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The moderators would like to request that the SE team enable the daily question rate limit for our site. A common pattern seems to be that users, in their eagerness to learn English (which is a good thing!) will post lots of questions back-to-back, and exceed the rate limit. Enabling the rate limit automatically will have several benefits:

  1. If you know you only have 6 questions per day, you're likely to think a little bit more before you post them. Did I really try hard enough to figure this out on my own? Maybe I can find the answer to this one somewhere else, and save my questions for something else.
  2. If the system takes care of this automatically, we won't have to direct users to meta posts asking them to slow down and consider what they're doing, or mod message them. Receiving a mod message for trying to ask questions could make a user feel bad; hitting an automatic system limit is a far less upsetting experience. I didn't know this was a rule; if you're not supposed to post this many questions, why did the site let me?
  3. It prevents the problem before it happens. One of the reasons for having the rate limit (I believe) was so that one user's questions couldn't take over the majority of the New Questions page, forcing other users' questions to page 2 and lower visibility. A comment or mod message after the fact asks a user not to repeat the behavior, but doesn't do anything about the over-limit questions that have already been asked. You're playing catch-up to the problem each time it occurs.

In short, since we have noticed a recurring pattern on ELL of the rate limit being exceeded, we would appreciate it if it could be enabled on our site. It would stop the problem before it occurs and improve user experience as a whole.


For our users' information, the rate limit is described in this MSO post:

A user may ask only...

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    Wendi, I agree, and if I were you I asked to SE if they move ELL to the next phase, with our own personalized template. – user114 Aug 4 '13 at 1:19
  • Fersher. And what's sauce for the goose ... I'll do my best to arrest our evident slide into Greshamity by producing fewer answers of better quality. – StoneyB on hiatus Aug 4 '13 at 3:19
  • @StoneyB: Keeping the quality of our answers up is an admirable goal, but I bristle at the thought of you deliberately producing fewer answers. To Wendi: These "limits" seem quite reasonable as a whole, and I suspect most users won't even realize when they've been implemented. – J.R. Aug 4 '13 at 10:06
  • @J.R. I quite agree; these limits are deliberately above the range that most users should need/want to ask questions. But it will quite handily take care of the situation in the cases where they do :) – WendiKidd Aug 4 '13 at 13:35
  • I did not see this post before re-editing my meta post this morning. When I had suggested limiting the number of questions an OP could post I got a right ticking off :) – Mari-Lou A Aug 13 '13 at 7:40
  • daily question rate limit ? I make only several upVotes a day, because making too many votes may make web server busy, I am afraid. ^_^. – kitty Jan 27 '15 at 17:15
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    Do we need to reconsider this? – M.A.R. Jun 30 '16 at 17:37
  • @TIPS Could you kindly post an answer explaining your reasoning? Perhaps we do need to reconsider it, but without knowing what you're thinking of, it's hard to tell :) – WendiKidd Jul 4 '16 at 15:21
  • Nah @Wendi, I was just throwing an idea. Sometimes someone goes and posts a lot of questions and produces lotsa work, but on second thought, it might be rarer than what would take for a systematic response. I'm not really watching ELL as much as I used to. – M.A.R. Jul 4 '16 at 18:48
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First off, this can be a problem - after all, that's why the rate-limits exist. That said, it's not severe enough here to warrant imposing these limits at this time. See "Background: heavy question-asking activity on English Language Learners" below.

On younger sites, it's fairly common for there to be a few instances of users who ask a high volume of questions. This can actually be helpful, as it provides a regular opportunity for answers. It becomes a problem when they fail to learn over time, when they post questions without taking enough time to make them good - this can include prior research, sticking around to respond to feedback, and accepting an answer when one is provided that solves the problem. Essentially, when someone treats the site as a crutch rather than as a learning resource.

Handling "help vampires"

In cases where an excessive volume of mediocre questions is a problem, moderators should provide a private warning, advising the asker to slow down a bit and put additional effort into the questions they're asking. If this advice is ignored, and the questions being asked start to generate flags, down-votes, complaints and general ill-will from the community, then it is appropriate for the asker to be suspended for a short time: this is the essence of the "No effort to learn and improve over time" rationale for suspensions.

If this doesn't work, or if the number of people abusing the site becomes too great for the moderators to handle effectively, then they should get in touch with one of us at SE - we'll do what we can to help them out with regard to the specific user or users causing problems. We may revisit the matter of rate-limits in the future as it becomes necessary.

Background: heavy question-asking activity on English Language Learners

As J.R. notes, most users wouldn't even notice this. Here's a list of the users who've exceeded 6 questions per day here during the past 90 days, along with the number of days on which they've done this and the most questions they've ever posted in a single day:

User       DistinctDays MostQuestionsAskedPerDay 
---------- ------------ ------------------------ 
Graduate   3            14                       
Nate       2            7                        
william007 1            10                       
T2E        1            8                        

Note that for new users these limits are enforced by IP address as well as by account (otherwise it'd be trivial to work around them). That would've blocked at least one user from posting here in the past (not permanently, just until the day rolled over) and could potentially affect more folks from heavily NATted companies or regions as this site grows.

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  • Shog, the table in your answer breaks the layout using Chrome for Android and the mobile version of this site, at least reading this page with a Samsung S3. – user114 Aug 5 '13 at 14:46
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    I'd have to say that's a Chrome bug; it really shouldn't be wrapping the text. – Shog9 Aug 5 '13 at 15:01
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    Okay, the moderators have reconvened and we would like to try enabling the rate limit despite the possible IP address concern. If this becomes a serious issue in the future we can always revisit the issue on meta, but we'd like to give this a try if that's all right with you :) – WendiKidd Aug 7 '13 at 20:34

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