I'm merely asking out of curiosity, but what decides whether a question gets protected or not? Is it votes? Content? (Though that could be argued - by extension; votes) or is it a Mod choice?


3 Answers 3


After the recent changes to protection, a question can be protected automatically if it fulfills any of these criteria:

  1. 3 answers from new users deleted – this handles questions that tend to attract large amounts of spam over time.
  2. 5* answers from new users scoring <= 0 posted in the past 24 hours - this handles questions that are somewhat topical, and are attracting large numbers of "participants" who aren't actually contributing anything useful.

*This value can be higher or lower on sites that have demonstrated “special” patterns of new-user interaction.

(I don't know what the value for Arqade is, but I'll assume it's 5 just as well.)

On top of that, any user with the protect-questions privilege can protect a question manually, if the question is more than a day old.

A guide on what should be protected is also provided by the blog post:

  • Do protect questions that are attracting a lot of non-answers or very poor answers (spam, etc.) from new users.
  • Don’t protect questions just because they’re linked to on a high-traffic news site like Reddit or Ars Technica. While there’s certainly some correlation between sudden spikes in popularity and associated non-answers, not all popular questions suffer from this.
  • Do unprotect questions that aren’t currently attracting a lot of attention and don’t have a long history of unproductive answers.

Too many deleted answers will trigger it automatically. Alternately, a mod or a user with 15,000 rep can do so manually.


Protection can be given automatically, if enough low-rep users give deleted answers, or by a mod or 15k user who has the privilege to protect a question.

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