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The feature to "protect" questions from inexperienced users is great, and works great.

What's counterintuitive to me is that so much rep is required to protect a question. Using the feature requires 15k rep; Why not 10k or 5k?

Was a lower threshold tried and had shown problems?

Is it hard to use correctly, because it's hard to decide (define) what should be protected?

  • 15K isn't that much reputation but it shows you have extremely good judgement, and it's not trivial (means you have more then just popular answers or questions) – Ramhound Mar 24 '16 at 23:52
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    Ah, there is rep scaling involved - I'm not active on SO, where I assume rep adds up quicker; I have 5k, 5k and 2k on unix, ubuntu and physics, and do feel competent to make the decision whether to protect a question. – Volker Siegel Mar 25 '16 at 0:03
  • By the way, this was never practically relevant to me - it's just one item in the perfectly polished system that always gets my attention as feeling odd. – Volker Siegel Mar 25 '16 at 0:05
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In order to protect a question you really want to know whether it is attracting poor quality or spam answers by low rep users. Such answers may well be subject to deletion by moderators or 20K users.

Unless you have at least 10K rep you may well not be able to accurately judge whether a question either deserves being protected or equally importantly whether it deserves being unprotected. We don't want a question with 10 deleted spam answers to be unprotected by someone who simply can't see them.

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  • I see - one needs moderator tools to be able to judge that, as one needs to see deleted questions; That means at least 10k rep are needed. Makes sense now! – Volker Siegel Mar 25 '16 at 5:49
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The ability to protect questions was originally reserved for moderators. It was proposed to be a privilege for 20K users, but 20Ks got better stuff, and protection was added at 15K to hold you over between 10K and 20K.

A lower threshold was never tried. Even so, there has been moderate confusion as to the correct use of the privilege, though no terribly serious misuse has happened to my knowledge. I think the big thing is that there's not really a way for moderators to get good data on protection patterns. There are a lot more 5K users than 15K users, and keeping an eye on all of them would be tough. Besides, 5K users already get a small new privilege: approving tag wiki edits.

Defining a protect-worthy question is pretty easy - questions that have already attracted bad answers from users under 10 rep should be protected. No other questions should.

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  • Ah, I did not think of the aspect of "awarding a privilege", and when to award. But it does seem mostly based on what works best.. – Volker Siegel Mar 25 '16 at 0:08

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