I know this seems like a good idea, but this far into the game you should be able to tell from network behavior that I'm not a spammer…

40 min rule

I had a compound question. I broke it up because breaking it up was possible—it probably isn't even necessary in that it wouldn't otherwise get closed. Now I doubt either of my questions will be easily answered, but it stinks when you want to run (irl) to have to wait on a question timer which means posting one at a later time. Can't we fight spammers more effectively in a different way?

Can't we find a way to make this not stupid?

  • 1
    What site did you get this on?
    – user50049
    Oct 19, 2016 at 18:00
  • @TimPost gis.stackexchange.com Oct 19, 2016 at 18:02
  • 5
    Wow, I didn't know there is a question timer for a user who has very high reputation points on multiple sites. I don't understand the purpose of this mechanism for someone who knows how Stack Exchange works.
    – Rathony
    Oct 19, 2016 at 19:26
  • 1
    @Rathony purpose is spam prevention. Idea that other site rep no matter how high doesn't help at site where one is new seems to be picked for its simplicity because it looks difficult to find out "high rep cut off" that would be really safe against attack of a truly dedicated spammer / troll. Smart abuser could artificially inflate their rep at some obscure site with tricks / sock puppets and after that do unlimited carpet bombing of 150 other sites in the network until their "source of power" is discovered and neutralised
    – gnat
    Oct 19, 2016 at 20:09
  • Those are technical problems, a) finding out "high rep cut off" that would be really safe against attack of a truly dedicated spammer / troll, and b) finding the source of power to neutralize. I think those can be solved very easily though. You don't think @TimPost is smart enough? Oct 19, 2016 at 20:12
  • 1
    the thing about attacks like I described is these can't be prevented before it happens, only after the fact - which would mean one would have to not only stop the abuser but also clean up dirt and pain after them, at all 150 sites. To me this sounds a good enough reason to establish a simple timer that simply guarantees that this just can't ever happen
    – gnat
    Oct 19, 2016 at 20:20
  • 4
    Ah, good point. Well we could stop all attacks by further limiting functionality and turning the servers off. That's probably a good compromise too. Oct 19, 2016 at 20:26
  • 8
    This actually isn't a bad thing to revisit. I need to run some numbers, but I agree with Evan that it's a little over-zealous when you've (1) had an account across multiple sites as long as he has and (2) have a pretty good track record on non-meta sites. Note, I said revisit as in looking at the efficacy of this doing what we intended quite a while ago compared to just getting in people's way.
    – user50049
    Oct 19, 2016 at 20:52
  • 1
    @TimPost This network is psychotic. I got another question ban for asking this question which has positive reputation and that you agreed with. Make sense of that one. You have reached your question limit. Sorry, we are no longer accepting questions from this account. See the Help Center to learn more. Dec 1, 2016 at 0:38
  • 1
    @EvanCarroll Your net score (all questions and answers) is what's being considered here, and I thought we fixed that. It's okay to go back a year, but the dawn of time (or account creation) is a little grudgey. I'm sending over a request to (1) verify that I'm not insane, and that we really did fix this and (2) find out why it appears to be unfixed, it'll be next week unfortunately, but thanks for letting me know.
    – user50049
    Dec 1, 2016 at 15:59
  • 1
    It turns out the minimum site rep, not be considered a new user on a particular site, is 125. Apr 12, 2017 at 22:42
  • 1
    @tim any update? May 9, 2017 at 20:28
  • 3
    @PatrickHofman The issue is the present, I just ran into the 40 minute limit (I have 133k reputation across the Stack Exchange network). It is even more annoying as the question doesn't get saved and each time one hits on "post your question" the timer is reset to 40 minutes. May 18, 2017 at 3:21
  • 3
    @EvanCarroll pinging Tim Post is pointless. He NEVER responds. Tried many times, never to get any hint of reply. Jan 10, 2018 at 14:56
  • 1
    @MonicaCellio Perhaps it was hard-deleted? Jan 12, 2018 at 3:44

2 Answers 2


(This probably will be unpopular answer but oh well) I think that discussed rate limit on asking questions is worth keeping even if we ignore anti-spam considerations.

To start with, system already makes it much easier for these users to deal with asking rate limit. When they join another site they are automatically granted 100 reputation points as an acknowledgement of their familiarity with network-wide system basics.

As a result they need only 24 rep points more in order to remove new users restrictions and be able to ask at unlimited rate. That's just a matter of 3 answer upvotes or 5 question upvotes or 12 approved edit suggestions (or any combination of these).

This is already five times easier than it would take to total stranger (who would have to gain 124 rep points) and I believe it is good enough.

Also, underlying reasoning for suggesting to remove rate limit seems to be that high reputation at one site somehow helps ask better questions at another.

Per my observations though this is simply not so. If you give a read to this post and comments under it you'll find multiple examples of users having thousands rep points and years of active participation at one site asking blatantly, offensively inappropriate questions at another.

Currently top "outside reputation" of the listed abusers is about 16K and there seem to be no indication that it can't get higher (that list, it's steadily growing).

In the light of these observations removal of asking rate limit doesn't make good sense neither for the target site (which would be exposed to risk of getting its front page flooded by inappropriate questions dumped at unlimited rate) nor for these users from the other site who could bump into question ban due to having multiple (quickly posted) questions voted down and closed and lose the ability to learn and ask better questions.

Summing up, I think question timer is worth keeping anyway as it is useful both for the target site and for the askers and the bonus reputation already provides enough help for those willing to ask at unlimited rate.

  • I understand your point of view, but I don't think Software Engineering can be used as a generic example for judging question quality.
    – Stijn
    Jan 15, 2018 at 15:31
  • @Stijn most if not all examples listed there would be blatantly off-topic at Stack Overflow as well (no mcve)
    – gnat
    Jan 15, 2018 at 15:35

I think we can do better.

  • User Story 1: Power user, active on a few StackExchange websites decides to ask a question on a new site. Gets hit by the ratelimit due to a previous question on a well-established site. (happened to this user)
  • User Story 2: User asks a meta question somewhere on the network, gets hit by the ratelimit. (this is what happened with me today)

As I understand, the original intent of this rate-limiting was to slow down spammers

While I would agree that having your previous question on a site where you're new, and then posting another on another place where you're new could be rate-limited, I think activity on meta and sites where your reputation is established should be exempt from these calculations.

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