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There are a few "automatically protect questions" requests out there, but I'd like to add another twist.

I'd like to request that questions that have three or more deleted answers by users with <50 rep be automatically protected.

The reasoning behind this is that we have lots and lots of "not an answer" flags in the mod queue. But we cannot protect a question from the mod queue, so we have to open each answer, evaluate if the question needs protecting, then protect it.

This process takes a long time, and can definitely be automated, as the only thing you really need to check is how many new users are posting non-answers or are spamming their awful products.

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So I assume it would also help you (apart from this feature request) if users (with enough rep) who flag such questions also protect them? – Felix May 2 '11 at 12:39
@Felix: Would be nice if they did. I've only seen that happen one time, unfortunately. – Won't May 2 '11 at 12:41
Ok. I did is a couple of times but I was unsure whether I use "my powers" correctly. I will pay more attention now :) – Felix May 2 '11 at 12:45
I even think that all the posts with a year old, with accepted answers should be protected. – YOU May 2 '11 at 12:52
@YOU:… I agree with Jeff that the "proven track record" is key here. – Cody Gray May 2 '11 at 12:54
@Cody, similar but they didn't mention about accepted answer. – YOU May 2 '11 at 12:56
@YOU Because accepted answers are not a good indicator alone. They do not always indicate that the problem is solved, and they certainly do not impart an indication that there is a problem for accumulating noise. – Grace Note May 2 '11 at 13:15
If it boiled down to a choice, Will, do you prefer this or your original suggestion for protection from the dashboard? It seems the main argument for automated protection is that we do not have that dashboard functionality, but I am curious if you'd still prefer the automation even if we had the dashboard functionality. – Grace Note May 2 '11 at 13:18
@Grace & Cody, Well, first, 90% of recently protected question with accepted answer and from '08, '09 ..., and protecting only limit to users with less than 10 reps, limiting to such questions shouldn't have any probem, imho. – YOU May 2 '11 at 13:26
@YOU My first answer on Stack Overflow, back when I had 1 rep, was to a question with an accepted answer. It was the correct answer, it got me 25 reputation from the vote-up and accept. My case is only 2 months, but that's only my case. Age and acceptance are not indicators of a need to be protected, and it can very well present a problem. Pre-emptitive protection is a very dangerous thing, and I really do not find it a wise move in any circumstance. – Grace Note May 2 '11 at 13:28
@Grace, Well, Even if you can't answer that question(25 rep you got) as first one, I am sure you can answer that question as 2nd question :-) – YOU May 2 '11 at 13:31
This is why Will's suggestion here, while I'm still personally against automation, at least it is targetting exactly what protection is meant to target - posts that get noise. That is what protection is meant for. If you block legitimate questions that aren't attracting junk, you're just imposing a barrier to new entries for absolutely no reason. – Grace Note May 2 '11 at 13:31
@YOU It's one thing to tell someone who can't comment "Just answer a couple questions, you'll get enough reputation". You can't do that with a protected question. You're telling someone, "In order to answer questions, you need to answer questions". It's not easy to get started on this site, and if a user finally runs into a question that can show off that user's knowledge, you are denying that user entrance to the community with a big "GO AWAY" sign if it's protected for no good reason. And, at the same time, you're denying the question asker a potentially great answer. – Grace Note May 2 '11 at 13:41
@GraceNote: I'd prefer the ability to access the mod dashboard. At least, those options that make sense (those that can be reasonably used with the information available in the mod list. – Won't May 2 '11 at 13:43
@YOU: One reason to start on old questions could be that you can take all the time you want to answer them. This might be a rare case, but I agree with Grace that a general mechanism is not The Way to Go here. – Hendrik Vogt May 2 '11 at 14:24
up vote 26 down vote accepted

This will be in the next build. When the third answer on a question from a new (<10 rep) user is deleted, Protection will be triggered automatically from Community. There is one tweak though: each user only counts once when we're checking deleted (to eliminate the self-answers that should be comments on their own question case).

Let's face it, we love numbers, so let's take a look at Stack Overflow:

This would currently apply to 730 undeleted questions, of which:

  • 283 are already protected (~39%)
  • 7 are closed
  • 5 are locked

Here's a random (newid()) sampling of 20 of those 447 remaining questions this would apply to:

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So this doesn't apply retroactively, correct? (But would it apply if a fourth/fifth/... answer is deleted on one of those 447 questions?) – Hendrik Vogt May 6 '11 at 7:06
@Hendrik - Correct we're not auto-protecting these at this time, just making it automatic/easier when a moderator (or the community) deletes a low-rep user answer the next time. – Nick Craver May 6 '11 at 11:08
Do you know how happy this new feature makes me? Very happy. I wish it were applied retroactively, but either way, it's a great improvement. – nhinkle May 13 '11 at 8:07
@Nick is this a bug, like I suspect? – Shadow Wizard Jan 21 '14 at 12:54

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