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I get a message:

Sorry, you are only allowed to ask 50 questions in a 30 day period

Why is there a question limit? 50/month is just not enough :)

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Blankman, YOU is not intending to be disrespectful. There's an actual error message we show that says "Sorry, we are no longer accepting answers from this account". None of us know about a 50 question limit yet, that's the only question limiter we know of, so we're asking for clarifications. –  Grace Note Apr 29 '11 at 13:57
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@Blankman, sorry if my comment make offensive to you. I just don't know what kind of error message you got, so I asked. –  YOU Apr 29 '11 at 13:57
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@Blankman, I've never felt the need to seek you out, but now you've voluntarily come to MSO to discuss your asking. This error signifies a larger problem. You've been the example of bad asking on SO for years. Many MSO posts mention you by name. Here are four: Shog9 uses you as a "canonical asker" stand-in, TheTXI used you as a model a year and a half ago, Welbog went so far as to e-mail Jeff about a "Blankman question" (cont'd) –  Pops Apr 29 '11 at 14:43
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(cont'd) and EyeSeeEm calls you "Exhibit A." There's even a data dump query that shows that you're the asking-est SO user ever as of a month ago. I'm happy to give you the benefit of the doubt about whether you were aware of this, but I hope you change your asking habits in the future. –  Pops Apr 29 '11 at 14:43
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Oh man, it's Blankman! You are a supervillain, Blankman. You are the Joker to Jon Skeet's Batman. The Wilson Fisk to Marc Gravell's Spider-Man. The Spider-Man to Jeff Atwood's Wilson Fisk. –  XMLbog Apr 29 '11 at 14:57
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(Marc and Jeff should fight in New York. That would be a cool movie.) –  XMLbog Apr 29 '11 at 14:58
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I want to be one of the first to say thank you, Atwood's Angels. Thank you so much. You've made my day. Best feature in a while. A+ would implement again. –  XMLbog Apr 29 '11 at 15:05
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Why is this question downvoted? bah! – Blankman 7 mins ago for the same reason that you're not hearing anyone say what you want them to say, because the objective here is that you're doing something wrong. You're likely one of a handful of people to EVER see this message. I don't think I could try to ask 50 meaningful questions in one month.... –  jcolebrand Apr 29 '11 at 15:25
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+1 @drachenstern. @Blankman, on the contrary, I'm stunned that this question's net score is as high as 0. You're beginning to remind me of a conspiracy theorist. Anything anyone says to a conspiracy theorist that doesn't fit his theory just strengthens his belief in the conspiracy. Paradoxically, the more incontrovertible the evidence is, the more fervently the theorist believes that he's the only one who's right, and that everyone else is either crazy or one of "them." Unfortunately, I can't find the name for that phenomenon at the moment, but I have no more time to spend on this. –  Pops Apr 29 '11 at 15:42
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This question is about the nature of the "50 questions in 30 days" limit, which is a legitimate question. You shouldn't be downvoting this question because of Blankman's behaviour on SO. The meta question here, today, is perfectly fine. –  XMLbog Apr 29 '11 at 15:54
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@Vampire, my thought on downvotes is the fact that the OP suggests that he disagrees with the limit ("50/month is just not enough :)"), that's what I'd suggest the downvotes are for... At least, it is for mine. –  Rob Apr 29 '11 at 15:57
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1544 QUESTIONS??? wait... EIGHT ANSWERS?!?!?!? –  Won't Apr 29 '11 at 16:19
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@Will and nearly 10k rep as a result. He is one of the users that Stack Exchange was considering implementing the 2k rep limit from questions rule. I suppose, however, that the rule was never implemented, or that it wasn't applied retroactively. –  Adam Davis Apr 29 '11 at 16:26
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257 more questions than even total votes? Really?? –  squillman Apr 29 '11 at 16:34
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To me, an accept rate of only 59% (in addition to the sheer volume of questions) is very telling of the lack of investment in the questions. –  Dennis Williamson Apr 30 '11 at 2:12

7 Answers 7

50/month is just not enough

Actually... 50/month is kinda insane. There are other people trying to use these websites too ya know.

You tend to ask a lot of fairly brief questions. Some of them are pretty good. Some of them are terrible. Some of them have already been asked. And some of them you end up deleting, for reasons I can only guess at.

They all draw time and attention from other users.

That's time that could be spent helping someone else, perhaps even someone who has spent more than a couple minutes thinking about their problem (or searching...) before asking.

SO isn't your personal concierge, and being allowed to ask 50 questions in a month's time is quite generous - but if it is too restrictive for you then I humbly suggest that you are not granting sufficient value to the time and effort put in by others in answering/reviewing these questions. Spend a bit of time searching existing questions (or, y'know, official documentation) first, and ask only when this has proved fruitless.

Who knows? Scarcity just might increase value!

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+1 Gasp! There's something called official documentation?! –  Mehrdad May 1 '11 at 9:08
    
@Jeff lol, seems like now I'm having the same problem as the OP... –  Mehrdad Jun 26 '11 at 3:23
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50 questios is not enough. Other sites dont have those limits, this is only one, unfortunately I would say its the best because answers are posted faster than experts-exchange and other forum sites also. There should be no limit to 50 questions, only give a warning to the user if questions quality (REVIEWING EACH ONE) is really bad. If a question has no votes, it does not mean its a bad question. –  Esteban V Oct 20 '11 at 9:20
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@Luis I am incapable of believing that someone could ask 50 high-quality questions per month. If they knew enough about what they were talking about in order to do so, they wouldn't need to ask so many questions! And even great questions are a drain on other users, as Shog says. –  Matthew Read Jan 23 '12 at 21:54
    
So although it says per 30 days, the limit resets at the end of the month? Or do you get like 2 questions to ask the next day, assuming that you asked 2 questions 31 days ago? –  hobbes3 Apr 13 '12 at 18:52
    
I'm hoping it's the latter, since I got this error, but I only asked 19 questions so far for this month (April) on SO... –  hobbes3 Apr 13 '12 at 18:55
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It's a sliding window, @hobbes, if that's what you're asking. If I asked 48 questions in the last 30 days, I can ask two today. –  Shog9 Apr 13 '12 at 19:13
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"some of them you end up deleting". Does this mean that the actual number of questions is considerably higher than 1839? –  TRiG Apr 11 '13 at 14:49
    
It's higher, @TRiG - I won't say by how much. Most folks have at least a few deleted questions floating around. –  Shog9 Apr 11 '13 at 15:39
    
You're kind of a dick for deleting otherwise potentially fruitful discussions, @Shog9. If there are contentious issues, in re: stack overflow, deleting them is not a valid way of dealing with it. –  AMayes Dec 7 '13 at 5:02
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Keep up the name-calling, @AMayes, and see how much fruit that generates. –  Shog9 Dec 7 '13 at 5:18
    
I'm sorry, @Shog9, it was indicative of frustration, and I thought it would be understood that way. Also, "kind of" was meant as a mediating influence, to stifle or forestall offense. I know you're not "a dick", but your actions appeared to give that impression. –  AMayes Dec 7 '13 at 5:22
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Frustration I understand. @AMayes. Sleep on it. –  Shog9 Dec 7 '13 at 5:40
    
Will do. But think on it. –  AMayes Dec 7 '13 at 6:09
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It's not as easy to work around as you suspect, @Michael. Sure, it's possible with a bit of effort - but so is asking fewer questions. Combined with other systems, it does its job. –  Shog9 Jan 19 at 17:04

If you are asking over 2 questions per day, there is a good chance you aren't putting enough time into your questions.

This can cause them to be of lower quality and collect downvotes.

If you have lots of questions with low score, your account can become blocked from asking more questions.

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"This can cause them to be of lower quality and collect..." You mean downvotes right? I'm not 100% sure because asking tons of questions to collect upvotes is a problem too. –  Bill the Lizard Apr 29 '11 at 14:05
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I think you meant "downvotes". Did you put enough time into this answer? Kidding! :) –  Justin Morgan Apr 29 '11 at 14:07
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It's just going to make some people register more than 1 account. –  Blankman Apr 29 '11 at 14:14
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@Blankman: I think they meant good questions. –  Goran Jovic Apr 29 '11 at 14:18
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@Blank, the issue is not the time it takes to write a question. The issue is with the research that goes into a question. –  jjnguy Apr 29 '11 at 14:18
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@Blankman The ban on asking questions isn't per-account. You can't get around it by creating more accounts. See here for more details. –  Anna Lear Apr 29 '11 at 14:20
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@Anna, this is a different error message. –  Arjan Apr 29 '11 at 14:21
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@Blankman If you register another account for the purposes of getting around a system limit, you will be banned. Unless, of course, you do it in a way that is completely undetectable (consistently different IP addresses at a minimum, there are several other methods they use to detect an individual) –  Adam Davis Apr 29 '11 at 14:27
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@Blankman, that's simply not true; "spiteful"/"baseless" voting is automatically undone by the system. In the interest of fairness, I just loaded the two downvoted questions. One really was bad, so I added a downvote. The other was kind of borderline, but an extra minute spent on clarity and grammar would have helped a lot. –  Pops Apr 29 '11 at 14:56
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Why does someone with this much asking experience have questions that get downvoted at all, Adam? –  XMLbog Apr 29 '11 at 15:10
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@Adam Davis: And the most of them seem have 0 votes. That's not exactly good either –  Goran Jovic Apr 29 '11 at 15:21
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It's not so much that they're jealous of your big arbitrary number, is that's users like you remind them just how arbitrary it really is. –  XMLbog Apr 29 '11 at 15:37
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@Goran Of his last 100 questions (not counting those that have been deleted) 36 are above 0, 55 are 0, and 9 and below 0. Taking a sample of 100 questions asked last Friday afternoon as a "control" sample, there are 31 questions above 0, 66 at 0, and 3 below zero. More telling, however, is that he got 124 votes over his last 100 questions, or an average of 1.24 upvotes per question. However, the control group only got 66 - less than one vote per question. If anything, blankman is above average in terms of contributing quality questions to SO, if you can infer quality from the vote count. –  Adam Davis Apr 29 '11 at 15:52
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@Adam Davis - comparing a user who has been a member for 2years 5 months to an arbitrary control group is comparing apples to oranges. Someone who has been a member that long, asked nearly 1.5k questions and achieved 172 badges should know how to ask questions that don't get downvoted. –  Rob Apr 29 '11 at 15:54
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@Rob I agree with that. –  Adam Davis Apr 29 '11 at 15:56

Per balpha's comment:

This limit has only been in existance for a couple of hours. The actual message is "Sorry, you are only allowed to ask 50 questions in a 30 day period"; it's (currently) only active on the trilogy sites. – balpha♦

The reason is the same as most limits that have been built into the system:

  • Discover, find, or become aware of behavior that doesn't grow, or worse, causes decline, in the community and site
  • Look for "tells" of that behavior - things that are out of the ordinary (and thus easy to detect with automated processes) that correlate strongly with that undesired behavior
  • Implement a limit, heuristic, or algorithm to (hopefully gently) discourage the undesired behavior

Recently Stack Exchange, Inc has been focusing a lot of time and effort on the problem of Low Quality questions. It is therefore reasonable to assume that the undesirable behavior that this limit is meant to help with is the problem of low quality posts.

Chances are good they've found a correlation between the quantity of questions a user posts and the quality of those posts.

Intuitively I find this correlation to be reasonable - If you want to ask 50 questions, but you can only ask 30, chances are good you're only going to ask those questions that are the most important, difficult, or that you feel you'd spend the most time solving yourself.

But the limit is so high that it is not liable to affect many users. Further, the limit is over 30 days, so for instance I could go ahead and ask 30 questions about my current project over a day or two if I had a real roadblock to overcome, but I'm not likely to need to do that too often. This limit is very supportive of the bursty behavior that can happen in programming. Much better than saying you can only ask 2.3 questions per day, which would affect many more people.

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"I hadn't realized there was a limit" -- This limit has only been in existance for a couple of hours. The actual message is "Sorry, you are only allowed to ask 50 questions in a 30 day period"; it's (currently) only active on the trilogy sites. –  balpha Apr 29 '11 at 14:28
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@balpha Flagged: Answer posted as a comment. ;-) –  Adam Davis Apr 29 '11 at 14:30
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why would a user have to submit a screenshot of a built-in feature? haha....sorry that's just strange. its like radio stations broadcasting where the police have setup a speed trap :) –  Blankman Apr 29 '11 at 14:39
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@Blankman Screenshots are non-subjective. When troubleshooting a problem I'm not familiar with, it can help me understand the context better. Given recent information (ie, the exact error, and an employee chiming in) there's no need for it. –  Adam Davis Apr 29 '11 at 14:41
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@Blankman, it would have helped a lot here. I had to edit your question twice to get the correct information in there! Of course, the literal error text would have sufficed too. –  Arjan Apr 29 '11 at 14:44
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@Blankman, just a tip: Actually, the literal text of the error message is a lot better than a screenshot (since then it's searchable!), and it's easily provided. –  Hendrik Vogt Apr 29 '11 at 15:56
    
@balpha: It would be really better to have this as an answer, so that one can easily link to it! –  Hendrik Vogt Apr 29 '11 at 15:57
    
@HendrikVogt (and Adam): It's not really an answer now, is it? –  balpha Apr 29 '11 at 16:06
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@balpha true, but my answer wasn't really an answer either. But I've updated my answer to include your information and address the question more directly, and so I think we're all set here. –  Adam Davis Apr 29 '11 at 16:10
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@balpha, am I right to assume this is some sliding window, that only looks back 30 days before today? –  Arjan May 3 '11 at 9:11

In my opinion, there should be more limits like this and limits should be even more restrictive. Many people on Stack Overflow (and other sites) have extraordinary skill sets in different areas and they are so kind to share their knowledge base with others. During the last few weeks I became little bit suspicious that many OPs abuse this by asking question about any problem they hit without even trying to solve it alone.

I think that Stack Overflow and other sites are not consultancy or trainings for free! Because of that I believe that 50 questions per month are too many. I would reduce it to 20-25 with an additional rule which will allow asking more questions if the user also answers questions of another community members. Something like: If you want to ask more, give something back to the community.

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This was proposed in at least one form and it did not go over well... meta.stackexchange.com/questions/86165/… –  Jeff Atwood May 1 '11 at 10:22
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@Jeff: Ok, it was just idea but I think my proposal is little bit different. I don't want to cap total number of questions user can ask or reduce further asking if questions are not upvoted as proposed in linked question. My proposal targets this question with cap for period of time where cap will not be fixed if user also participate in community. –  Ladislav Mrnka May 1 '11 at 10:35
    
you are nuts, it should be increased to 100 at least. 3 questions per day is a good number –  Esteban V Oct 20 '11 at 9:23

I'm a person who asks lots of questions - really, sometimes I ask two questions every day for several days in a row because I go through terra incognita of some new technology (currently Windows Azure) and really need to ask those questions. Even with that it happens to be about 30 questions per month. So while my first reaction was "WTF, that's a too harsh limit", after carefully looking at facts I see that it's not a problem even for me.

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Because you also use the search right? –  random Jun 14 '11 at 14:12
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@random: Yes, I use the search, and I use the debugger and I think several times before asking. –  sharptooth Jun 14 '11 at 14:19
    
those limits here are really low, –  Esteban V Oct 20 '11 at 9:23
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@Luis: Do you mean "so low I can't ask all questions I want" or "so low any sane person can ask enough questions"? –  sharptooth Oct 20 '11 at 9:33

Asking questions puts a burden on the site. It is a burden that most site members are willing to bear, because answering them provides a service that benefits the site.

The issues with "more than 50 questions in 30 days" are, 1) should one person be allowed to ask a disproportionate number of questions (and impose a disproportionate burden) on the site and 2) could the site handle a large number of such people?

If you were a "Jon Skeets" who also answered a large number of questions, then you'd be operating at a high level on BOTH sides of the equation. Then we could have a very interesting debate about whether or not it benefits the site to have one person operating at such a high level.

But the record (on Stack Overflow anyway) shows that you ask FAR more than you answer. Under the circumstances, a policy limiting the imbalance seems like a reasonable one.

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Maybe it's not a case when talking about Mr Blankman, who rarely answers, but I was kinda shocked when I find out that there is 50 questions limit, while it is encouraged to answer Your own questions. (But I understand why now)

There are new things being developed all the time, in many already invented there are people lacking understanding of many things. What if someone would take up the glove, made some "FAQ's" and exhaustingly answered many of major questions in some topic, greatly explaining how things works, then he find out that his desire to help others gave him nothing but blockade and inability of ask when he is the one who needs help?

Shouldn't such a contribution be, if not honoured, at least not penalized? Maybe if someone answers his own questions and it is favoured by community (like many up-votes in short period of time), they shouldn't count into this 50?

I understand that even such a system can be abused and someone's answers on his own questions can have very low quality. But if we would find a fine way to distinguish one from another, what do you think about this? It can have a future. Wouldn't it be more useful and encouraging for people who would contribute a lot in this way, and also for these who only ask a lot to contribute something more instead? ;)

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Do you have an example of someone posting anywhere near to 50 self-answered questions in a month that are useful and upvoted? Kudos to anyone that can but I've never seen it. –  PeterJ Apr 15 at 11:29

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