So i asked a question on meta about hiding the "hot network questions" element on stackoverflow.com. One of the comment replies was that the "hot network questions" is basically a way for stackoverflow to keep me on the site longer even to the point of distracting me from why i originally came here(to get an answer to a technical question/to answer technical questions and raise my stack score)
It is always in your eyeline except on certain pages like settings/question formatting page with no way to disable it/modify it.
So if you think about it in that context is it a dark pattern? In my opinion this is similar to a persuasive pattern that becomes a dark pattern when you take away user choice...similar to how quora shows you other questions in the middle of reading answers to a question.