whew, this got long... I bolded my main points in each section if you want to skim!
Some questions that are getting close- and downvotes also being upvoted and answered. This means they won't be bumped off the front page with a negative score anymore, and this might have the additional benefit of a few more upvotes/reputation for the answerer. It also doesn't really encourage people to ask better questions, they'll be getting answers anyway.
Just because you think a question is bad and shouldn't be answered doesn't mean everyone on the site thinks that. The community is not a hive-mind, so of course we'll have some controversial questions! It's okay for people to disagree. This is accounted for in the system by requiring multiple close, delete, undelete, and reopen votes (unless you're a moderator, of course).
I've answered questions where I felt there was enough information to provide a good answer, but it was later closed as "too broad" or "unclear". Sometimes I see what others are requesting for improvements and agree they have valid points, while still feeling confident in my answer. Other times I'll argue against the closure because I disagree with the reasons. It depends.
What helps most is when close-voters leave comments explaining why they're voting to close. I've been frustrated a couple times lately with people not doing that - a question looks fine to me, but somehow has 1, 2, 3 close votes with no explanation about why it was "unclear" or "too broad". In these cases I wonder, what am I missing here? (Does this only make sense to me because I'm from my particular culture? Am I not experienced enough to know what variables would affect the situation? etc.) Not only does CV-without-commenting not help OP improve their question, but it also doesn't help potential answerers understand why they might want to hold off.
Some questions are answered by users with the reputation to cast both close- and reopen votes, yet often don't aren't discussed on meta or get reopened. Not reopening isn't a big problem, they weren't very good questions in the first place. But it does mean there's a load of questions hanging around that don't get automatically cleaned up when they aren't improved, which means more work for the users with delete vote privileges.
I definitely agree that this is a case to encourage more discussion. If you see it happening, make a meta post! Invite the user(s) to participate by commenting with a link under the question and answers. Don't wait for them to start the discussion - chances are the people who answered aren't checking back to see if the question got closed afterwards.
I disagree that it's a problem that roomba will no longer auto-delete the question. It is operating exactly as intended - we don't want potentially good content to be automatically removed, we want human eyes to make that value judgment. If the post really doesn't add anything to the site, it can still be deleted.
Sometimes, people leaving comments (indicating to me that they realize something is wrong with the question) but answering them anyway.
I think it's appropriate to leave a comment to the user pointing out their conflicting actions. "Hey, I noticed you asked for clarification but have already answered - please don't encourage poor questions by answering them before they're improved."
And just to play devil's advocate, it's possible they had second thoughts. I've done this before, where I thought of a question, posted a comment, started drafting an answer in anticipation, and then realized OP's response wouldn't make a big difference either way.
A few bouts of 'Fastest Gun in the West' syndrome, where it looks like people are racing to answer a question seconds after it is posted, instead of first carefully considering whether the question is a good fit or not. (I must admit I'm struggling with this too, when I see a question that I really like).
Yeah... like Jefromi answered I think this might be a result of high demand / low supply. We have lots of users eager to earn rep, so when a new question comes up people want to pounce on it! And if you don't answer it right now, there'll be a dozen answers by the time you look at it again, and you missed your chance... at least, I've certainly had that feeling about some questions!
- Do we need more and clearer policies?
- Do we need to explain these policies more to people, because they are unaware they exist?
- How would we go about getting the attention of people when we want to explain?
- How do we let people know that what they're doing is against policies/might not be a good idea?
Personally, I'd comment and possibly vote on these answers. I often just don't vote at all, as I prefer to downvote answers on their own merits, rather than the quality of the question, though how you use your votes is up to you. If the answer was hasty and there was critical information missing from the question, there must be something not considered in the answer (else why close the question?). E.g, "The OP never specified this was their goal. Please note that the question has been placed on hold since you answered - you should consider removing it until after they improve it to give sufficient detail about what they want to accomplish, as it may invalidate your answer and attract downvotes."
Or maybe the question is completely off-topic. In this case I would again leave a comment to the user. E.g., "This question has been placed on hold as off-topic. While your enthusiasm for widgets is admirable, they're not on-topic here. In the future, please flag questions like this rather than encouraging them by providing answers."
(And if they disagree about the on-topic-ness - time for a meta post to discuss and get opinions from more of the community.)
I'm not a fan of copy-pasting the same comment and mass-downvoting every answer to an on-hold question, because it completely disregards the content. In many cases, it's also not completely objective. You may think it absolutely requires a culture tag, whereas someone else wrote an adequate answer without it. That deserves different treatment than, say, an answer on a blatant polling-type question.
Kinda-side-note: I think by focusing on the answers, this is turning into an X-Y problem. If the problem is "bad questions are getting answers", the root of the issue is not really "people are answering bad questions", it's "bad questions are open long enough for people to post answers".
Otherwise, at what point should a user refrain from posting an answer that they think is good on an open question? Four close votes? One? Because the rules are five - if you want to change that you should be petitioning StackExchange. Or... we need to get more people close voting. This can be accomplished via chat (which seems to have evolved its own system for requesting close votes) or commenting on the question, so visitors can see and consider casting a vote of their own.