I asked a question last night, and it was received pretty well, to the point that it managed to get into the Hot Network Question (HNQ) list. But as a result of this, a moderator protected the question, with this justification:
I am routinely protecting hot network questions about hot-button issues as a preemptive measure. We made a lot of bad experience in the past with people posting inappropriate answers to HNQs and still receiving a lot of upvotes for them (like this). This gives them and everyone else a wrong impression about how this site works.
If you would like to discuss this further, please create a new question on meta. Comments on questions should be about the content of the question.
I understand that the HNQ questions are often protected, to avoid new users from other communities to post answers that the community evaluates as low quality. This is amplified by the fact that most HNQ visitors do have the ability to upvote, but not to downvote, so even low quality answers will get at least some upvotes, that won't be easily balanced out by downvotes from active contributors of this site.
With this specific question though, I feel that protecting it was not strictly necessary, in the sense that all answers posted so far are on-topic, and none have been deleted.
In addition, because the specific question deals with a political issue between countries with a very small population, I am afraid that by protecting the question, we are silencing some of the opinions of the involved parties, since it is not very likely to find a "representative" of each point of view, that has eared 10 points on politics.se.
So what does the community feel about protecting questions like this? Does the risk of having upvoted off-topic answers outweigh the possibility of losing the some of the points-of-view from the answer section?
Do consider that users with no account with more than 200 points, are totally unable to express their views, as they can't even add comments on the question and the answers.