Just in case - here's a query to find all the protected questions, even if you don't have 10k powers yet.
This FAQ main meta post reads:
- Do unprotect questions that aren’t currently attracting a lot of attention and don’t have a long history of unproductive answers.
And to quote some bits quoted in my other answer on this topic:
Judicious use of this feature is critical to allowing these sites to handle large amounts of external attention, but over-using it breaks the system: Stack Exchange sites depend on a constant influx of new blood, both to answer new questions and provide updated information on old ones. When in doubt, err on the side of letting new users prove themselves before locking them out.
Changes and guidelines for the Protected Question status on Stack Overflow Blog
It seems to be more or less official policy that protection is not meant to be permanent, and that it should be used to deter only multiple bad questions in short periods of time.
There have been plenty of reasons given (in linked posts) that protection is in a sense against the spirit of Stack Exchange, which relies on new users and their answers.
I sincerely doubt all ~800 questions have to stay protected to this date. Protection, in my opinion, should be used when there's an influx of bad answers or non-answers that is easier to block altogether than to handle via review queue. In this case I think we are more than capable of handling new answers to old questions, since we are not expecting them to flood the site.
Note also that bad answers are still answers (which has been discussed in chat recently and prompted this question by Mithrandir: When should 20kers vote to delete an answer?). They can be improved, if not by the poster, then by us, and they would still be valuable.
Which ones to unprotect?
The age of the question, the number of deleted answers, and the nature of the question is what I think should be taken into account:
Questions from the beginning of time (2011) should probably be unprotected - their age of glory has passed, and it's unlikely we'll experience a flood of bad answers for them.
Questions with few deleted or low-quality answers should probably be unprotected - if they didn't attract bad answers then, why should they do so now?
Questions with touchy subjects, or questions that are prone to "enthusiastic" fan answers, a la the "Cap vs. Spidey" question, which got a lot of answers comparing the two characters instead of listing occurrences of them fighting.