Recently, Emrakul made a meta post on why a certain question was deleted. It was a case of the question being low quality and off-topic. However, the question was highly upvoted (although incorrectly) and received a lot of views (possibly due to appearing in HNQs). Some of the answers were also highly upvoted since they were creative and funny. Another such question which has attracted a lot of delete votes is this.
I wholly agree that these questions should have been closed and deleted before they garnered so much attention. However, since this was not done so quickly, they are now two of the most upvoted and viewed questions. Therefore, they have historical value.
Historically locking off topic questions which are popular is common practice in other SE sites including Stack Overflow, Server Fault, Super User and many others (To see just go to the site and search
is:question locked:yes). It has been done before here in puzzling too.
So, the question is should we historically lock these questions or just delete them?