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There seem to be quite a few very old, very good questions that are being needlessly 'protected' for some reason recently. These questions are popular reading, it seems from the number of views, but given that some of these questions are four years old, and they have not been littered with bad answers or silly comments, I do not understand why they are being protected.

Protecting these questions only does one thing, which is prevent them from being answered by new users. This is not doing a service to the site. Far from it, it is doing a disservice to future readers and deterring new members. Can we use the protection privilege more judiciously please?

What can we do about questions that have been needlessly protected?

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    If one scrolls down, down, down one often finds a VLQ answer (sometimes it's VVLQ) recently posted by an unregistered user. – ab2 Jul 2 '16 at 21:03
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    What is the purpose then of protection at all? (What does the FAQ say?) – Mitch Jul 2 '16 at 21:14
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    @Mitch 'Questions should be protected when they are garnering lots of views and newbies are adding "me too!", "thanks!" and possibly even spam non-answers.' That isn't the case with these protections. Most of the questions only have good answers and sensible comments. – Araucaria Jul 2 '16 at 21:23
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    @ab2 But I've already said that this isn't the case with these question - otherwise I would not be posting this question here!!! [The only reason I'm not linking to them directly is that I don't want to personalise the issue by seeming to 'name' the random 'protectors'.] – Araucaria Jul 2 '16 at 21:25
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    I noticed the uptick in protections of old questions too. I haven't counted how many of the newly protected old questions have recent VLQ answers by new users, and how many don't. (I've seen a few awful recent answers to old questions that made me wish I had protection powers.) Without examples of protected good old questions with only sensible answers, I don't see how the discussion can proceed productively. You have a valid question, which a possibly overly protective high-rep user should not mind answering. – ab2 Jul 2 '16 at 23:10
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    You've 20k rep. Please see if there are recently deleted low-quality answers under the said "protected questions". If yes, then protection was justified. Else, I agree that we're being overprotective and it is a problem. – NVZ Jul 2 '16 at 23:25
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    @NVZ Not on the most recent one that made me post this question. But in any case, one poor answer every four to twenty years is not a good reason to protect a question. We don't do that with brand new questions that get one bad answer. It's not really a good reason to protect a question. – Araucaria Jul 3 '16 at 0:06
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    You need to include examples of posts, which you perceive are being protected too hasily. I am willing to put myself on the line, I've protected many a question in the past, it's a necessary evil. But to me, protect is not not synonymous with no to new answers. To me protect means we don't want the quality of this page to be soiled or lowered by trolls and time wasters. I might be wrong in this interpretation. – Mari-Lou A Jul 3 '16 at 8:18
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    @Rathony Of course, things that seem random may not be! I don't believe in knee-jerk flagging to mods, in addition to which, I may be misguided. The reason that many of the recent protections seemed random to me is that I never thought anyone would interpret 'Questions should be protected when they are garnering lots of views and newbies are adding "me too!", "thanks!" and possibly even spam non-answers.' as applying to very old questions which which are no longer garnering lots of views and which have recently attracted one LQA from a newbie. I couldn't see the reason for protecting. – Araucaria Jul 3 '16 at 9:03
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    There are now three votes in favour of closing the question which Rathony cites in his answer. Once that question is closed, then there will be no new answers. Protecting a question, whether it is a week old or five years old does not prevent users from posting answers. Closures do. – Mari-Lou A Jul 3 '16 at 11:15
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    @Araucaria Protection is to stop under 15 rep users from posting answers, to prevent expected crap/VLQ answers. Protection is about bad answers, not about questions. Closing is about bad questions. 15 rep prevents drive-by google searchers, people who have no idea about expected behavior here, from adding crap answers. It's easy for someone to get above fifteen by getting a feel for the site first. – Mitch Jul 3 '16 at 18:02
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    @Araucaria Protection is to stop absolute first time visitors from answering. If you don't like that then you don't like the entire idea of 'protecting' (which may be supportable but is an entirely different discussion). – Mitch Jul 3 '16 at 18:02
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    @Mitch It is 10 reputation points. Just one answer with an upvote, one question with two upvotes, five successful edits. Those who don't want to make such efforts to cross this unbelievably easy threshold don't deserve any right to post an answer to old questions. – user140086 Jul 3 '16 at 18:49
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    Protection is there for a reason. It's to stop LQ answers once a question has been bumped by a LQ answer from a newbie who thinks "I know that." It only prevents answers from new members; it doesn't prevent questions, or comments, or members with more than 10 rep earned on the site (ie 11+ or 111+ rep) from answering. It's generally used like that, reactively; it is occasionally used pre-emptively on an especially provocative question. – Andrew Leach Jul 4 '16 at 10:54
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    Possible duplicate of When is a member expected to protect a question? – Mitch Mar 19 '18 at 13:21
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I think you are referring to this question, "endure" vs "perdure" vs "persist"

The reasons I decided to protect it:

  1. The question reads more like general reference without any research efforts. I think it should be closed. I thought about whether to close-vote it or protect it and I chose the latter as it is a very old question.

  2. There are two answers from one-reputation users and two deleted answers, all of which are sub-standard. (Please read my comments to the two answers). I judged it is enough to trigger protection.

  3. I judged it would be very unlikely for the question to have a meaningful and well-researched answer from a new user as @tchrist's answer seems to be the right answer.

The only benefit of protecting a question is blocking new users with one reputation or 101 reputation points with an association bonus of 100 from answering a question. Other than that, there is nothing beneficial or non-beneficial to this site.

What I don't understand is why you think protecting a question is doing disservice to this community and why it would deter new members.

There are tens of thousands of questions that are neither closed nor protected.

I have rarely seen good answers posted by new users to an old question. Do you think there is a chance of a well-researched and helpful answer being posted to the question?

Also, you need to note that you have every right to unprotect any question that you find unduly protected.

I just found another protected question, What does "five O" mean (and why)? It was protected right after the second low-quality answer was posted. I don't see any problem protecting this question as it is again general reference.

Low-quality questions always lead to low-quality answers.

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    Better protected than closed! There is room for an answer that does a better job of explaining the difference between perdure and endure. "perdure has more “throughness” to it, implying that something has not just endured, but in fact persisted through or despite something else" and "endure implies effort, feeling, resistance against opposition" (different user). I'll look it up for myself, but what I am saying is that an answer that will add to this question is not likely to come from a new user. Of course, nothing is certain. – ab2 Jul 3 '16 at 7:42
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    @ab2 I think you hit the nail with "an answer that will add to this question is not likely to come from a new user." I wish I could see just one answer that adds something valuable to an old question. I really wanted to use "never" instead of "rarely" in my answer. – user140086 Jul 3 '16 at 7:51
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    As to whether the question is general reference -- no, not with such an obscure word as perdure and (I hate saying nuanced) but such a nuanced difference between perdure and endure. – ab2 Jul 3 '16 at 7:56
  • @ab2 Well, I am not even sure whether "to perdure" is used in contemporary English and this Ngram Viewer shows it is not that broadly used. The reason why I said it's general reference is there are no research efforts or example sentence where the OP found the word. It is just "what's the difference?" I think one user agrees with me and voted to close it just now. – user140086 Jul 3 '16 at 8:02
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    I concur with this answer. Adding a VLQ answer to an old question bumps it in the "active" question list, which can encourage other poor answers. Protection stops new members from adding further posts of dubious quality -- and if the potential poster can write good answers, then he can answer another question well in order to gain the 10 rep needed to overcome the protection. – Andrew Leach Jul 3 '16 at 9:55
  • @AndrewLeach But if the question was likely to garner lots of LQAs it would have done so in the original instance. Most new posters are tempted on by a particular Q, so deterring someone who wants to contribute to a particular answer is just deterring them altogether. There are good examples of people protecting Qs (in fact, this used to be one area that worked seemlessly). Basically look at any of Reg, Tchrist or Matt's protections. They're the type of protections that need to be applied, imo. i.e. they are applied early on to stop a run of low quality answers and comments. – Araucaria Jul 3 '16 at 16:37
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    @Araucaria I think you are mistaken. Reg. Tchrist, Matt all protected a question long after it was posted. There are hundreds of them, maybe thousands like this one. english.stackexchange.com/questions/106582/… and english.stackexchange.com/questions/125/…. You can review old questions and see how protection has been working so far. We don't need to care about those spammers and good newbies like you and myself will find a way to answer a question if we are hell-bent on answering them. – user140086 Jul 3 '16 at 16:44

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