When Community Wiki status is removed from a question, it makes that question ineligible to be automatically converted back to wiki status again. (Ignore the fact that auto-CW doesn't exist any more for a moment...)

This functionality should be extended to protection as well. Auto-protection does still exist, but manual unprotection doesn't disqualify a question from being auto-protected again, which can result in wars between moderators and the Community user protecting and unprotecting the question until the end of time the moderators get bored.

Can we make manual unprotection of a question disqualify that question from further auto-protection? It should still be manually-protectable, to avoid any edge-case abuse scenarios, but someone saying "this shouldn't be protected" should be enough of a signal for the system to respect that.

  • 3
    This is especially applicable to the Formatting Sandbox. Nov 8, 2018 at 21:02
  • Is this a problem on the main site or the meta site? If it's on meta the solution may be to remove auto-protection entirely.
    – Laurel
    Nov 8, 2018 at 21:20
  • Could be either, @Laurel, but more common on the main sites.
    – ArtOfCode
    Nov 8, 2018 at 21:23
  • @SonictheAnonymousHedgehog Good point. You can include all the other various sandboxes around the network too - API sandbox, question sandboxes, etc.
    – ArtOfCode
    Nov 8, 2018 at 21:24

3 Answers 3


This is especially a problem for contests being run on this site.

Take, for example, the most recent contest. If you look at its revision history, you'll see a very long and drawn-out war between the Community user and humans (mods and 15k+ users).

After some investigation, I discovered that the question is being automatically protected because 5 answers from new users are being posted in the last 24 hours. This means that every time the question gets an answer from a new user (which is to be expected since the contest is featured), it will be automatically protected.

Can we please have this feature? I feel it's rather important for this contest. In the time it's been up (less than two days), it's already been auto-protected eight times. Every time a new user answers it, it'll be protected, and there are already complaints in the comments from users unable to answer because it got protected. The contest rules specify that any MSE user in good standing is allowed to enter, so protection is rather obtuse.


I suggest a tweak of the requested feature: disable auto protection for questions having the tag.

The main point of such a thing is let anyone take part in important discussions (or fun events) published across the whole network, and that's exactly what the tag is for.

So instead of requiring someone to unprotect first, simply never auto protect such a question to begin with. And once the discussion/event aren't of interest anymore, and the tag is removed, the question can be auto protected again in case of abuse.

Important to add, such questions can still be manually protected as usual, just no auto protect.

  • Only forces moderators to keep re-featuring a question sandbox to prevent protection. Nov 29, 2018 at 8:49
  • 2
    @Sonic well, this doesn't address sandbox, to be honest. For those something else is needed. Nov 29, 2018 at 8:57
  • 2
    The sandbox and the contest are not the intended uses for our format, @SonictheInclusiveHedgehog — not discarding that changing the behavior of the feature might be a good idea, it certainly isn't one to optimize it for two edge cases.
    – JNat StaffMod
    Nov 29, 2018 at 16:32
  • I suggest that any question be auto-protected only once, which solves both problems. Nov 30, 2018 at 4:55
  • @ɪBᴜɢ well... That is exactly what the original feature request here suggests. Nov 30, 2018 at 6:52

As a workaround (for the short-living questions such as the contests, not so much for the Sandbox), I have the following userscript running on a browser in my server. It adds an 'auto-unprotect' button to the post menu, which upon clicking will send unprotect requests every minute (even if the question isn't protected, in which case the error is silently ignored). It will of course only work if you have the privilege to (un)protect questions. It has unprotected the Stuff-A-Way question 4 times (and counting...).

example of the "auto unprotect" link added by the script

// ==UserScript==
// @name      Automatic Question Unprotector
// @match     *://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/*
// @exclude   *://meta.stackexchange.com/questions/ask
// @grant     none
// ==/UserScript==

(function () {
  let questionID = $("div#question").attr("data-questionid");

  // Add button
  let question = $('#question');
  let menu = question.find('div.post-menu');
  menu.append($('<span class="lsep">|</span>'));
  let button = $('<a href="#">auto-unprotect</a>');
  button.click(function(event) {
    if (!confirm('Are you sure you want to auto-unprotect this question?'))

    button.text("auto-unprotect activated, refresh or close page to deactivate");
    setInterval(function() {
        url: "https://" + document.location.host + "/question/unprotect",
        data: "id=" + questionID + "&fkey=" + window.localStorage["se:fkey"].split(",")[0],
        success: function (data) {
          console.log("Question unprotected.");
    }, 60000);
  • 2
    I'd personally change to once every 5 minutes, one minute feels like bit of overload, especially when running 24/7 or by multiple users. But very nice, this would put an end to new users not being able to take part in those contests. :) Jan 6, 2019 at 8:15
  • I don't think it's causing too big of a load on the server (compared to the # of visitors) - response time is ~100ms. But feel free to use a version with s/60000/300000/ :)
    – Glorfindel Mod
    Jan 6, 2019 at 10:02

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