I just voted to reopen this question: EXT4-fs error after Ubuntu 17.04 upgrade. Then I noticed there was an option to protect it.

Why would I want to protect a closed question when I'm the first person to vote to reopen it?

  • Protection is for questions that recive a lot of bad answers or attention, a way to restrict who can post on it. It is nothing to do with your reopen vote or the question being closed but a privilige you got at 15k askubuntu.com/help/privileges/protect-questions
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 22:57
  • @MarkKirby That makes sense for questions that are open. But why would you ever want to protect a closed question? Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 23:08
  • There is no reason really, the protect option just shows up like normal, options are good I guess, meta.stackexchange.com/questions/222173/…
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 23:11
  • 1
    @MarkKirby Since I sincerely believe it should be reopened it might be beneficial protecting it? Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 23:13
  • All it does is restrict answers to above 10 rep users, so unlikly to be any use on an older question. It is more a case of the devs just did not remove the option from closed posts, than it is an intended feture, with some kind of common use.
    – Mark Kirby
    Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 23:15
  • @MarkKirby Thank you. I'll do nothing for the time being and wait and see if some answers appear. Commented Mar 24, 2018 at 23:17

1 Answer 1


Since protection works by preventing users who haven't earned much reputation on the site from posting answers, and new answers cannot be posted on closed questions until they are reopened, it's not very common that it would make sense to protect a closed question.

I can only think of one situation where it really makes sense to protect a closed question: it has many views and it very recently received multiple posts as answers that were not really answers (and that were deleted, or are about to be deleted), and then it was closed, but wrongly, but people quickly realized that its closure was wrong, and now it is about to be reopened. In this case it would make sense--or would at least be acceptable--to protect it even before it has been reopened.

Basically, I think the system allows us to protect closed questions so that we aren't forced to wait until they are reopened to protect them, in rare cases like that.

I presume there are other situations when it makes sense to protect a closed question. I presume also that they are all at least as uncommon as this one. If the ability to protect closed questions is frequently misused, then it would make sense for Stack Exchange developers to remove it and only allow questions to be protected while they are open. If not, then it's not doing any harm; just don't use it except in the infrequently occurring situations where it makes sense to do so.

Note that preventing users from posting answers until they've gained 10 rep through actions on this site--and adding a banner to the question indicating that it is has been protected and by whom--is all protecting a question does. Protecting a question does not change how many reopen votes are required to reopen a question, nor (as you've mentioned) how many close are required to close it again, nor does it affect how any review queues treat the question. Protection also does not affect how many delete votes are needed to delete a question.

  • 1
    Would it be important to note that protecting a question you've nominated for reopening has not effect on it being closed again in the future? ie, some might interpret the dual actions of "reopen & protect" as reducing chances of future closes but that isn't true? Commented Mar 25, 2018 at 14:14
  • @WinEunuuchs2Unix Sure--I agree it makes sense to be more explicit about that, so I've edited in a note about that to the end of this answer. Commented Mar 26, 2018 at 14:24
  • I think this is an example ot the rare situation where it would make sense. meta.askubuntu.com/questions/17804/…
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 21:37
  • @ElderGeek I might be missing something, but it looks to me like that question was open for well over two years, during which time it only ever got two answers that ended up being deleted. So I don't think it makes sense to have protected that question at this time (though, having done so, you may want to see what other people think before unprotecting it). The purpose of protection is to prevent things from being posted as answers that would qualify as NAA, VLQ, spam, or rude/abusive. If the goal is to prevent all new answers, then it should either get a historical lock or remain closed. Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 21:52
  • It may have been a knee-jerk reaction on my part to protect it. I don't think we want to prevent all new answers though. I don't know what's in the pipeline being developed that might be a worthy member of the list, but that doesn't mean there isn't anything...
    – Elder Geek
    Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 22:08

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