On Stack Overflow, I got the following error message.

Enter image description here

What? I have been helping users on Stack Overflow for two years. I have posted almost 500 answers and only 100 questions. I have gained 10k reputation for this. And now, when I am in the need of help, Stack Overflow will turn back to me?

I am working very hard using a technology which is new to me. All my questions are very well researched and have 1+ upvote. I think I know how to ask a good questions, after two years of hard work here.

Sorry, but I would expect more trust from the Stack Overflow side instead of treating me like someone who is abusing.

Argument: You cannot ask so many good questions in 24 hours.

Answer: this is speculative and regulative. Stack Overflow was always about judging posts quality. Why it is not consistent in this? Why don't you look at the quality of question the user is posting, instead of pre-judging how many good question can he post?

EDIT 2019: in retrospective, you can see those 5 questions (1, 2, 3, 4, 5) I asked that day (one got closed), they have 21 score total, which is on average 4.2 votes each. So it is possible to ask high amount of good quality questions, as opposed to the prejudices which argue for the limit ;-)

  • 12
    No, all your questions do not have a positive score. You deleted one with a score of -3.
    – Ry-
    Jul 21, 2013 at 5:48
  • 11
    If you have to ask 6 questions in one day, you are relying on Stack Overflow too much. Do more research before asking!
    – Doorknob
    Jul 21, 2013 at 5:55
  • 1
    @Doorknob did you read the argument above?
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 5:57
  • @minitechη that was a mistake because I did not know it is a duplicate, and I acknowledged it.
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 5:58
  • Not a duplicate. I am not asking why is there a limit.
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 6:09
  • 13
    Very much a duplicate - 6 questions/day is pretty insane. I'd peruse the answers in the question linked, and see if they satisfy your question. I believe they will.
    – Makoto
    Jul 21, 2013 at 6:10
  • @Tomas Yes, and it has nothing to do with doing more research.
    – Doorknob
    Jul 21, 2013 at 6:23
  • 10
    You seem to be taking this as a personal insult, and I assure you that the limits aren't intended that way. Here's the blog post that was made when these limits were first introduced: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/06/optimizing-for-pearls-not-sand. It might help shed some light on the motivation behind them.
    – Adam Lear StaffMod
    Jul 21, 2013 at 6:33
  • 5
    @AnnaLear, thanks for you word and thanks for the link. I've seen this article already like a month ago. Why are you/SO pre-judging that my questions will be sand-questions instead of pearl-questions, when I ask 6 questions per day? Why are you limiting people who are capable of it, and why are you not judging the quality of questions instead? Why do you not trust user with 10k+ reputation and treat him like abuse? This is demotivating.
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 6:40
  • 1
    @Doorknob I did and I always do. Are you pre-judging just based on question rate? Judging on whether the user did research before asking or not should be based on the questions themselves.
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 6:44
  • 19
    I think that the premise of your argument has merit. Higher rep users should be trusted more when it comes to asking questions as they are for many other things. However, you have posted this as a rant rather than a clearly thought out and well argued proposal, which will not help your case at all. Cool down and reword your question and you may get some more constructive support.
    – vascowhite
    Jul 21, 2013 at 6:57
  • The new generation sort of expect it, especially when they are contributing highly. Jul 21, 2013 at 8:14
  • @Tomas: “Why are you/SO pre-judging that my questions will be sand-questions instead of pearl-questions” — I think you mis-read the metaphor in Jeff’s article. He argues that all questions are sand, and good answers are pearls. Jul 21, 2013 at 9:16
  • 1
    I agree with Jon's solution, but just in case you're really upset/angry for not being able to ask a new question at this very moment: don't! Saying "I have been helping users on SO for 2 years. I have posted almost 500 answers and only 100 questions" to me indicates that SE has worked VERY good for you. The hard work you did already paid back nicely, I feel.
    – Arjan
    Jul 21, 2013 at 10:14
  • 1
    @Akam, voting is different on Meta.
    – Arjan
    Jul 21, 2013 at 11:09

3 Answers 3


Everyone sees why limits are in place, but I agree that there could be exceptions. However, I don't think it should be done on rep. Instead, I'd allow exceptions based on the questions which have already been asked in the day (i.e. the ones contributing to the limit).

One very simple approach would be to not include any questions with (say) at least 3 upvotes and no downvotes when considering the limit. Or maybe it could be a sliding scale, where the rules becomes tougher as you ask more and more questions in a day. We'd need some careful monitoring for vote fraud, of course (voting rings etc).

In the end, I think it would be fine to have a system where a single individual could ask as many wonderful questions in a day as they have the energy to do - we want good questions, after all - but even a high rep user shouldn't be able to ask lots of bad questions in a short period.

  • 2
    I think counting the upvotes on the question is a good metric. I think a softer metric that might also work is counting the answers with upvotes and requiring that the question does not have downvotes (or at least more upvotes than downvotes). Some questions are not amazing but have amazing answers that contribute a lot. Jul 21, 2013 at 7:53
  • 3
    The problem with that @BenjaminGruenbaum is the really simple questions where the answers get 10 upvotes instantly because everyone can understand them. Jul 21, 2013 at 7:54
  • @benisuǝqbackwards If no people find the question not useful, or lacking in research effort, or unclear and if 10 people find that simple answer useful and no people find that answer unuseful it means that the SO community likes the answer and is OK with the question - the community thinks the question is useful to SO. That said I agree with the problematic rep in "I understand this" answers. That's a more general problem with how reputation works in SO - I don't know how it can be dealt with and I think that if there was a simple solution it would have been suggested and implemented already. Jul 21, 2013 at 8:00
  • 1
    Thanks Jon. However we should not forget that many well researched and quality questions will not receive more than 1-2 upvotes simply because not many people understand the topic. 3 upvotes is too much; I think 1 upvote and no downvotes and close votes would be enough to prevent question abuse - abusive questions usualy don't meet that criteria. You know that, you've been through a lot of sand :-)
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 8:25
  • 4
    @Tomas: Not sure. I think it's worth holding users who are asking lots of questions in a day to a pretty high standard. I think it's more than just avoiding abusive questions - asking lots of questions in a day should be an exceptional situation.
    – Jon Skeet
    Jul 21, 2013 at 8:35
  • 1
    "to not include any questions with (say) at least 3 upvotes..." -- that would make a wide open door for voting rings. Consider editing your answer to account for that
    – gnat
    Jul 21, 2013 at 8:38

The limit is made to prevent new, inexperienced users from flooding SO with I-need-help questions, most of which are duplicates or could be solved with minimal understanding of the problem and with minimal research. I agree with the premises. Unfortunately we need this limit.

But if some user is highly contributing to the community, I think this limit should be relaxed. As to how much this limit should be relaxed, this is something that should be discussed and decided by the community.

I think that the increase in question limit should not be based on reputation, but from the number and quality of answers (something like score calculation, where downvote and upvote has equal values). I think that the premise should be having more answers than the questions, but as I've said, it should be open to discussion.

For now though, you can:

  1. Simply wait until you can add questions
  2. Try to limit the number of questions; merge them before asking if the the problems are somewhat similar
  3. CAUTION! VERY CONTROVERSIAL! Ask someone else (a friend etc) to ask a question for you or make a new friend. The guidelines doesn't forbid it directly.
  4. Make a feature request, and be strong when it would be heavily downvoted - a post on SO is somehow a poll.
  • 6
    Soften the limits? No, God, please, no.
    – Makoto
    Jul 21, 2013 at 6:16
  • 3
    @Makoto why not? What's the aim of limits? The means shouldn't replace the aim. Jul 21, 2013 at 6:20
  • Thanks Lukasz for your kind words - exactly. People tend to forgot why the limits were established and just praise them. The original aim is to make the site better. So why not judge the quality of the posts instead? Fair and simple.
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 7:00
  • 3
    The limit itself is absolutely necessary. In the vast majority of cases where > 6 questions / day are asked, the questions are mediocre at best. But I agree that in this specific case, it should be lifted.
    – Pekka
    Jul 21, 2013 at 7:13
  • @ŁukaszLech: To your point, I'm of the opinion that one shouldn't need to ask that many questions in a single day. Generally speaking, it's one question per four hours, and it's indicative of a lack of research. There's a vast amount of wealth both on StackOverflow and on the Internet itself, and if someone finds themselves in a situation where they need to ask more than 6 questions in a day, I would strongly encourage them to spend more time researching the problem - there is likely a solution out there.
    – Makoto
    Jul 21, 2013 at 8:30

It is wrong that experienced users are limited like this.

There should be a sliding scale based on rep that allows more questions.

  • How do you define experienced?
    – apaul
    Jul 21, 2013 at 7:08
  • Rep is the easy way, but you could get more complicated and put a heuristic dealing with number of questions and answers and the votes received. Jul 21, 2013 at 7:10
  • 1
    I agree, but I fear it is too complex and localized to ever actually get implemented. The rule change for that would have to be something like, "raise the limit based on the user's reputation but only if that reputation came mainly from answers".... this is the first user I've seen that was in this specific situation.
    – Pekka
    Jul 21, 2013 at 7:11
  • Thanks Robert for trying to solve the issue! It is also worth discussion whether to do it based on rep, or based purely on question quality, as proposed by Lukasz. At first I would prefer the rep solution, but Lukasz approach also covers the case of low rep user which can ask high quality questions and maybe more directly follows the goal of the site.
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 7:20
  • On the other hand, the rep approach will work better if the user asks very specific, Tumbleweed type questions that don't get upvoted. Maybe combination of both (high rep OR quality questions) would work.
    – Tomas
    Jul 21, 2013 at 7:34
  • 5
    To refute every single word in your answer, I'll use the standard example: stackoverflow.com/users/39677/blankman. Anything like this shouldn't be solely reputation/experience based; it should take other factors into account, non Q/A badges, answers etc as well. Jul 21, 2013 at 7:47
  • @ben yeah, but that case can be easily fixed by taking only rep from answers into account or something. It doesn't refute the basic idea that this is kinda unfair.
    – Pekka
    Jul 21, 2013 at 12:47
  • No it doesn't refute the idea, just the answer @pekka, I'm sure that if this is done solely on answer rep we'll quickly find someone who breaks that; I quite like the idea behind Jon's answer as a way out... Jul 21, 2013 at 14:47

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .