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Wouldn't requiring everyone to register weed out a lot of flaky people? What is the "benefit" of allowing people to ask questions without registering first?

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marked as duplicate by gnat, Lance Roberts, Doorknob, AsheeshR, hims056 Aug 20 '13 at 18:11

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Because the first one is always free. –  Adam Davis Mar 25 '11 at 12:41
    
@george-stocker I accept your assertion that my question is something of a duplicate, though my tone is a little different. :-) What I find curious is this: if I search MSO for "unregistered", the post you cite does not show up on the first page of hits--I apologize for creating needless traffic, but if memory served I did look first...and I know for sure that the post you cite did not show up in the automated list that appeared before I posted mine. –  George Freeman Mar 25 '11 at 16:57

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The problem is that requiring everyone to register also weeds out a lot of potentially great contributors, too.

It's a cost/benefit analysis: how difficult is it to weed out the truly bad things while allowing the great stuff to happen with low friction?

I found in my years of blogging at Coding Horror that the value of one person happening by with some gold nugget of absolutely the right information you need vastly outweighs the cost of ongoing moderation of anonymous posts.

This is particularly true on Stack Overflow where the cost of moderation is amortized across many thousands of trusted users via the reputation system.

If you get this right, it is an enormous competitive advantage. The value of some guy (or gal) somewhere happening across your page and knowing exactly the right bit of information -- and having zero friction to typing it in -- is something that I believe deeply in.

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Stack Overflow has really good moderation functionality. Since we can vote bad answers down and flag inappropriate content it's easy for us to keep the background chatter to a minimum.

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