Trying to view questions with a 1 rep sock I have resulted in the Something Bad Happened:

Can this please be fixed?

Viewing questions while logged out (as anonymous visitor) works fine. Going to Ask Question page, I see the expected "You must have at least 2 reputation to ask a question." message due to this change in settings.

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    note that trying to open the question when logged out (or in "private" / "incognito" browser mode) seem to go okay - meaning one need a true, registered 1-rep sock puppet account in order to reproduce the issue – gnat Apr 21 '16 at 14:51
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    Well, that's one way to prevent 1-rep users from asking questions... – hichris123 Apr 21 '16 at 14:51
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    @hichris123 not necessary, maybe they still can ask but get oops when trying to open their own question :) – gnat Apr 21 '16 at 14:52
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    Oops. Fix rolling out. – Nick Craver Apr 21 '16 at 15:01
  • Can you give it a try now please? – Nick Craver Apr 21 '16 at 15:07
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    @Nick thanks, working now. However it also says "You must have at least 2 reputation on Meta Stack Exchange to answer a question on meta." - is this by design? I don't think we need it. The reason for the change was to stop the off topic questions flood. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Apr 21 '16 at 15:08
  • @ShadowWizard temporarily, yes - it's a measure the community team is taking to get questions in the right place for a bit after the ToS site confusion. – Nick Craver Apr 21 '16 at 15:09
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    @Nick I mean users with 1 rep can't post any answers as well – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Apr 21 '16 at 15:10
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    That's an acceptable tradeoff given the (exceedingly low) volume of 1-rep user answers posted here normally, @Shadow. We'll lift this restriction in probably a day or two. – Shog9 Apr 21 '16 at 15:11
  • Thanks @Shog, fair enough I guess. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Apr 21 '16 at 15:12
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    Yeah, this flood was starting to soak quite a few people's socks, and that's starting to smell kinda bad. It'll go back to normal in a few days. – Tim Post Apr 21 '16 at 15:19
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    Well phrased @Tim, well phrased. :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Apr 21 '16 at 17:59
  • @TimPost you were probably too optimistic. 2 months passed but it didn't get back to normal it seems: "site appear to be flooded by blatantly off-topic SO questions again... four questions in less than 10 minutes" – gnat Jun 21 '16 at 7:04
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    @gnat We've been relaxing it as a test over the last couple of months to see what would happen, going to put the requirement up again. <sigh> – Tim Post Jun 21 '16 at 7:52
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    yeah, "I'd think sending users to a blog post announcing it may have been better - no asking questions from there. But live and learn!" (bluefeet) – gnat Jun 21 '16 at 8:16

Long story short, pushing an inbox notification for a post here on MSE has brought in a lot of folks who don't normally visit this site. Which is good... Except that a whole lot of people don't realize they aren't on Stack Overflow anymore.

This is mildly annoying for us (employees) to deal with, and of course a terrible experience for folks who might otherwise be learning something about how this network of sites is governed. So last night, in hope of reducing some stress, I raised the reputation required to post from the default 1 to 2...

...Which had zero effect on anything because that setting has never been changed for anything but child meta sites before, and the code made a few crucial assumptions along those lines.

So a little bit ago, Nick decided to actually make it work by removing one of those (no-longer-correct) assumptions. Which worked! Hooray!

...but then put us face-first into another set of assumptions which involved dereferencing pointers to a parent site that simply doesn't exist here on good ol' Exceptional Meta.

This too is now fixed. For the next day or so, we'll keep the reputation required to post here at 2, thus requiring anyone wishing to participate here to have earned some reputation first (via edits or previous posts) or at least have earned the association bonus somewhere on the network. That oughta allow those of you who are new to the site to poke around and learn about what we do here without suffering the humiliation of mistaking it for Stack Overflow and posting your programming questions only to see them downvoted and unceremoniously deleted.

Once this... Unplanned mass initiation... Has passed, we'll drop the privilege back to its former value and go back to business as usual. And maybe think of a slightly more clever solution next time we need to push a post into everyone's inbox.

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    Thanks for the very in-depth explanation! :) – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Apr 21 '16 at 18:00
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    @sho9 isn't it about time to lower the minimum back to one? – John Militer May 2 '16 at 20:57
  • Probably, @John. Setting a reminder to look at this tomorrow. – Shog9 May 2 '16 at 22:09
  • May I ask why you also disabled them from viewing posts, instead of just disabling them from posting? – John Militer May 2 '16 at 22:42
  • That was a bug; should be fixed as of the timestamp on this post @John. – Shog9 May 2 '16 at 23:20
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    Well... I tried it for about a day, and counted 25 low-rep users asking OT questions here, @John. That's still too high - over double the legit traffic -and given the rate at which people are still reading those damned inbox notifications it's likely to remain high for the foreseeable future. Will check again in 6-8 weeks. – Shog9 May 4 '16 at 14:42
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    @Shog9 sort of update, 2 rep requirement seem to have been removed again today (June 21, 6-8 weeks after your last comment) and site appear to be flooded by blatantly off-topic SO questions again: 1, 2, 3, 4 - four questions in less than 10 minutes. I bet you'll have to revert the requirement back (while we're at it, how about setting similar requirement for Programmers askers having SO profile:) – gnat Jun 21 '16 at 6:55
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    @gnat is correct, IMO it will still happen even in one year. With millions of users, we'll always have hundreds and thousands arriving all of a sudden after long period of inactivity. Then they see that new inbox item, click it, reach MSE... and the rest is history. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Jun 21 '16 at 7:24
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    @ShadowWizard worth adding that such "arriving all of a sudden" is most likely to happen just when they want to ask a question and are not in the mood to notice (subtle for an inexperienced user) visual differences between SO and MSE – gnat Jun 21 '16 at 7:28
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    We're gonna just mark all remaining inbox messages "read" for this little event and call it done. – Shog9 Jun 21 '16 at 16:24
  • @Shog9 The rep level to create any post is still at 2 -- since the messages have been marked read, shouldn't the rep required go back to 1? – hichris123 Jun 26 '16 at 15:18
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    Don't know if that actually got done yet, @hichris - either way, I'm not inclined to open the gates on a weekend. – Shog9 Jun 26 '16 at 16:16

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