This is what I see for a protected question:

I had 101 reputation (association bonus), so it surprised me I couldn't answer the question.

Then I found

These state the the association bonus does not count for answering protected questions.

I cannot find any authoritative source (FAQ, blog, etc.) that states this.

This behavior is highly surprising otherwise, since the association bonus counts towards reputation normally in nearly every other circumstance.

The message should be changed to read:

Thank you for your interest in this question. Because it has attracted low-quality answers, posting an answer now requires 10 reputation on this site, excluding bonuses.

EDIT: "on this site" does not clarify this. It says I must have "10 reputation on this site". I do. In fact I have 101 reputation on this site. ("Hey Paul, how much reputation do you have on that site?" "101." "How much do you have on that other site?" "13,000.") Surely you wouldn't suggest I have the 100 points extra on another site? (If so, it hasn't shown up yet.)

If it said "10 reputation earned on this site", that would be arguably correct, though still much less clear than my suggested wording.

  • That's why they added "on this site", as opposed to earned through other means like association bonus
    – mhlester
    May 5, 2014 at 0:17
  • 1
    @mhlester, if that is why it was added, IMO it does a poor job. See my updated question. May 5, 2014 at 0:24
  • 1
    I can't find the post about it. Maybe I was wrong. But dupe of this post: meta.stackexchange.com/q/210481/248072
    – mhlester
    May 5, 2014 at 1:49
  • @mhlester, interesting...it appears from that post that the message used to be "This question is protected to prevent 'thanks!', 'me too!', or spam answers by new users. To answer it, you must have earned at least 10 reputation on this site." May 5, 2014 at 1:52