Ok ok so I've been watching all the discussion on this happening in various places in chat. I would like to add my opinion because this is the internet and that's just what you do, isn't it?
Firstly, I'd like to make an observation - SO is now fairly mature. Back in the day, in order to find itself, Stack Overflow had to experiment with illicit questions. They're how we worked out they just do not work. Now Stack Overflow is mature and all grown up, it knows these questions are bad, but it had to realise this for itself.
I think Mark Trapp sums it up best:
Is the internet better off by having those things on Stack Overflow? Do they attract the right people to a site that's supposed to be generating high quality questions and answers? It's not just the content of the question, but where the question is.
That is the determining factor. Are these questions any good? Do they provide value to someone, somewhere, somehow, in the life of a daily working programmer? If so, let's keep them here. It may be necessary to lock/historical significance-note these questions for the benefit of new members and the sanity of the moderator team; I say that's fine. Locks are here for that reason.
The other case is the old stuff that's actually genuinely rubbish. As in, really and utterly pointless.
The problem is finding the difference. So, to that end, let me give some examples from the polls tag:
- What are your favorite Vim tricks? - This question is highly bad for what we understand from the current format. I mean, it's "not constructive" if ever there was a question... but. It's an old question (and therefore a potential wasps nest, in Shog9's words), but I personally have used a trick or two from there. To the average developer who uses vim, this is actually a pretty handy page even if it sucks as a question. It's part of the "those were the days" moments where we remember past foolishness.
Confessions of your worst WTF moment - This question has questionable value anywhere on the internet at all. There are plenty of places on the internet where you can source "WTF" and "fail" should you so desire; plenty of places you can listen to anecdotes, including but not limited to your current co-workers. Votes mean nothing in this context; it's not even like the best trick will float to the top in this case. Yes, I hate fun too. Another example of this sort of question - I mean, the comment left on it was:
Wow, Digg's redesign looks exactly like Stack Overflow. Oh... wait...
I don't think I can say it any better myself. These sorts of questions are the things we don't tell our children happened whilst we were fixing the internet.
I think the point Gilles is trying to make here is that by locking the latter set of questions we, the community, can do nothing to delete these questions that really need it. I personally think there's a bigger problem; even if you unlock them, they'll take a lot of downvoting, 5 close votes and many delete votes to burninate and that's assuming 5 random people who thought "oh lolz" don't decide to reopen; every upvote these questions attract makes them harder to remove.
Here is an example of the problem, for those who have not used the post deletion votes:
For reference, at the time of writing the users in various reputation ranges capable of deleting are:
100k+ :42 (42)
50k <= x < 100k :104 (146)
20k <= x < 50k :494 (640)
15k <= x < 20k :369 (1009)
10k <= x < 15k :1417 (1786)
As such, to remove this post would take approximately 15% of all the 10k users there are.
So I think I'd say this - if you're not prepared to delete them, dear moderators, and lock them deleted, don't unlock them. I think the only way these are realistically going to be removed cleanly (given such high votes, without a to-and-fro in the interval it takes) is by a moderator.
I personally support the deletion of the junk questions and leaving those with some value as is. I also think moving the value content from existing questions into tag wikis is a good idea going forward and is definitely now the right place to host these resources. That said, I see no immediate need to burninate those questions with some value to them just because they don't match the current format.