Let's stay off for now.
There's no denying that HNQ definitely brought us a lot of traffic, and that we need traffic as a site to survive. That's self-evident.
The problem is, a lot of the traffic that HNQ gave us was.... negative. We had endless streams of comments, floods of answers that didn't meet our standards, and people not familiar with the site upvoting... well, everything. Including "try this" answers and the like.
These votes had more effects: for one, it made these answers very hard to get rid of - the more votes something has the more pushback there's going to be when it gets deleted, and regular users can't even vote to delete answers with a positive score.
As another effect, the people writing these answers got rep. Often, they got enough reputation from a single answer to be able to access the review queues.
Once these people could access the review queues, other things started to happen: they started to review. Without knowing what the site-specific policies (such as "try this" answers) were.
So answers that were correctly flagged as not being up to the standards that had been set on meta were getting reviewed as "Looks Okay", mostly by users who had gotten enough reputation from a HNQ to be able to access the queues.
And so the whole chain began again - once these new answers weren't being deleted, the authors gained rep, started reviewing... it got to be a bit of a mess. We ended up with a ton of comments everywhere - due to just being unable to keep on top of all of them because of the sheer amount.
Since we got kicked off the HNQ, I've noticed a visible change in the amount of comments we get. For those not aware, pretty much all comments are posted to chat by a bot in The Closet. I keep an eye on that room, and the rate of comments has dropped significantly since we got off the HNQ. This is a good thing. The less comments we have, the less work it is to keep them in check.
I've also seen answers getting dealt with much more quickly and without a big struggle to downvote them enough so that they'd be deletable - because those people who'd upvote them aren't seeing them.
Now, yes, we did lose a very large percentage of our traffic. I'm not saying that's a good thing in of itself - we do need traffic as a site. But even without that extra traffic brought by the HNQ, the site is still much more active than the vast majority of beta sites across the network. IPS is still much more active than is normal for a beta site of this age - but on a less huge scale. Which is a good thing, because we simply don't have a committed userbase large enough to deal with all that traffic and what it brings.
Staying off the HNQ brings the site traffic down to a manageable size without killing off the site completely.
I'm not saying that we should be permanently off the HNQ. I'm saying that for the moment, it provides us with a respite from the flood of bad content that we've had for almost the entire history of the site.
I'm also not saying that HNQ users are all bad. Many of our best users came from HNQ. But the ratio is a little... untenable at the moment.
I'd suggest that we be back on HNQ once we can make sure that we have a large enough and committed enough userbase to deal with all the bad stuff that HNQ brings... and that means getting traffic in ways other than HNQ. Like the classic way - search engines. We should be focusing on the goal of the site - to create a repository of high-quality questions and answers about interpersonal skills - which will bring traffic naturally without having to rely on the artificial boost of the HNQ.