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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: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/79812/… 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
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@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
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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 ... stackoverflow.com/tools?tab=stats&daterange=last30days, 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
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@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
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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
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@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 24 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
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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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