questions?

So, I just saw this querstion If both $a,b>0$, then $a^ab^b \ge a^bb^a$ , and I became confused at the number of upvotes it had. I perused the policies here on meta, and I see that questions like this are allowable.

However, I thought that upvoting questions was for questions that were considered 'good' by a metric that included context, the questioner's thoughts on the issue, etc. It seems to me that simply copy and pasting an interesting past contest question doesn't meet those standards....or am I wrong in my interpretation of the intent of the voting system for questions?

• You’re certainly wrong about how people actually do determine whether to upvote a question, even limiting the field to MSE regulars. As user $147263$ suggests, though, outsiders very probably are the reason for the bizarrely high vote counts on this question and its answers. – Brian M. Scott Dec 27 '14 at 3:56
• It may be the subject matter making it "Hot" as it is simple enough to understand. I have never really understood why my highest voted answer was a brief statement on Fastest way to check if $x^y > y^x$? but then I stopped caring how other people voted. – Henry Dec 29 '14 at 7:58

Your puzzlement is only natural. After a while, you will know for a fact that anything can get upvotes on MSE. Any question. Even answerable by clicking on the first google link? You bet. Any answer. Even dead wrong? Absolutely. Thus my advice would be (1) to take votes (and reputations) with a healthy dose of skepticism and (2) to move on. Good luck. -- Did

One popular method for getting a lot of upvotes is:

1. Give the question a non-technical and somewhat vague/intriguing title.
2. Do not use LaTeX in the title.
3. Make sure your question is not too difficult, so that a couple answers will be posted quickly.
4. Yet, it should not be completely standard, so that the answers get a few quick upvotes.
5. If you did 1-4 right, your question will enter Hot Network List and will be shown to 6 million people visiting Stack Overflow every day.
6. If they have a minute to kill, they will click on your question, and probably upvote (they have 101 reputation here, so they can upvote but can't downvote).
7. At long last...
8. Profit!

As you can see from the revision history, this question followed steps 1-4 successfully. The votes that it got have little to do with any policies or preferences of the users of this site.

• We might argue if this is a healthy practice! – Vishal Gupta Dec 25 '14 at 12:05
• Make sure the title is vaguely misleading so that it stands out on the Hot Network Question (see: any hot network question from the gaming stack exchange). May I suggest the hairy ball theorem? – Milo Brandt Dec 25 '14 at 16:27