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It's that time of the year again; no, I don't mean April Fools, I mean a question with a lot of posts by users who are new to Meta. These posts are explicitly open to new users. Like the contests last winter, these questions cause protect/unprotect wars between Community ♦ and other users. One primary driver of these wars is that the relevant checks occur whenever any new user posts or deletes an answer: for instance, in the revision history linked earlier, it was getting protected every time any answer from a new user was being posted, since the check for five answers from new users posted in the last 24 hours was being run every time a new user posted an answer, and since the check was passing every time, it would be protected.

I'd like to help here as well; I have the privilege to protect and unprotect questions, but the buttons for doing so only show up 24 hours after the question has been posted. The former part makes some sense; we don't want users to preemptively protect questions where that isn't necessary. However, the latter part doesn't really make much sense.

I suggest that the unprotecting button is also available within in the first 24 hours (possibly only if Community ♦ auto-protected the question, but cases where an elected/appointed ♦ moderator protects a question within 24 hours are rare[citation needed] so feel free to choose the option which is easiest to implement).


This feature request is taking an interesting turn of events. As can be seen in the revision history, the question is now only 21 hours old and I'm able to run a script to unprotect the question. It works by issuing a POST call to /questions/unprotect (once every minute), which means in the 24 hour period after posting the question, only the link in the UI is disabled; the one-day-old check isn't carried out server-side. I don't think it's particularly open to abuse, but still...

  • I've seen mods on SU immediately protect questions about topics that tend to be used by spammers as spam seeds. – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Apr 1 '19 at 7:55
  • OT: I think you can build a Java program and run it on a server 24/7 so you don't have to keep your browser open. – iBug is disappointed in SE Apr 1 '19 at 14:13
  • @MetaBugWizard I've considered that, but even logging in (without logging myself out on other browsers) is hard. The script already runs in a browser on a server which is 24/7 online, which is fine for this purpose. – Glorfindel Apr 1 '19 at 14:16
  • You run a browser (with JS support) on a server? Sounds refreshing. – iBug is disappointed in SE Apr 1 '19 at 15:20
  • 1
    More convenient than a server in a browser ... – Glorfindel Apr 1 '19 at 15:24
  • Out of curiosity, does the backend allow protecting questions less than 24 hours old (provided they have an answer from a new user)? – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Apr 2 '19 at 1:48
  • Not sure, and I don't have an example ready where I can test this ... the answer below came a few hours too late for this. – Glorfindel Apr 2 '19 at 9:38
  • @Sonic it didn't work here. – Glorfindel Apr 2 '19 at 11:02
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This seems to have been implemented at some point.

This question was asked just one hour ago, and was just protected by Community due to spam answers from new users. The "unprotect" button now does seem to show for me:

Unprotect button showing up on question asked 1 hour ago

I tried clicking the button to unprotect it, and it indeed went through and it was unprotected. (Which makes sense, since the check was never enforced server-side, only client-side due to the lack of the button.)

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