1

When I look at a closed question like this one, I see a protect button at the bottom

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I have never noticed this before and I thought this is a feature only available for moderators. When I hover over the button, it says disallow answers by anonymous or very low rep users. Even I cannot answer closed questions, so what is the point in forbidding it for other users.

Can someone shed some light in this?

  • As for why there is an option to protect a closed question, check out this answer from an SE representative. – C. E. Jun 2 '14 at 7:09
5

The "Protect Questions" privilege is a pretty old one, so I guess you just never noticed it all this while! I don't know why it appears on this closed question, but in general, protecting a question

  • prevents answers from "new users" (< 10 rep)
  • prevents answers from users on other SE sites who only have an association bonus here (i.e. 101 rep but no participation).

Typically it is used to prevent drive-by answers to popular questions or spam on certain "honey pot" questions (because of certain keywords). Incidentally, both those questions were not protected because they appeared to be on-off instances, but we do have a few of them that are. The system automatically protects a question if it has 3 answers by new users that were deleted or if 5 new users post answers in a 24 hour period. In the past, the protection feature was also used pre-emptively when a post hit reddit or hacker news (see here and here, for example) but this is discouraged now (feel free to unprotect them to test your powers!).

Also read:

  • Why do I see the protect button on closed questions only? Can you protect every question? – halirutan Jun 2 '14 at 10:51
  • I have to correct myself: I see the protect button on other questions too. I got the wrong impression and I found the answer in the second link you gave: Privileged users can protect and unprotect any question over a day old. Thanks for providing the information. – halirutan Jun 2 '14 at 12:38
  • Regarding "... but this is discouraged now ..." I think I missed that memo, or simply forgot it. Reference? – Mr.Wizard Jun 3 '14 at 20:48
  • @Mr.Wizard The answers here are what I was referring to. I didn't immediately remember where I read this, otherwise I would've linked to it in my answer :) – rm -rf Jun 3 '14 at 22:08

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