Very soon we intend to start a discussion about how protection is used on this site going forward. To inform that discussion, I've tried to dig deep and find some data that could help guide this discussion. It got so lengthy that I decided that posting it as its own post was probably the best way to go to get the most eyes on it.

Note that I am not a SEDE wizard. I have tried to verify the results for all the SEDE queries as best as I can, but it is entirely possible that somethings have slipped through. I'd appreciate any extra eyes on them at all and any suggestions for corrections or improvements. If you think additional queries would be helpful, drop a comment and I'll do my best to add them.

With that out of the way, here's more than you ever wanted to know about spam and protection on RPG.se. I hope it will be helpful.

Feel free to use the answers to point out anything interesting or to dig in deeper.

What is a protected question?

Luckily there is a Meta.SE post that goes into great detail.

To quote the essential part from it though:

all users must have earned 10 or more reputation on that specific site to answer a protected question.

The other important thing to note is when questions are automatically protected by the community user:

  1. The number of deleted answers from users with <10 rep, plus the number of answers with helpful spam flags, is at least 3. (Note that spam answers from new users are counted twice.)
    • Generally, this means that three deleted answers from new users will cause auto-protection, but if at least one of those answers is spam, only two answers will trigger it.
  2. Five answers from users with <10 rep were posted in the last 24 hours. [...]

The system will never unprotect a question automatically, even if the deleted answers are later undeleted or the spam flags are cleared.


Over the history of the site (~10 years) we have had 495 questions with at least one answer with a spam flag on it and 637 questions that have been marked as spam. That averages out to 113 posts that attract spam a year and 9 posts a month.1

We don't really have any tools to prevent question spam, so if we just look at the answer spam (which we at least have some tools to prevent) the average is about 4 maybe-preventable spam posts a month.

Looking at 2019, we had 127 questions with spam answers and 43 spam questions for an average of 14 spam posts per month (11 spam answers per month). (2020 is so far tracking a bit lower with about 11 total spam posts/month)

Spam protection

Out of all these questions that have received spam2 only 212 have ever been protected (so 58% of posts which receive spam are never protected).

Speaking of protection, over the history of the site we have had 943 questions ever be protected (out of ~40,300 currently undeleted questions, a bit over 2%). Given the previous data, this would mean that only 212/943 = 22% of protection activity involves spam.

Of all the protected questions, 149 questions, (15%) ever got unprotected (not counting the recent mass-unprotection event which will likely be reversed).3


~50% of all non-automatic protections on this site have been carried out by 1 user and the top 3 users combined make up 71% (the third user hasn't even been active on the site for years).

136 questions have been automatically protected in the past (14% of all protections). Of those, 25 posts have ever been unprotected.

Of all the 136 automatically protected questions, 79 (or 58%) had at least one spam answer on them.

Out of the 943 questions that have ever been protected, 834 have at least 1 deleted answer (88%). Out of all the questions that got unprotected, 130 have at least 1 deleted answer. 31 of the questions that got unprotected had at least one spam answer on them.

Since Feb. 28, 2019 (which is when the HNQ status started being tracked), 51 questions have hit HNQ and also been protected at some point. This represents ~2% of the 3052 HNQs we’ve had over that same period of time. 12 of these protections were done automatically by the community user.

1 - These numbers include 2018 where we went through an enormous spam wave, so this number is actually lower if we remove that outlier. If we exclude 2018 from our averaging we’d get 153 spam questions and 381 spam questions over 9 years, so 60 posts a year and 5 a month.

2 - I’m not counting spam questions here because spam questions get deleted entirely, and are never protected.

3 - Per Should we reprotect the 700 or so questions that were unprotected in the last few weeks?. For the full list of questions that were unprotected see this Google doc.

  • 4
    \$\begingroup\$ Having been called out as the person responsible for almost half of all protections, I guess I might as well take a moment to explain myself (I won't apologize, as I don't feel I've done anything to justify it). My high numbers in this area are probably a combination of a couple different factors. 1) I'm highly active on the site in terms of non-mod moderation activity, to the point of having the most reviews in all but 1 or 2 of the review queues. A lot of these other questions might well have been protected by the mods or other users anyway, I just happened to get to them first. (1/3) \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ 2) My own criteria for protecting questions (at least the past few years, see final point) is similar to the Community criteria, merely tighter. Where Community looks for 3 deleted answers from low-rep users, with spam counting double, my own threshold is essentially 2 deleted answers from low-rep users, with spam counting double (that is, I immediately protect a question once it gets a spam answer; before I got the protect privilege I saw the spellcaster spammers hit several questions repeatedly). It's possible that Community would have ended up protecting many of them anyway. (2/3) \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ 3) When I first got the privilege to protect I will freely admit I was a little overzealous with it, sometimes preemptively protecting questions that looked like they had the spellcaster spammers' favorite keywords (the [magic] and [spellcaster] tags in particular). However, SSD had a talk with me about that shortly after he got his diamond and I cut back on the protection. I had assumed that at that time he had also gone and unprotected a lot of the ones that didn't really need it, but I don't know for sure. (3/3) \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 19:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage To be clear, I hope you don't feel negatively called out in that respect, because it was not at all my intent. I don't think you've done anything wrong (and I've edited my answer to hopefully make that clearer). I'm very thankful you stopped by to talk about your criteria and some of the history there though! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 19:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Haha, no, it's fine. When I saw the comment that one user represented almost half of the protections I was like, "Who could that be? Wait, that's not me is it... +clicks SEDE link+ Yup, it's me." Neither you nor Catija put a particularly negative cast on it, beyond a very reasonable, "This very short list of people is responsible for the vast majority of protection, so maybe we should be asking them what criteria they used?" \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Jul 15, 2020 at 20:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ "We don't really have any tools to prevent question spam" - sorry to state the obvious but isn't the primary defense mechanism against spam flags? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 9:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ There's a lot of talk of repeat spam, could you get stats of how many deleted answers per protected question? I'm guessing most will have +5, but it would be good to see. It would also be great to see how many times each question has been re-protected. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 9:40
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    \$\begingroup\$ @ObliviousSage I think the thing that's making me happiest out of this debacle (the mass-unprotection debacle, that is) is to have on meta someone like you laying out there some experience-based thoughts on what should be protected or not. My fond hope for this summer/fall is that the site has a long-overdue conversation--not that I realized its necessity before now--about (un)protection. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60 Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 17:34
  • \$\begingroup\$ @user-63873687 the point there is that we don't have any specific tools we can use to prevent spam questions before they are posted - unlike spam answers, which we can prevent by protecting questions. (SE has higher-level spam prevention mechanisms which catch a lot of spam, both question and answer, before they are posted, but they're not within the scope of our power to manage, and we're only concerning ourselves with the spam that they let through.) \$\endgroup\$
    – Carcer
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 18:32
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user-63873687 There might be some way to dig that information out of the system with a SEDE query. If by "+5" you mean "5 or more deleted answers per protected question" then that's definitely not the case. The Community user (who represents automated actions by the site itself) automatically protects a question once it has 3 deleted answers from low-rep users, and it treats an answer deleted as spam as 2 such answers. The max possible deleted answers (from low-rep users) a protected question can have is 3 (unless someone goes and unprotects it), and in most cases it will be 1-2. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 19:20
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user-63873687 Using that data then (small ±1 errors may have happened): 242/834 (29.0%) have one deleted answer. 277/834 (33.2%) have two deleted answers. 167/834 (20.0%) have three deleted answers. 84/834 (10.1%) have four deleted answers. 35/834 (4.2%) have five deleted answers. 15/834 (1.8%) have six deleted answers. 13/834 (1.6%) have seven or more deleted answers. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 Nice! It would be ideal if you could limit it to only deleted answers from low-rep users, but since that's apparently not an option this query will suffice. It's interesting to note that on most of the questions with a lot of deleted answers, the majority of the deleted answers come from non-low-rep (>100) users, and were deleted due to violating various policies (back up subjective answers with experience, don't advocate illegal activity or link to sites that engage in it, etc.), rather than anything that would get them auto-protected. \$\endgroup\$
    – Oblivious Sage Mod
    Commented Jul 18, 2020 at 19:33
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae I'm fairly certain one of the queries in this post does show the age of the protected question (or at least how long it has been protected). If not both those seem like they would be something I'd be able to write a query for. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 6:38
  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae As far as I understand it, you'd have to manually look at each deleted answer and check the user's current reputation (there's no way to see past reputation and SEDE doesn't keep user-information on deleted answers so we can't use it either) \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 11:59
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Medix2 this is my understanding as well. We can't get any info on the users of deleted answers, including rep (as you said). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 12:02

3 Answers 3


Spam prevention doesn't seem to be the main use for protection (volume-wise)

Given the previous data, this would mean that only 212/943 = 22% of protection activity involves spam.

58% of posts which receive spam are never protected

This tells me that spam has been not the main use of protection for us in the past. In fact, it seems like a very minor or at least inconsistent use for it. Since we've only ever had 79 automatically protected questions with spam on it, this also tells me that this 58% of unprotected spam doesn't seem to be attracting a huge volume of repeat offenders. (If there was more than one deleted spam post, it would get automatically protected).

It is possible that we are just very good at picking out which spam posts will draw more spam and that could account for some of the low usage (and maybe even some of the 31 questions that got unprotected, even with spam on it).

This doesn't mean that we shouldn't protect spammy posts of course, but we should be aware that at our current very low usage of protection for spam, we still only have around 4 spammy answers a month. A very manageable amount.

Going forward in our discussions, I think this means that I would recommend us not putting major focus on increasing our coverage of spam questions since our current usage of this seems to be sufficient at keeping spam low.

Unprotecting questions is rare (but it shouldn't be)

To quote doppelgreener's meta answer here,

As BESW summed up in chat, questions tend to get protected for one of three reasons: (1) a question hits HNQ and attracts nonsense, (2) a question is controversial and needs a bit of brakes applied, and (3) a spam algorithm has identified that question as a target via keywords.

Assuming this is true (and both BESW and doppelgreener are certainly experienced enough users to have developed a feel for this), somewhere around 2/3 of our main uses of protection are explicitly temporary. HNQ only lasts 72 hours maximum and thus protection for this reason need not exceed that amount of time. Controversial questions are often the same, when the question becomes less active, the need for protection fades quickly away since the volume of posts slows to a trickle or stops completely.


Of all the protected questions, 149 questions, (15%) ever got unprotected

Ideally this number should be higher following from the argument above. But that's not really entirely our fault. There is no timed or conditional modes for protection; it stays until it is sought out and removed by a user with enough rep to do so. Without any kind of notification or prompting to unprotect, it is unsurprising that it rarely gets done. Especially since the users that have the rep to do so are entirely unaffected by the protection.

We do need to remember that protection completely shuts out the potential for a new user to answer that question unless they receive an upvote somewhere else on the site first. We should be reducing the times this tool is used unnecessarily to reduce the barriers for new users.

Going forward, given the low rate of unprotection I think we should make a major point to try to figure out as a site how we can minimize questions getting and staying protected when they do not need to be.

Protections are carried out by only a handful of users

This whole discussion was kicked off by one user who unprotected 99% of our questions. However, it should be noted that ~ 50% of those protections were carried out by a single user as well.

~50% of all non-automatic protections on this site have been carried out by 1 user.

To be clear, there's nothing wrong with that user doing the protections. And there is a clear difference between the two cases because this user did these protections over the course of years as opposed to the unprotections which were done over the course of a couple hours.

But I bring it up because I think it shows how little transparency there is around this whole mechanic. The vast majority of users never even interact with it at all (except an unknowable number of 1-rep users and spammers who get blocked from answering).

I think this means that most of the community has not interacted with this tool and also likely doesn't have a full understanding how and when and when not to use. Setting up some community guidelines to further understand and align the community's use of this tool would therefore be beneficial.

  • 3
    \$\begingroup\$ Re protection and HNQ: nowadays we have the ability to take questions off HNQ, whilst before our only means of combating HNQ nonsense on a broader scale than whack-a-mole was to close the question, protect it, or pray for deliverance. While I had the diamond I used the HNQ boot several times. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 19:30
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener very good point! Also the HNQ algorithm was tweaked a couple times, the last time changing it fairly significantly. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener How many of the protected questions were to mitigate the previous "HNQ nonsense"? Does HNQ still operate in the same way that produced the problematic behavior? \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:30
  • \$\begingroup\$ @GcL unfortunately this is likely going to be in the realm of figuring as opposed to data since HNQ status wasn't tracked until last Feb. That being said, I'd be interested to hear dopppelgreener's estimation (if she has one). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:36
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GcL HNQ got a major overhaul in March 2019. All the changes were massive, but the biggest for us were questions never show up on the HNQ for longer than 72 hours, and we can see on a question page itself when it is HNQ, and we can remove it from HNQ. Beforehand HNQ had some nasty self-perpetuating behaviour (hotness begets hotness) which could leave questions on the HNQ for over a week and sometimes sites like ours would just have to close a question temporarily to force it to cool off, and nowadays that never has to happen. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener That's useful to know for this thread. Do you have an estimate of the proportion of protections you put on questions that were a result of that algorithm's behavior? \$\endgroup\$
    – GcL
    Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:40
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @GcL I don't at all. But I know it meant a lot of circumstances I'd have to protect a question to mitigate ongoing damage, I just pulled it from HNQ instead. Sometimes for sensitive or controversial questions, I'd pull that almost as soon as it hit HNQ, just because I wanted to preclude the mess and bad takes HNQ would bring. Pretty sure I barely had to use protection on HNQ at all after these changes. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 20:42
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    \$\begingroup\$ @GcL As for HNQ prior to the changes... we'd protect once we started seeing bad stuff, played whack-a-mole constantly on bad answers and noisy comments, and wait until everyone from other sites got tired. That could last for a week or more, and protection was basically the first step we used when we saw trouble brewing. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2020 at 21:08

We have to unprotect things intelligently

Out of the ~700 recently unprotected questions, 5 have gotten answers in just 21 days. All 5 of those answers have since been deleted and/or are at -1 or lower. This works out very roughly to around 2 Very Low Quality (VLQ) answers per week for this group of posts. All of these posts would have been prevented by protection.

Not including those 5, 54 questions have ever gotten an answer after being unprotected. This works out — again very roughly — to 0.1 answer per week for all of these. And I have no idea of the quality of these answers, (some of them could be quite good) or if protection would have even prevented them.

Even if we assume all of the 54 answers are junk though, the rate at which VLQ answers have come in from the recently unprotected question is magnitudes higher.

This tells me that selective unprotection, unsurprisingly, is the smart way to go about things here. Mass unprotection without consideration of post history will lead to more junk answers and more moderation needed by the community.

  • \$\begingroup\$ For reference, out of the 5 questions that received answers the number of deleted answers by low rep users per timeframe each of them had beforehand (in brackets is the total number of deleted answers) is: 1 (2 total) in 5 years, 1 (2 total) in 3 years, 3 (3 total) in 3 years, 0 (0 total) in 3 years, 2 (2 total) in 6 years. I think we should be mindful of what metrics we are using to make smart decisions. 0.7% of the unprotected questions saw answers in 21 days. 2 out of 5 is a big portion, 2 out of 700 not so much. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 1:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ The sample sizes are too small to make a confident decision. A third of all previously unprotected questions have received an answer after protection. At 2 per week that would take 2 and a quarter years for the 700 questions to reach the same proportion, even if we assume the last 2 weeks is representative of the next 117 weeks. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 1:51
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae To me the amount of bad posts we've had from formerly protected question means that the ones that have gotten junk answers so far were correct in being protected and shouldn't have been unprotected. It doesn't mean that were all questions should have remained protected (something I've explicitly said is not true). \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:07
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae That makes sense since the previous answers had time to accumulate answers over 10 years the fact that they could approach the same amount in 1/5 of that time seems to be supportive of what I'm saying: we should be careful what we protect and unprotect. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:08
  • \$\begingroup\$ there are a lot of statistical problems in that statement that need to be unpacked. Firstly, the oldest protected answer maybe 10 years old, but to say that those answers happened over 10 years is very misleading. What's more, 10 years ago the number of users on the site was much lower, so we SHOULD expect there to be more answers on the site now. We haven't done the analysis. For all we know the 54 answers happened 10 years ago, or within this year. For all we know 53 of those questions were protected this year. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:43
  • \$\begingroup\$ We should also consider if "answers" are even a good metric. For example, none of the new questions received spam answers, 3 were valid answers, and 1 was even made by a user with over 100 rep. Does this make it a good metric? It seems very misleading. Should a question that generates 5 adverts for cheap viagra from 1 rep accounts be put in the same bucket as a question that generates 5 excellent and well written replies from members with +100k rep and 5 years on the site each? I'm exaggerating, but surely you see the issue. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Another issue is trying to compare a sample size of 21 days to a sample of nearly 4000 days. The first sample size is just way too small. In the past around 150 questions had been unprotected, and a third of them received answers of unknown quality within an unknown time period. Now we have 700 questions unprotected, and in 21 days 5 of them have received answers with unknown quality. Any comparison that doesn't involve further analysis doesn't yelid anything beneficial, at the very least we should know about the length of time and quality - in 21 days how many answers receive an answer? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae your critiques about post age and sample size are completely valid. I do say it is only a rough analysis. I stand by that it's good enough to support the conclusion I drew from it though. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ It's also worth considering if, besides the question already being protected, it was possible to predict if the question would receive an answer when unprotected. There are over 100 unprotected questions with 0 deleted answers - how is the 1 that received an answer different? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ @gszavae certainly impossible to empirically predict I think, but understanding that is partially why I dug up all this data. Figuring out the best way to handle this is why we opened the other post to try to shake the tree of community wisdom and experience and see if we can come up with a good solution to get us as close as possible. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:56
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm not so sure about that, but would be interested in reading a methodology. If it could be proven accurate then we have a great opportunity to put it into practice, and we have a hundred unprotected questions with 0 deleted answers to test it on! \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 5:06
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    \$\begingroup\$ Note that deleted answers weren't the only thing protection was applied in response to. It's also used when we're seeing lots of low-quality answers, which tends to come up in proximity to HNQ. Protection or removing from HNQ are both options for responding to that. In SEDE this won't necessarily show up as negatively scored answers because a question being HNQ tends to introduce lots of ambient upvotes, including for low quality answers. It might show up as many answers with disproportionately low total score—a long tail basically. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 16:07
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    \$\begingroup\$ @doppelgreener definitely true. I chose deleted/downvoted because it was the easiest metric to grab that I could roughly link to VLQ answers. Anything else is impossible to get data on without introducing significant subjective elements. So that is why I focused in on that. Hopefully, we could assume that most of these were unprotected after they had already left HNQ as well, so that becomes less of a variable as far as voting goes (no way to check that either though for the old posts and only roughly for the new), but that still leaves VLQ posts on the HNQ questions before protection. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 16:12
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical I'm sorry that was bad form! VLQ= Very Low Quality. It's defined in the system (you can flag a post as VLQ) as "no amount of editing can salvage the post" as an example. Does that help clear things up? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 21:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Pyrotechnical hah! completely understandable and also it was a good point anyways since I shouldn't ever assume everyone will know what it means. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 24, 2020 at 21:40

I just wanted to extract a few replies from the comments above:

From Medix2's comment on the number of deleted answers per protected question (note: this is all-time, not just the 700 recently unprotected questions)

  • 11% had no deleted answers
  • 26% had 1 deleted answer
  • 29% had 2 deleted answers
  • 18% had 3 deleted answers
  • 9% had 4 deleted answers
  • 4% had 5 deleted answers
  • 1% had 6 or more deleted answers

From my comment on how old protected questions were (note: this is only for the 700 recently unprotected questions):

  • 5% had been protected less than 6 months ago
  • 9% had been protected 6 months to a year ago
  • 28% had been protected 1-2 years ago
  • 30% had been protected 2-3 years ago
  • 12% had been protected 3-4 years ago
  • 18% had been protected 4+ years ago

In the last 21 days, 5 recently unprotected questions (as calculated by Rubiksmoose) have received answers. The number of deleted answers from low-rep users that the question had before being unprotected is listed below, along with the total number of deleted answers, and the age of the question:

  • 1 deleted answer from a low rep user, 2 total deleted answers in 5 years
  • 1 deleted answer from a low rep user, 2 total deleted answers in 3 years
  • 3 deleted answers from low rep users, 3 total deleted answers in 3 years*
  • 0 deleted answers from low rep users, 0 total deleted answers in 3 years
  • 2 deleted answers from low rep users, 2 total deleted answers in 6 years

*Note: The user who answered this question has over 100 rep, so protection would not have made a difference in this case.

Also note that so far none of the answers on the 5 unprotected questions that have received answers in the last 21 days, have been spam (2 were questions-in-answers, 3 were valid answers - it's worth pointing out that one is quite a lengthy and thought out answer).

Update: It has now been 4 weeks since the unprotection. 9 questions have been answered (including 3 by users with >10 rep):

  • Q: recent answerer had >400 rep (non-answer), 1 deleted answer from a low rep user, 1 previously deleted answer (by a spambot) in 2 years
  • Q: recent answerer had 1 rep (low-quality answer), 2 previously deleted answers (deleted account low quality answer and by a +20k rep user) in 5 years
  • Q: recent answerer had 1 rep (legitimate answer), 3 previously deleted answers (deleted account comment-in-answer, 1 rep low-quality answer, +100k rep user) in 5 years
  • Q: recent answerer had >3k rep (legitimate answer), 2 deleted answers (both low quality answers, 1 rep user and deleted user) in 5 years
  • Q: recent answerer had 1 rep (comment/question in answer), 2 previously deleted answers (comment in answer by 1 rep user, +30k rep user) in 3 years
  • Q: recent answerer had 1 rep (low quality answer), 2 deleted answers (both 1 rep questions-in-answers) in 3 years
  • Q: recent answerer had >100 rep (legitimate answer), 3 deleted answers (1 deleted account, 2x 1 rep accounts, 2x low quality answers and 1 mistake that as deleted) in 3 years
  • Q: recent answerer had 1 rep (legitimate answer), no deleted answers in 3 years
  • Q: recent answerer had 1 rep (low-quality answer), 2 deleted answers (low-quality answer by deleted user, spam by 1 rep user) in 6 years

Total: 6/9 new answers were made by 1 rep users (that would have been prevented by protection). 0/6 of these were spam, 1/6 was a question in answers, 3/6 were low-quality answers, 2/3 were legitimate answers.

These numbers are so low that it's hard to gauge the effects. Approximately 0.9% of unprotected questions received an answer that they otherwise would not have. None of the questions received any spam (0% spam rate), all answers appear to have been made by legitimate, real users, trying to answer the question.

  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ If possible, can you add links to the specific questions for your last section? I think they make valuable examples for the discussion. \$\endgroup\$
    – linksassin Mod
    Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 3:45
  • \$\begingroup\$ @linksassin I added a link to the query from Rubiksmoose \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 22, 2020 at 4:09
  • \$\begingroup\$ "Total: 6/9 new answers were made by 1 rep users (that would have been prevented by protection). 0/6 of these were spam, 1/6 was a question in answers, 3/6 were low-quality answers, 2/3 were legitimate answers." should the last number by 2/6 ? \$\endgroup\$
    – Tommi
    Commented Oct 9, 2020 at 9:52

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