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This restriction only applies to Stack Overflow (and a few other Stack Exchange sites, see below); you don't have to register to ask questions on most other sites in the network.

The change was made because Stack Overflow has grown in popularity and the number of hit-n-run questions by unregistered users was getting out of hand. It's a quality control measure.

See Encouraging users to create an account (and keep it) as well, specifically Jeff's follow-up comment:

@eds it still works, just not at the scale of Stack Overflow. And to be brutally honest, the important part is unregistered answers; we don't really care about putting barriers in front of question askers. See https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/06/optimizing-for-pearls-not-sand

The complete list of sites requiring a login to ask a question is:

* Sites with this symbol also require registration to answer questions.

The links above are to documentation (either a meta post or a chat message) as to why the requirement was enabled on each site.

Martijn Pieters
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