Protecting questions is a privilege awarded at 3,500 reputation on you're average SE site (of course it's different here, because unlike most SE sites, Meta SE and Stack Overflow have different reputation requirements for privileges). After a question has been protected, it requires 10 reputation to answer. But what's the point? There are still hundreds of new users that have >10 reputation, and they can do very similar things to what the newest users do. And it's also a little unfair and useless.

  • What's the point?

  • Why is this a privilege?

  • If we had to keep it, should we raise the reputation required to answer a protected question?

  • 1
    If the duplicate does not answer all of your questions then I think you should at least link to it at the beginning, and then only ask a question for which it does not provide an answer.
    – PolyGeo
    Mar 11, 2018 at 23:21

3 Answers 3


Original Blog

... this question is protected to prevent “thanks”, “me too!”, and spam posts from new users. To answer it, you must have more than 10 reputation.

... we needed this because some of the more popular Super User questions attracted a lot of noise from random drive-by users who didn’t understand how our system works — users who helpfully provided so-called answers like “thanks, this worked for me!” or “I have this problem too, can anyone help?” And lots of them.


Protected questions have the additional restriction that new users are not permitted to answer the question. Unlike locked questions, they can still be edited, commented on, and voted on. You can even vote to close them.

Questions are usually protected because they have attracted either spam answers or "noisy" answers such as "thank you", "this worked for me", or "I'm also having this problem" from new users who may mistake the site as a traditional forum. Uh, in case you don’t know, Diamond moderators can Protect a post.

  • 1
    and 10 reputation is a good way to ensure the user in question has at least a minimal amount of positive contribution to the site. Its also uniquely per site cause HNQ.
    – Journeyman Geek Mod
    Mar 12, 2018 at 0:41

While a lot of users have 10 rep, there is a huge difference between an unregistered user or a 1-rep user and a user with 10 rep or more. To get those 9 or 10 rep, this person has posted an answer someone upvoted, or a question 2 people upvoted, or done 5 good edits. They understand the site. They are not going to post "your an idiot" as an answer -- or anything else that is just a comment on another answer, or "I have this problem too", or spam. Questions with a lot of views, and questions on the Hot Network Questions list, tend to attract deliberate spam as well as unaware non-answers. Protecting, which is relatively rare, stops these things.

For more on the mechanics of protecting (and unprotecting), see What is a “protected” question?

Your claim that it is "unfair and useless" requires some backup. I see no evidence of either.


Protecting questions is also extremely useful for popular questions (whether from the HNQ list or from the internet in general) when you have site standards that visitors may not know about. For example on religious sites, answers must respect the perspective asked about, and not just post whatever the person thinks about an issue. Other sites have a back-it-up rule, where explicit evidence or support must be provided. In fact that's the main reason I see protection used, and hardly ever for the "me too" type of posts.

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