Ok, there's always a lot of talk about closing or not closing questions that show no research effort, but are otherwise good questions (or is it just me talking to myself again?).
Skip to after the line (to "I propose ...") if you agree and are feeling lazy.
On the one hand, the asker doesn't really deserve an answer, if that's at all important. That, combined with the fact that allowing it to get answers and stick around (by not closing and deleting it), even if downvoted, sets a precedent for such questions in future, by both that user (possibly at least until he gets a question ban) and others. This precedent wouldn't really be bad if it were only for otherwise good questions, but of questions lacking visible research effort, those just lacking research effort (and aren't otherwise really, really terrible questions) is most likely in the minority - the problem is that this precedent doesn't just get set for those questions, but in fact all questions lacking visible research effort.
On the other hand, it might be useful for future visitors.
I know - official policy dictates that we should just downvote (if we feel it's appropriate to do so) and leave open, but then there's certain seemingly identical cases where we should close it, which just leaves me generally rather confused, but anyway, that's beside the point.
I did have a question in mind, but, after thinking about it a bit, I don't think it's particularly useful (others might disagree), and every time I pick a candidate for this type of question someone points out that "Oh, but you obviously could've closed it as ..." and I'm like "That's not the point!" (ok, maybe this just happened once, or, well, a few times, but in the same thread, and now I'm scarred, forever fearing the "That's not a good example" answer, I feel my heart starting to race already...), but anyway, where were we? Oh right, my feature request.
I propose that we extend the closing functionality to allow users to vote to place a question in temporary 'limbo'.
I imagine limbo working in one of a few ways:
Exactly as the current close functionality - obviously the easiest to implement
Allow users to post answers, but don't display any answers on the question while it is in limbo - this one is starting to sound like a bad idea already
A combination of both - hide (temporarily delete?) the current answers, and don't allow any new answers.
If a question is placed into limbo, it will remain there for ... let's say a week, after which it gets treated as a new question (i.e. it triggers "x question with new activity" on ... ummm, say this page, which, despite the naming, questions with new activity doesn't trigger, only new questions - the comments and answers can still remain), except that:
There's a note somewhere saying it's been in limbo.
It can't get placed into limbo again.
Anonymize the question.
The motivation here is that the user doesn't get any reputation for the votes on the question from that point onwards. The motivation behind that is that we can upvote these questions purely on the usefulness, ignoring the fact that it doesn't show any research effort.
I considered a semi-Community Wiki, but this isn't ideal as the user most likely won't be particularly motivated to edit the post to clear up any ambiguity, so it might be better to anonymize the question as to indicate that potential answerers shouldn't ask for clarification using comments, but rather simply state their assumption in the answer. And maybe we don't want the user to be notified of comments or answers, and possibly get badges for a popular such question, but perhaps I'm just being mean now.
Questions placed into limbo should follow similar guidelines for being reopened if edited (that is, prior to the scheduled removal from limbo).
I intentionally left the process for limbofication vague, as that's not really the point (deja vu...), but one possible way it could work - a question with a total of 5 votes, any of which being either close or limbo votes either gets closed or placed in limbo, if 3 or more close votes, it gets closed, if 3 or more limbo votes, it gets placed into limbo. Then one would presumably be able to follow a similar voting system to the current one (5 votes) to move a question from being closed to being placed in limbo (and vice versa?)
As I see it, I think there's a sufficient combination of:
Otherwise good questions that get closed.
Otherwise bad questions that stay open.
Just, in general, a ton of questions that don't show any research effort. This is maybe not a problem as such, but it sets the precedent for other bad questions, as mentioned above, and it certainly greatly increases the probability of duplicates, for obvious reasons.
To justify this.
Despite my earlier phrasing (or how this may come across), I don't think this has much more to do with punishment than the current system, whether that be for the common good or bad - a question getting put into limbo, then removed from limbo as described will essentially be the same (for the asking user) as a question getting closed, then automatically deleted (well, automatic deletion isn't after a week, but, again, not the point).
Given that you'll most likely On the off chance that you think this is a bad idea, consider this a "We have a problem and something need to be done about it - here's my take" post.