I'm sure most of us have seen questions with issues (off-topic, not constructive, etc) which, with a little editing, could be good questions.
In theory, the solution to these kinds of questions would be to close them, give the OP an opportunity to improve via editing, and then reopen them. If editing has truly improved the question, then upvotes after reopening would balance out any initial downvotes. (I've seen this happen many times, so I know it works.)
Except, due to "lounging" or other factors, some questions are swamped with an unusual number of downvotes (-10, -20 or more). Before the question can be edited, the OP loses heart (or recognizes that the chance of regaining their rep is basically non-existent) and the question is simply deleted (when possible) or abandoned (as hopeless).
Is this a common issue? Or, alternately, is it uncommon but "bad enough" (given SO's mission) that it should be addressed? SLaks found one such instance which has since been deleted. I've seen one or two, but I'm not sure what the statistics are.
If so, is there a way to protect these kinds of questions without significantly curtailing the very important task of voting? It's a sensitive issue because any solution would involve the restriction of voting, and that is not a light subject.
One solution proposed a couple years ago was to assign closed questions to community. Votes after closing would thus not affect the author, giving them a chance to either edited the question or for the community to delete it (if it's not salvagable). While that feature-request didn't get much traction (not even a status-declined), it would seem to go part way toward solving the above problem. It, admittedly, would lead to other potential issues.
Perhaps a different possibility would be to put a short voting hold on closed questions to give the author a window to improve the question before it accrues "too many" downvotes. A closed question restricts answers partly for this reason and I don't think it would be a huge leap to extend this to votes. Users who do not have the reopen privelege could always use flags if they felt strongly about the question. Perhaps an hour or two would be sufficient for most cases.
Then again, it is also possible that this is so uncommon and/or relatively unimportant that any automatic or one-size-fits-all attempt to address it, including my suggestion above, would actually cause more harm than it would fix. If that's the case, perhaps mods could be given the ability to restrict voting on a question where they see an issue. (For example, Chichiray voted to delete the question SLaks commented on "because the community made a mess of it". Wouldn't it have been better for a mod to protect the question, rather than deleting it?)
What are the thoughts on this?