Upon trying to submit an edit, I got a red message box saying

Your post cannot be submitted at this time due to the volume of spam and abuse originating from your network. We apologize for any inconvenience. See the help center for more.

Then I realized that I was trying to submit it anonymously, from a Tor session. Not a surprise, Tor users are used to those hindrances, but that is not my point.

That box should show up as soon as the edit button is clicked, not only after the person has already worked on the edit and is about to submit it (because it is obviously an avoidable waste of time).

  • 1
    Possibly interesting, related argument against this: meta.stackexchange.com/a/300884/369802
    – Tinkeringbell Mod
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 18:26
  • 5
    In addition to that, there's this - reinterpreted to your question: "Most accounts aren't blocked, and while you are typing you can fall into (and unlikely out of) the blocked category; it's only when you attempt the action that the decision is made, any decision prior to that is a guess or estimate and not a true answer reflecting the result that you should expect".
    – Rob
    Commented May 10, 2021 at 18:38

2 Answers 2


Yes, absolutely!

It's an unquestionably better experience to be notified up front of that block rather than going through the trouble of crafting a submission only to be told that it won't be accepted afterwards, especially in cases where that block isn't strictly your own fault (e.g. in your case with Tor).

Even if this design choice actually does "waste spammers' time" (which seems debatable anyway), the message stops them from posting regardless of whether it shows up before or after attempted submission.

It seems pretty clear that the primary goal of the feature isn't to waste time, but to actually stop spam, which, as mentioned, it does either way. UX would definitely be improved by displaying that error earlier in the post creation process.


You chose to act in a way that is common behaviour for a category of people we don't want to encourage, spammers.

Should we care about not wasting spammers time?
No, I'd reason we should even do the opposite, the more of their time we waste, the less spam they can post.

It is unfortunate that you had good intentions and fell victim to this. But this could have been totally avoidable on your part, by not acting like a spammer ;)

  • @user1271772 that is indeed my suggestion. Also the hindrance is minimal. They could simply press the browsers back-button, copy the content of the post they edited, log-in and submit it again. So it is not really a waste of effort.
    – Luuklag
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 8:37
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    This is reasonable, but I wonder if delaying the error message from "Edit" to "Submit edit" is a significant delay to spammers. Wikipedia does block edits from Tor exit nodes, but its error message box shows up immediately once the edit form is opened instead of being delayed.
    – Quasímodo
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 19:11
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    I disagree. The person's writing could be lost when clicking "back" especially depending on their cookie/cache/etc. settings. Just because someone used a software that spammers also use, doesn't mean that they should be blamed for what you call an "unfortunate" thing. You're also using a browser that's commonly used by spammers right? I do agree with the OP that ideally the error would should up immediately. Commented May 11, 2021 at 19:49
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    I think this answer is a little short-sighted; it relies on the idea that this design quirk wastes spammers' time in a useful manner (which is questionable in of itself) and also that wasting spammer's time in this particular way is worth the tradeoff of not improving the UX for real users. If it's architecturally difficult to implement, that's one thing, but this reasoning doesn't cut it for me lol
    – zcoop98
    Commented May 11, 2021 at 20:28
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    If there are legitimate reasons for behaving a certain way (and there are indeed legitimate reasons for using Tor), then it shouldn’t matter if spammers happen to act that way as well. Don’t dismiss their concerns as them “acting like a spammer”. Try reading some of the comments and answers on Can SE block actions from Tor exit nodes?. Commented Mar 29, 2022 at 15:42

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