I agree with the answers to:
that suggest not limiting the number of downvotes a question or answer can get.
However, I would suggest a different behavior for users who are new to the site. I see often enough, and twice today just casually following new questions, a new user post a question that does not pass muster for any number of reasons, only to receive a large number of downvotes. In one of those instances, the user contacted me as one of the closers, frustrated, not understanding what happened to his question or how to fix it.
This can be demoralizing, especially if the comments are sarcastic rather than helpful.
I would suggest instead that a question from a "new" user that attracts a threshold of downvotes be automatically placed on hold, and a comment be automatically appended to the question welcoming the user to the site and providing a link to read up on how to ask a good question for StackOverflow. Let them know (as experienced users do) that they can remove the negative reputation by deleting the question, and that they can ask a new, better formulated version of the question.
A "new" user might be one below a certain reputation threshold, or each user might be allowed one instance of special handling ever.