I like this site, but what makes me despise sites are things like this:

Oops! Your answer couldn't be submitted because:

new users can only post answers every 3 minutes; try again later.

So why, Stack Overflow, do you limit me helping the community by forcing me not to answer for another 3 minutes? The site praises itself about popups / JavaScript and all the little annoyances <blinking> text yet it stops me from helping.

Please consider disabling such a useless feature... sorry for being a rodent about this but I find such messages Annoying!


7 Answers 7


What kind of answers are you posting, if they take less than 3 minutes to write? Take an extra minute or two to provide a link to your sources, or fix spelling.

(As others note, the limit exists to reduce the damage abusive users can - and, prior to the limit did - cause the site)

  • Sometimes the (comments) only take a short amount of time to write like this one. I just got a "you may only submit a comment every 30 seconds", adding this part while i wait.
    – RCIX
    Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 17:41
  • 9
    @RCIX: comments are a different story. Most are short and border on pointless - for instance, the one i'm typing right now...
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 17:42
  • You have a good point there i suppose...
    – RCIX
    Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 18:07
  • 4
    Plenty of my answers take less than 3 minutes to write, to be fair. (Although some take a lot longer.)
    – Jon Skeet
    Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 19:35
  • Same here... I spend 10-15 seconds on some answers. And 60+ minutes on some too.
    – Rex M
    Commented Sep 23, 2009 at 0:11
  • 2
    @Jon - But once you've answered, no one ever needs another answer. Commented Sep 23, 2009 at 0:27
  • Not everybody has always-on mobile Internet access. Consider this use case: 1. Download several questions from SO. 2. Disconnect from the Internet. 3. Compose answers to all questions in a text editor. 4. Connect to the Internet. 5. Post the answers. Step 5 gets rate limited even if each answer in step 3 took a half hour. Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 14:44
  • 2
    I'm afraid that particular use-case is far less common than other, less admirable uses for posting multiple posts in quick succession, @tepples. Regardless of the goals of the author, the other folks on the site need at least a little bit of time to read and react.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 20, 2014 at 15:40

It limits spammers to a rate at which they can reasonably be moderated.


It's not meant to punish you, but to filter out spambots, and limit the damage they can do when they do get by. Part of the "trust model" of this site rewards active contributors.


There was a specific incident that I recall (possibly one of many) where a new user created an OpenID using a junk e-mail account, and proceeded to create dozens (maybe hundreds) of junk spam questions, filling up the front page. At the time, the moderators were completely swamped trying to kill them all, and [email protected] was taking too long (IIRC it was after their "regular" hours) to ban the account.

This measure was put into place so that troublemakers can be more easily managed by community moderators until the site admins can take action.


It's because the system can't be sure you're not a "spammer". That's not to say you are one, it just can't be sure. Now, I still get "Comments may only be submitted every 30 seconds" or "comment votes may only be submitted every 5 seconds" fairly often, and i have a couple thousand rep. You wouldn't want spammers sending 2 dozen questions out at once or adding 5 answers that make no sense in short order do you?

In short it's so that moderators can minimize the damage of spammers if they should appear.

  • 1
    I also still get "Coments may only be submitted every 30 seconds," and I'd like to think that I'm fairly high up on the "trusted users" list. :) Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 17:39
  • 1
    @Bill the Lizard: You aren't trusted, you are being constantly watched.
    – perbert
    Commented Sep 22, 2009 at 18:17

fwiw - once your rep hits a certain level, this restriction goes away.

I find the amount of time it takes me to answer on any of the sites entirely dependent upon how much I have to look-up vs what I know right-off. Sometimes I can answer in 40 seconds, other times it's 40 minutes.

  • How many points are required for this?
    – Techboy
    Commented Dec 27, 2009 at 11:25
  • @Techboy - I believe it's 50
    – warren
    Commented Dec 28, 2009 at 0:33
  • 1
    rate-limiting guide
    – tshepang
    Commented Aug 3, 2013 at 13:50

That rule is there to stop spam - think about it rationally: some spammer uses cheap labour or a fake OpenID provider to create gazillions of users on the system. He starts using them to post spam answers.

Having a time limit like this keeps the spam output at a manageable rate and gives the mods time to clean up the mess and ban the new users or block IPs.

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