In the morning of March 19th, a newly-registered user posted 11 spam questions in as many minutes:

coffee diet spam train

While asking questions is rate-limited, these rate limits are not applied across sites, allowing spammers to post on many sites in rapid progression. These rate limits should be applied across sites.

Shog9 agreed this is "low-hanging fruit".

  • 1
    If at least 1 spam post is destroyed by either a moderator approving the flag, or by 6 people flagging, then the stackexchange spam filters will learn the spam, and block all posts that are exactly the same
    – Ferrybig
    Commented Apr 1, 2016 at 8:44
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    related: Let's re-evaluate the Question Timer
    – gnat
    Commented Oct 28, 2016 at 19:25

3 Answers 3


Did someone say bounty? Arrrr.

As Shog9 said, this is now implemented and deployed - there is no way to specifically override per site (will require re-engineering a bunch of bits and figuring out what exactly that would mean per site).

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    You can have it. I need your shipping address for the stroopwafels....
    – rene
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 8:33
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    @404 - I don't follow. They could post elsewhere already. They will not suddenly be able to post on a site where they are rate-limited on due to bad questions there (different ban - different check).
    – Oded
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 15:41

Oded implemented this earlier today. Right now, the default rate-limits apply to new users on every site (where "new user" is defined in a way that requires some nominal participation on that site), forcing a waiting period between posting a question or answer after having previously posted one anywhere else on the network.

These are not particularly onerous rate limits, but should suffice to let the spam-handling mechanisms kick in before excessive quantities of messages can be generated.

At present, this overrides site-specific rate-limits, which is less than ideal. Hopefully Oded will take a crack at correcting this, and also chime in here when he does for a chance at that sweet bounty goodness.

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    Thanks for this first step, Oded has three days to earn that juicy bounty. Remind him it is not a ordinary bounty, it is a smelly one and comes with an additional stroopwafel.
    – rene
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 8:06
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    I am not sufficiently familiar with rate limits, but a beneficial side effect of this may be that it prevents instant cross-posting.
    – Wrzlprmft
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 8:16
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    @Wrzlprmft - yep, that should certainly be a side effect.
    – Oded
    Commented Apr 6, 2016 at 8:28
  • do these limits really work? I just observed spammer dropping their stuff at 3 sites in about 10 minutes - Programmers, Workspace, Webapps - stackexchange.com/users/8306646/jeffreymosess
    – gnat
    Commented Apr 23, 2016 at 5:52
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    Default rate limit is something like 5 minutes, @gnat. Programmers and TWP were about 50 minutes apart, so plenty of time to squeeze another one in there on Webapps.
    – Shog9
    Commented Apr 24, 2016 at 23:53
  • Shog, folks at MSO complain that their site-specific 90-min rate limit appears broken: Aren't new users throttled asking questions anymore? Could this be a side effect of introducing cross-site limits?
    – gnat
    Commented May 1, 2016 at 11:13
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    It very well could be, @gnat. I'll look into it.
    – Shog9
    Commented May 2, 2016 at 20:12

This is very unlikely that a new user have interesting questions for 3 different SE websites (moreover for 11 websites!). I suggest to apply a rate limit for more than 2 websites. This would keep flexibility by allowing an user to ask 2 questions on 2 different websites before applying a limit.

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