I've found a trend that I'd like to discuss. There are users that have reached 15K+ reputation that are participating in a question and then protecting it so that low reputation users can't answer. This wouldn't be a problem if the question was attracting poor, low quality or spam answers from these low reputation users. However, in these cases, that's not what's happening.
The Protect Questions privilege has the following guideline:
Questions should be protected when they are garnering lots of views and newbies are adding "me too!", "thanks!" and possibly even spam non-answers.
Some recent examples to consider:
- Can vstest.console filter tests to run by providing traits? This Q&A are by the same user. There are no deleted answers on the question. (14 views)
- Can vstest.console filter tests by all matched traits? This Q&A are by the same user. There is a second answer that is not the highest of quality, but the user has 200+ reputation and wouldn't be affected by the protection anyway. (23 views)
- What is the difference between getPageLabels and getPageLabelFormats? This question was protected by the author of the only answer. There are no competing answers. (36 views)
- Move LineSeparator to the bottom of the page This question was protected by the author of the only answer. There are no competing answers. (37 views)
- How to create a list without indentation? This question was protected by the author of the only answer. There are no competing answers. (50 views)
- Arrays.sort (with Comparator) - same or different thread? This question was protected by the author of the only answer. There are no competing answers. (64 views)
- How to correctly convert MIDI ticks to milliseconds? This question was protected by the author of the question (not the answer). There is only one answer. (140 views)
I'd like to propose a couple small changes to how a user can protect a question:
The question should not be able to be protected if all of the following are true
- Has less a low number of views. We use 100 views to determine when close votes start expiring. I think 100 would work here too.
- None of the posts have garnered low quality or spam flags
- None of the answers have a score less than 0
- The user protecting the question is a participant
If any of those criteria are no longer true, then the participants should be able to protect it normally. I worked with ChrisF to spot check the flags on the above posts. There are not any low quality or spam flags.
This means that the final question in my example would be able to be protected by both participants.
If you haven't answered the question, you would be able to protect a question as normal. The idea is that the author of the question or answers can't protect if if the other three criteria are true
The idea is to prevent locking out low reputation users from these questions. They are not gathering the types of answers mentioned in the guidelines that require a post to be protected. Instead, it looks like a conflict of interest. The user protecting the post is one of the users that can benefit the most from preventing competing answers.