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users with less than 125 reputation can only post questions every 20 minutes; try again later

This is pretty annoying to begin with, since I've been on Stack Overflow for a while, but somehow my reputation kept resetting (oh, I had to register my account, every time I was pbean, I actually was not pbean, ok). Any how, Stack Overflow is able to detect the 20 minutes timer, so it probably knows exactly how much time is left.

Why is this time not displayed?

I can not remember if I posted my previous question 10 or 15 minutes ago. Should I try to post again in 5 minutes, or in 10? And to add insult to injury, I have to prove that I'm a human every time I try again.

And to be honest, 20 minutes is pretty long, too. I thought I'd just ask two (related) questions before heading to bed, but now I have to wait around and do nothing for 20 minutes before going to bed (err, I mean, spend 20 minutes answering questions) while I intended to be in bed by that time.

:)

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6  
If you can remember/find any of your old questions flag them so you can have the accounts merged into your registered account. That way you'll get the reputation and be able to comment etc. on the answers. –  ChrisF Sep 17 '12 at 21:49
    
Thanks for the suggestion ChrisF. :) I would, but unfortunately there has been a while between my old questions and when I returned recently so I can not find them back. But good tip any way, appreciate it. –  pbean Sep 18 '12 at 5:56
    
I realise now, show I have attached the feature-request tag instead? :( –  pbean Sep 18 '12 at 6:41

2 Answers 2

  1. Stack overflow is a free service. You should therefore have no expectation of any kind of "quality of service," nor are there any guarantees for a particular level of service. That it provides the quality of service it does is remarkable, given that it is free.

  2. Because there are no guarantees, you should not rely on it in any critical way, including having access to the exact number of minutes you will need to wait to ask your next question.

  3. Many exact details about how the limits work are kept secret to prevent gaming.

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Just because it's free and with no guarantees doesn't mean that it shouldn't be improved. –  Chris Gerken Sep 18 '12 at 1:57
1  
Not sure reducing this limit would improve anything, @ChrisGerken. The limit is there precisely to prevent abuse of the system. Just as a thought, one could theoretically spend that 20 minutes researching the problem and make the question(s) even better through constructive edits. –  jmort253 Sep 18 '12 at 4:25
    
@jmort253: in Internet time, 20 minutes is basically an eternity. To prevent basic, automated spamming, a couple of seconds is normally enough. I agree that there might be a desire to stop consecutive questions, but anything longer than 5 minutes is really long. :) –  pbean Sep 18 '12 at 5:58
    
Robert, sounds a bit like a fluffy business reply rather than an actual answer, and does not really address my question. I do understand why rate limiting exists, and it being a free service I cannot expect any quality from it (which is what you are implying). It is one of those nuisances found on websites, where the developer could have just put in that extra effort to make it neat. Like with "1 item(s)"... you know it's one, why write "item(s)" and not just "item" (and "items" in case of != 1). :) –  pbean Sep 18 '12 at 6:44

The reason SO does this is to prevent new users from joining and spamming the question boards, and so that a well-worded question that awards them a couple upvotes won't allow them to spam either.

SO does the 125 rep in order to prevent the spammers and trolls by making them work for priveledges, then the trolls are less likely to give up something they have earned. This keeps a more friendly and fun environment, and lets people actually ask thier questions without getting washed out with spam.

(I know you probably don't believe me about the 'washed out with spam' line, but I am a moderator for a small forum. An admin took off the captcha for registration by accident, and 10 minutes later 250+ pages of russian viagra ads popped up. and that was just in the table of contents.)

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5  
The OP is asking why the exact time is not shown, such as in "You can ask a new question in X minutes." –  kiamlaluno Sep 17 '12 at 21:53

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