This question was marked as a network question: The Golden Bird and The Ocean

I saw it, I wanted to answer it. I'd like to think I have a great answer to the question. I created an account, but I can't answer it because it's protected? Doesn't that violate the point of a network question?

  • $\begingroup$ Actually you should be able to answer it. Minimum rep to answer a locked question is 10, you have rep of 101. Am I misunderstanding the question...? $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 16:31
  • $\begingroup$ In order to answer a protected question, you need to have earned at least 10 reputation, not counting the base 1 point or the association bonus. $\endgroup$
    – user88
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 17:21
  • $\begingroup$ This has been done lately because of the very low quality answers which Puzzling has been attracting from (especially featured) popular questions. $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ @AE The 100 bonus doesn't count the network bonus. $\endgroup$
    – Kevin
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 19:00
  • $\begingroup$ That explains it. $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ @AE I didn't know that either actually... $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 19:10
  • $\begingroup$ @d'alar'cop So, rather than actually moderate the "best" puzzles, the "best" puzzles are only available to "elite" veterans. $\endgroup$
    – McKay
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 20:05
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @McKay that's a good point... and a question for the mods. to me (as someone who is ignorant) it seems lazy to protect rather than keep an eye until it cools down $\endgroup$
    – d'alar'cop
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 20:17
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @McKay: we're having a problem (the site as a whole is) which is that the puzzles which are coming up as 'hottest' are not the best puzzles, they're the most open-ended puzzles - the ones which attract the most answers most quickly. Due to the way the hotness formula works. $\endgroup$
    – A E
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 20:36
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ @AE So what am I supposed to do if I want to answer the question? Find another puzzle that doesn't already have an answer (that I think is correct) that is actually solvable (by me)? Non-trivial task. $\endgroup$
    – McKay
    Commented Nov 17, 2014 at 20:40
  • $\begingroup$ @McKay Unfortunately, as noted below, this is ultimately the route you may have to go through. This is designed to deter low-quality answers. While you specifically probably weren't going to give a low-quality answer, we... do tend to attract them like flies. $\endgroup$
    – user20
    Commented Nov 18, 2014 at 8:42
  • $\begingroup$ It's an old post but i think that protecting popular questions repulses new users, which is sad. Low quality answers are not a huge problem, we can always flag them and delete them, we don't have a lot of review here. $\endgroup$
    – Fabich
    Commented Apr 27, 2016 at 8:42

1 Answer 1


If a question is getting a bunch of answers that are getting flagged as spam or as low-quality, two things can happen:

  • The question can be protected by a user with sufficient reputation or a moderator, preventing answers from accounts with 10 rep or less.

  • The system automatically protects the question.

So popular questions are not getting protected to "protect elite veterans", rather it is to protect the question itself from a barrage of low-quality answers. If users have sufficient reputation on this site to bypass that lock (which is a measley 10 rep, you can literally get 10 rep by either getting 1 upvote on an answer or getting 2 upvotes on a question), this means we TRUST those users to provide high-quality answers.

So to answer your question, no, it does not violate the concept of a "network" question.

An additional note. It's important to understand that questions are only protected ONCE it notices a bunch of low quality answers. If every answer to a popular question fits the standards we've set up, with no indication of low quality, no flags get made on any answers, so the question stays protection-free.

  • $\begingroup$ This is correct: The purpose of protecting a question is avoiding low-quality answers, which is more important than the right of somebody not normally using a Stack Exchange site to answer. It is not different from the case a question receives attention because a link posted in some social networks. $\endgroup$
    – apaderno
    Commented Nov 19, 2014 at 10:35
  • $\begingroup$ All, I'm saying is that it discourages me from using the site. The point of a network question is to bring people into the site, but if there's nothing they can do when they get here, less good. $\endgroup$
    – McKay
    Commented Nov 24, 2014 at 14:05

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