If empty pages without a special "?" linksource mark, instead linked from a normal underlined linkpattern, get high counts, there will be an additional incentive for authors to contribute to. -- FridemarPache
See WantedPages. This lists pages that don't exist, with a count of links to them (pages with 0 links are not listed for obvious reasons).
I think there is some stuff that should be done in this area, but I'm not sure what. Including the non-existent pages in RandomPages might be worth a try.
I've had a web page design rule since my first web page in 1995: never, ever display a hit counter. They only provide useful information to potential advertisers. They are for self-aggrandizing.
However, for dynamic communities, I'm willing to bend. The counters definitely show the flow of the community at any time. Unfortunately, the weights are self-perpetuating: the higher the counter, the more hits it will attract and thus raise its hit count again. This makes their values statistically useless. But, if you want that kind of self-selecting feedback, this is the kind of thing you want.
In general, though, you have to be careful with a decision like this. This puts the emphasis on popularity and community feeling instead of content. That's your choice as a community builder to make. -- SunirShah
I use Wiki:TopTen to measure the political forces on WikiWiki. While a particular page may be isolated from the rest of Wiki, it may garner all the hits from RecentChanges. It is really Wiki:TopTen that explains why people think there is a lower SignalToNoise ratio on Wiki, not Wiki:WikiList or even Wiki:RecentChanges.
I use HitCounts to measure the readership of MeatballWiki. As the community is young, I'd like to a) grow it past critical mass, b) figure out where it wants to head. As there isn't very much vocal feedback to what I write, I use this passive feedback instead. -- SunirShah