I know this isn't a big deal for me but why do guests get to post answers but not post questions?


1 Answer 1


This restriction only applies to Stack Overflow (and a few other Stack Exchange sites, see below); you don't have to register to ask questions on most other sites in the network.

The change was made because Stack Overflow has grown in popularity and the number of hit-n-run questions by unregistered users was getting out of hand. It's a quality control measure.

See Encouraging users to create an account (and keep it) as well, specifically Jeff's follow-up comment:

@eds it still works, just not at the scale of Stack Overflow. And to be brutally honest, the important part is unregistered answers; we don't really care about putting barriers in front of question askers. See https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/06/optimizing-for-pearls-not-sand

The complete list of sites requiring a login to ask a question is:

* Sites with this symbol also require registration to answer questions.

The links above are to documentation (either a meta post or a chat message) as to why the requirement was enabled on each site.

  • I guess maybe because Stack tends to want better questions rather than answers?
    – puretppc
    Mar 29, 2014 at 2:50
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    Why is it even allowed on other sites anyway? Registering doesn't really take more than a few seconds and if you're not registered, you just don't ever return to your question, simple as that. But I guess there's already a meta question on that issue. Nov 7, 2014 at 9:31
  • Having to register just to get one question answered is absurd. Just create an Anonymous bucket and let it go at that. If someone tries to ask another question, then ask them to register.
    – user291305
    Dec 19, 2016 at 14:54
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    So SuperUser and ServerFault from the original "trilogy" did not need this? Jul 21, 2021 at 14:58
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    Didn't Christianity get added recently? Apr 19, 2022 at 21:53
  • @forestdistrustsStackExchange: indeed, I can see that you need an account for both questions and answers. Do you know if there is a post about this on their Meta? Apr 20, 2022 at 10:55
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    @forestdistrustsStackExchange: for what it's worth, the change appears to have been made in December 2021 at the earliest, as I was able to find a question from late November and an answer from early December from unregistered accounts. Apr 20, 2022 at 12:15
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    @MartijnPieters I asked about it in their chat room and the response was that it was requested in private moderator space and the announcement from staff is there. I did ask follow-up questions as to when it was enabled and if something public can be posted, but they didn't respond. Nov 2, 2022 at 0:44
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    I'm guessing there are many more now and this should be updated. At the very least travel also requires an account now (as does super user). (In fact I didn't find any example of sites that do allow posting without an account perhaps it would be interesting to also include that list. I suspect it is small.) edit: cooking doesn't require an account! So those sites do still exist. They might be the minority though or at least most big ones don't seem to allow it.
    – Kvothe
    Sep 14, 2023 at 9:39
  • @ChristianRau, one major reason is for asking questions anonymously. Stackexchange deals with many questions for which the asker has good reasons to want to stay anonymous (and so also not linked to another pseudonymous account with questions that can be traced back to an identity). And registering for a new anonymous account seems to be troublesome. I didn't manage to create one even though I used a specially made outlook account. It didn't allow me to create an account. Probably because I was in incognito mode.
    – Kvothe
    Sep 14, 2023 at 9:48
  • @Sonic do you know which sites require login these days? e.g. Travel also requires login and isn't listed here. Not expecting anyone to go through 170+ sites to check, but maybe you have some information about this? Sep 14, 2023 at 10:14
  • @ShadowTheGPTWizard There was no meta announcement of the feature change, and the moderators there seem clueless about it as well. I've asked them in chat and they say they're checking it. Sep 17, 2023 at 19:48
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    Math SE currently also requires registration to answer questions, but apparently nobody remembers why and since when: math.meta.stackexchange.com/q/37472/42969 .
    – Martin R
    May 21 at 8:00
  • Arqade also requires registration to ask questions. May 21 at 8:10

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