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An answer on the late answers review queue took me to an old question, that should be closed as not constructive per today's standards. The answer is honest, as the problem is the question in my opinion. So I voted to close, then decided to protect the question to minimize the chance of new answers. Was that a good idea?

I'm thinking about questions that are very unlikely to be closed fast, if at all. That one looks like a good example, except that now that I linked to it from meta it will probably be closed...

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I bet it wouldn't make a huge difference. Protection only prevents answers from brand new users with less than 10 reputation. The check ignores the 100-rep association bonus, so someone has to actually earn 10 reputation on the site, but it's still pretty easy to do. – Adam Mar 17 '13 at 23:19
@AnnaLear Maybe the threshold should be increased then? Or the protection feature removed altogether? Your comment corroborates my feeling that it's not very useful. – bfavaretto Mar 17 '13 at 23:45
@bfavaretto Protection is a useful feature, when it is used right. It is supposed to be used as a method of keeping trashy useless answers from cluttering a question up. – ɥʇǝS Mar 17 '13 at 23:49
@Seth I know, but as I said below I don't see that happening too frequently (on Stack Overflow). – bfavaretto Mar 17 '13 at 23:50
@bfavaretto You might not, but I do.. I guess it just depends. I don't frequent SO, so that could be why. You can find a list of protected questions here:… Being a 10k user, you can see why they were protected. – ɥʇǝS Mar 17 '13 at 23:52
@bfavaretto It's useful, just not in this situation. Its primary use is to slow down folks coming in from elsewhere (say, Reddit or Hacker News). If the question isn't actually attracting useless answers by new users, there's absolutely no need to preemptively protect it. – Adam Mar 18 '13 at 0:05
@AnnaLear Okay, I'm getting off topic by questioning the usefulness of the feature in general terms. I'm probably just not looking at the right questions, because I don't usually see questions worth protecting. – bfavaretto Mar 18 '13 at 0:14
@bfavaretto You're exactly right - most questions never need to be protected. You never know when a new user might have a better answer than what we already have. But in the (very) rare cases that it's needed, this feature is mighty nice to have. – Adam Mar 18 '13 at 0:17
up vote 7 down vote accepted

I'm not sure protecting while waiting for closure is a good use for the feature, but there are other things to think about.

Obviously, that question got a spam answer which is what would trigger the "Should I protect it?" mindset. On the other hand, it was only one answer on a question that should be ultimately closed and deleted, so who really cares? The question only has 197 views over the 2 years it's existed, so not a lot of people even look at it.

If a question is attracting enough attention that new users are spamming it with crap answers and you really think it needs to be protected while you wait for closure, well, I just don't see that scenario ever happening, to be honest. Protecting that question doesn't really achieve anything. What are the real chances another new user would come along and try to post some spam answer to it?

In the end, for a case like this, it doesn't really matter. Hopefully this question gets deleted, so whether or not it's protected really makes no difference. Though, I would save protection for questions which should actually remain open, not for ones you're waiting to be closed.

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"If a question is attracting enough attention that new users are spamming it with crap answers and you really think it needs [to be] protected.." I see that happen a lot. New bad/spammy answers on really old, sometimes even accepted, questions. – ɥʇǝS Mar 17 '13 at 23:38
I guess you're right, "it doesn't really matter" for a question like that. I was hoping I could do something more than just voting to close (and leave it with a lone close vote sticking around for god knows how long). – bfavaretto Mar 17 '13 at 23:40
@Seth Those would be the typical cases for protection, right? However I don't see them so often. Maybe because I've changed my review focus some time ago. – bfavaretto Mar 17 '13 at 23:42
@bfavaretto It depends. Protection is to prevent new users from adding comments, new questions and links as answers on questions. Sometimes new users will add awesome answers. Protection is for when a question (usually a popular one) gets a lot (more than one) bad or spammy answer by new users. – ɥʇǝS Mar 17 '13 at 23:46
@Seth: That line was meant to be directed at close-worthy questions. The whole idea was that he was protected questions while they waited to be closed because it might take a while, but if there's that much activity it's doubtful it would take long to get closed. – animuson Mar 18 '13 at 0:01
@animuson I see what you mean, however, I have still seen that. – ɥʇǝS Mar 18 '13 at 0:02
@animuson Also, protecting may result in even less activity, and less chance of gathering further close votes. That's what was on my mind when I asked this. I took an action, then questioned how effective it actually was. – bfavaretto Mar 18 '13 at 0:13

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