I don't think this will help. The attention we get from the HNQ list is a symptom of a larger issue and I think that shutting it off would only make the underlying issues less apparent.
Are the HNQ posts problems?
These questions drive traffic to the site which makes more users aware that we exist and makes us more likely to find new active users. They also attract votes. Users who have the 100 reputation association bonus can vote up any post they agree with, pumping much-needed reputation into the site economy. While some of this goes to users who never return, much of it goes to users who are regulars or who stay for more.
I don't currently have much data to back this up but I can anecdotally tell you that I've rep-capped three days in a row because of HNQs which got me to the 2K reputation I need to access the "10K tools". Yes, I had a bunch of reputation from the private beta but without the HNQ I'd probably still be stuck down around 1200 rep.
Access to moderation tools is the most useful thing we can give to our users and, particularly without pro-tem mods, we need a broad group of users who can close vote and delete and approve edits and write/approve tag excerpts. We don't need moderators if we have users with the ability to close vote and the willingness to use them and decide/discuss policy for the site.
Blocking off this source of reputation is short-sighted and counterproductive. It makes it more difficult for users to earn reputation and, by extension, gain access to privileges.
What about the quality of the questions on the HNQ?
It's occasionally bad, true. Many sites deal with having crud appear on the HNQ list. Many of them have tried to find solutions because they worry that their site isn't given the opportunity to put their best foot forward... That is fair. We're in the same boat. Congrats to us! We are 6 weeks old and already have bad questions on the HNQ list.
The reality is, it's more important (in my opinion) that we have users with sufficient reputation to moderate this site than that we have earned that reputation on perfect questions. Once you can close vote, it's just as easy to close vote a question with a +100 score as one with +5 or -10. Embrace it and use it.
But what about pro-tem Mods?
What about them? I'm a mod... You (Zizouz212) are a mod... what's the rule of the moderator? What's their job description?
Depending on who you ask we're either "exception handlers" or we're "janitors". We are not unilateral arbiters of scope. If anything, we should be working our hardest to earn reputation - by writing questions & answers and by voting for good content - so that we can do our jobs... closing bad questions.
Our potential moderators are not the solution to the HNQ conundrum or the "low quality question" problem - WE ARE.
So, if you don't like that there are a bunch of questions (HNQ or otherwise) that aren't a good fit for the site, vote to close the questions (or flag them) and write helpful comments that will encourage the poster to improve their question.
If you see good posts, vote them up so that your fellow users can earn the reputation to help moderate the site.
If you see answers that ignore the region of the question or that don't answer the question at all or that don't explain their answer, vote them down and, if appropriate, flag them or nominate for deletion.
Waiting for mods is our way of being lazy, as is trying to ban the HNQ. Appreciate the HNQ bounty of reputation, take advantage of it, and act on your interests to moderate the site.
I'm not saying "our" to be kind. I've realized this myself. I was sitting around hoping that Robert would just crown someone... crown me and I could just start acting... and then, today, I had a long chat with a very smart person and I realized... I already have the powers... and I can get more of them. I don't need to be a moderator or have a diamond to fix this site. I just need to do the work and if I can't do the work as a regular user, I'll make a pretty useless mod.