Ok, since people are doing a fuss about rejecting seemsly invalid edits and other quirks, I'm suggesting this again. Why? Because each time we do a fuss about something or other that could be solved implementing this.


  • No more brain racking each time an anonymous user suggests an edit that adds substantially more information to a question. (Remember: Ubuntu can be boot in a live session, if the user reboots its system the cookie it's lost forever)
  • Will stop some drive-by users from posting crappy questions. (Remember: users seeking for help will found it one way or other, as long as they allow to be helped)
  • Security that when we comment a post, OP will be able to answer back.

(Possible) Cons (or more like, answering another answer):

It is a boon to Ubuntu users that they do not then have to go through a registration process to get help. It's a strong message that the Ubuntu community wants to make getting help and using Ubuntu as easy as possible.

  • Easy, yes. But, for whom? Ubuntu Forums, Freenode #ubuntu, ubuntu-users mailing list, Launchpad, etc. requires registration before using any of those services. Ask Ubuntu as another support channel should do the same.

Furthermore, Ubuntu is supposed to be an operating system for everyone. Even people who aren't Internet-savvy and might have problems even registering an account. Where are they supposed to go for help then?

  • Again, but then we have to deal with all the crap that nobody else takes, drive-by users that just ask an unanswerable question, and stuff. I swear I can register any account on SE with just 5 clicks, at worse. If someone needs more than that, maybe they shouldn't be using a computer, really.

So should we change this policy? Should we require everyone to register before posting questions (and answers)? Well, if the current way is not achieving the goal of helping people, then we should. If not requiring registration is actually making it harder for most newcomers to use the site to get help, then we should change this policy and require registration.

Exactly my point. Apparently the users that upvoted this response to my answer didn't notice this, as my petition had negative score for some reason. If for us answerers (aka the blood and soul of any SE site) is difficult to answer questions since OP get lost in the limbo, we of course should do something... ANYTHING to fix it.

this isn't enough of a problem for me to worry about it. I generally send emails via the form to the SE team, and they just handle the merge. Generally, one of the accounts has an actual login. – jrg♦ Sep 1 at 21:21

Users shouldn't waste time just to fix some account quirk. Humans should only worry about asking/answering questions. If humans has to take time to fix the system, then the system is borked.

But I am concerned at the attitude that we should change the policy because it bothers us. This is a minor annoyance.

It shouldn't annoy us. The system should only facilitate us to help others. If we feel annoyed with the system, then we are failing at AX (Answerer Experience). Answerers shouldn't feel that they have to meddle with the system to offer help. The help page doesn't say that answerers have to deal with this. Ask Ubuntu should protect answerers. They aren't that many, and AU needs them.

  • SE experimented with requiring registration, and SO is currently the only site that does. The one thing SE employees always emphasize in these discussions is that requiring registration did not help at all to improve the quality of new questions. It does reduce the support effort necessary for users that get confused about how unregistered users work here, but users asking crappy questions are not deterred by mandatory registration. Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 18:53
  • @MadScientist ok, that's one, the other 2 pros? Any suggestion to fix them?
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:00
  • 1
    @MadScientist It's also enabled on programmers.
    – Seth
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:07
  • 1
    @MadScientist also, we are the only Ubuntu Support Channel that doesn't require registration... for some reason others channels require registration, ask yourself that.
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 19:10
  • 2
    That is not true. ##ubuntu on Freenode does not require registration.
    – Oli Mod
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 0:23
  • @Oli I remember being annoyed because Xchat joined before I was registered with NickServ before joining... apparently this changed at some point in the time.
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 1:28
  • +1. What a surprise that the net score was 0 after almost 7 years! Commented Jul 20, 2020 at 4:09

4 Answers 4


Due to the amount of spam we were getting the SE team has enabled required registration to ask a question. This does not, however, affect answers.

(It's actually been enabled for a bit now, a month and a half I think?)


None of your points are fixed by requiring registration.

  • No more brain racking each time [an anonymous user suggests an edit][1] that adds substantially more information to a question. (Remember: Ubuntu can be boot in a live session, if the user reboots its system the cookie it's lost forever)

This is not a HUGE problem, it's something that occurs from time to time but it's by no means a show stopper. The same problem applies when people create multiple accounts. User creates an account, then comes back after cookies are gone and logs in with Google instead of Yahoo! (for example). Now they have a new account and submit an edit. It'll likely be rejected, since it's not the same user.

  • Will stop some drive-by users from posting crappy questions. (Remember: users seeking for help will found it one way or other, as long as they allow to be helped)

This is a weak argument. People will frantically create an account just to get their question posted, then what? They drove by. We don't send them emails unless they explicitly request it. So we have the same situation.

  • Security that when we comment a post, OP will be able to answer back.

Again, we don't email or contact users unless they enable email contact for watching threads. This also wouldn't happened unless they were logged in AND visited the site again AND knew what the number in the StackExchange SuperCollider (TM) was.

We're all all inclusive site. That comes with some downsides which you've highlighted. Yes, there is a bit more work for reviews but look at it as an opportunity to rise in the ranks of the site and not as a laborious chore, or massive issue, which must be stomached.

  • 1
    "This is not a HUGE problem" then you reckon that it is a problem. This kind of problem are those that keep pilling up answerers and drive them off. Ask Ubuntu doesn't have the luxury to drive off answerers. I don't know what "email" you are talking about later on (until the end), as I didn't say anything about mails in my request, nor was my objective. BTW, SE enables by default email notifications for all users at registration, and sends a mail if they haven't visited the site for 24 hours.
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 21:17
  • 1
    You're making it to be a problem, I'm saying if it is a problem, it's not a big one at all. Also, while emails are sent, none that indicate an update. By default that checkbox is unchecked which still lends to my original point. i.imgur.com/1Dn0kXB.png Commented Dec 23, 2013 at 23:31
  • 1
    Ok, lets say the world is pink, and I just want this to improve the user experience... or whatever reasons. Lets forget the reasons for a moment, and ask yourself this question: what is the worse that could happen if this get implemented? From my point of view, nothing. I only see plus implementing this feature.
    – Braiam
    Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 0:04
  • We limit the number of posts, both legitimate or otherwise. We have to take the good with the "bad". It's a cornerstone of the site by having a zero barrier of entry for anyone with a question. Commented Dec 24, 2013 at 0:41

Just wanted to chime in as a long term user and "answerer".

The problem you're describing isn't new but I don't think it's a significant problem... And even if it were, restricting input doesn't fix the retention issues.

A barrier to entry just means fewer entries. That we can have anonymous contributors is one of the major Stack Exchange features. It allows anybody to get their feet wet. That's how we get contributions.

We aren't the only venue with that mentality; ##ubuntu does not require registration.

And finally, as somebody who has been an answerer to the tune of 80k here and 135k network-wide, my help here has never been dependant on people voting for my questions... Which is good because I have (literally) hundreds of ±0-scored answers. And registration won't help... I just checked five random answers in that group and only one was an unregistered account but that answer was accepted!

I know a sample of one isn't very representative but I think you're jumping to a conclusion and trying to solve it with a method that is shown not to improve the thing you're worried about and harms another important metric to us.


No no no for compulsory registration. As one person said, the fact that non-registered users of Ubuntu can ask questions encourage them to do so, simply because registering on a site is cumbersome for most, takes time, have a slight learning curve (Really! I only found out what StackExhange was the day of my registration) especially on this site where so much knowledge is shared.

So instead of making registration compulsory before an Ubuntu-user (or anybody for that matter) can ask a question, the site itself should just place more emphasis on encouraging people to register. Offer them a free ebook ('101 Exciting Things you can do with Linux', for example. Somebody, start writing!) and mention free badges (I love my first badge, by the way) that encourage returning visits.

Non-registered users tend to post more 'bad' questions (no tags, not clearly asked, etc.) unlike registered members who put in some effort and several minutes per question. But that can be largely eliminated by adding a colourful 'helpful hint for posting' next to a person's typing block while he is busy typing his question.

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