A user on Beer (beta) suggested temporarily allowing a kind of question that normally would be considered off-topic, in order to build site activity. Specifically, the user proposes crosswords, inspired by Latin crosswords. (Keep in mind though, that in Latin's case, crosswords were proposed as on-topic, whereas in our case we're all already in agreement that crosswords are off-topic. In the user's own words, this proposal is a band-aid solution.)
In fact, I'm guilty of doing something similar when the site first launched: I introduced a list-style question (a textbook case of "too many possible answers") primarily to encourage traveling beer enthusiasts to come and share their brewery finds at airports.
To clarify, my own position is ambiguous. My gut feeling (and my tendency toward "Spartan" measures) is that off-topic questions shouldn't be allowed, under any circumstance: survive without cheating, or perish. But my restrained thoughts are: Well, why not? If a bit of "cheating" (a handful of bad questions that can be weeded out later) could help build an eventually healthy site, would the ends justify the means? Didn't Stack Overflow benefit from numerous list-style, primarily-opinion-based and too-broad questions from the early days, that are still open for their "historical significance" (read: still useful)?
Preferring empirical discussion over theoretical, have you participated (or moderated) any other betas that entertained this idea? If so, and the site did permit certain off-topic questions, were there any long-term adverse effects? Or side-effects?