New users with 1 rep face the following restrictions on all SE sites:

What are the new user restrictions?

New users cannot:

  • post images
  • post more than two hyperlinks at a time, either in a post or their user profile
  • contribute answers to protected questions
  • ask or answer questions too rapidly

Why are restrictions placed on new users?

Because we allow participation from anonymous internet users, we must take some precautions to ensure that the rare malicious or spammy anonymous user doesn't ruin the experience for everyone else.

I understand the reasoning for disallowing images, protecting questions and for rate-limiting new users. I don't understand how restricting the number of links for new users does anything useful. The privileges page suggests that it is meant to limit the damage malicious users or spammers can do.

For spammers, I don't see the difference whether they link one time to their site, or a dozen times. The spam post will be deleted shortly in any case, I can't really see any advantage to restricting the number of links.

For malicious users you don't really need more than one link to a NSFW site to cause trouble, I also fail to see how the restriction should help there.

I unsuccessfully lobbied to remove this restriction on Skeptics, I'd like to understand how this restriction is supposed to help SE sites. It's a significant annoyance for new users, especially on sites like Skeptics, and I'm doubting whether this restriction is useful at all.

I'm thinking about requesting to remove this restriction everywhere on the SE network, but I'd like to understand the reasons behind it and it's effectiveness better before I do that. My perception of the usefulness of this restriction seems to me vastly different to what the SE team thinks of it.


The link restriction has been removed on Skeptics for a while now, and I haven't seen any increase in spam.

  • 5
    In the general case it sends a signal about what's expected of an answer, e.g. not just something that looks like a link farm
    – Flexo
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 12:06
  • maybe if you increase the number of allowed links and not remove the full restriction.
    – Aristos
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 13:04
  • 3
    If anything, a spammer dumping 5 or 6 links onto a post will increase the suspicion of the post. I'd say that restriction should be the first to go Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 16:15
  • @AdamRackis I think that a post starting with "nice shoes" is suspicious even with just a single link. The problem I see is with SE with less participation than Stack Overflow, where spam posts could be deleted after two days.
    – apaderno
    Commented Feb 20, 2012 at 20:38
  • The system could always bump up review priority or autoflag posts from new users with too many links. We don't really run into this much on cooking, but I've seen a couple new users unable to put all the relevant links in a question, and spammers usually only put one link anyway and we still catch them quickly, so I don't think lifting the restriction would harm us at all.
    – Cascabel
    Commented Oct 28, 2013 at 16:33


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