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I use quite a few sites and I'm really used to seeing the protected questions banner where it's "supposed" to be... right before the answers:

Protected Questions banner

According to Jon Ericson in an answer from a few years ago, the appearance of the banner at the bottom of the page for the users who are prevented from answering it is intentional.

Eeeek! Something stole the protection! (Why is this protected question unprotected?)

This is an intended behaviour because if you don't have enough site reputation to answer (and since association bonuses don't count, I don't even with a diamond) the banner explains why. Generally speaking, this probably makes more sense than putting it at the top of the page and confusing new or drop-in users. But for those of us who are used to seeing it upfront and know for other reasons that a question is protected, it's strange.

That's fine. I don't mind it replacing the answer spot if I can't answer but it'd be nice to be able to see that I can't answer ... sooner. Earlier today I was looking for protected questions asked by a specific user - on sites I don't have the reputation to see the normal banner - and wasn't able to find them because I was expecting the banner to be in the normal place, not all the way down at the bottom of the page.

As a moderator, I would also like users who are new to my site to know that a question is protected before they start scrolling through the answers to see if one says what they'd want to say and planning out an answer they can't write. If they see the warning first, they may still look at the answers but they won't be surprised by the protection status and their inability to answer after scanning through five, ten, or even twenty answers.

4

The rationale Jon provides in the post you linked still holds: greeting users (most of whom are here just to read) with a banner telling them they can't answer is off-putting.

Honestly... I think we should do this for closed questions too.

If you're motivated to answer, the presence of the banner in the location normally reserved for the answer-composition form should be sufficient; beating you over the head with the fact that you can't do something isn't necessary otherwise.

  • I think reading through answers is a good thing. – Shog9 Feb 1 '18 at 5:04
  • voted down for suggestion to put close banner at the bottom. Obscuring the fact that question is closed and inappropriate for the passer-by from google reading old question with insane score and dozens answers (do you really believe they can / will scroll to the bottom), yeah that's just what we need to make them think to ask a similar question right now – gnat Feb 1 '18 at 8:03
  • ...next logical "improvement" would be to move historical lock banners to the bottom. Let's make things easier to read for visitors, why bother them with annoying notes about site quality requirements – gnat Feb 1 '18 at 12:21
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The concept of protection (and closure, for that matter) is primarily of interest to SE users. People browsing from Google are just here to read, as Shog says in his answer. Network users are sometimes doing other things; for example, last night, in response to a complaint about the "close police", I reviewed closed questions on a site where I'm not a moderator, and it was very helpful that I could get the names of the close voters out of the banner right there at the top. It sounds like you were doing an auditing task kind of like that, and that's why you were looking for the banner.

A possible solution, then, would be to display the banner at the top for users with network accounts, not just users on that site. Something on the page already knows who you are even sans account, because the top bar works. The new, drop-in users that Jon and Shog talk about don't see a change, but you, as an SE user who already runs into protected questions from time to time, get the banner where you expect it.

  • Yes. And that's where the "(more?)" in the question title comes in... I don't know how difficult it is to to a check to see the network account status of a user who's not joined the site they're viewing... or of a user who has 101 rep (from the association bonus, and thus not able to answer due to the question being protected)... but it seems somewhat silly to only obscure the protection banner for the people who don't have 10 reputation on that site. – Catija Feb 1 '18 at 17:09

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