It is of course the role of moderator to maintain some order on the site.

Nevertheless, it is useful to all to understand what order means, and what it is for. Understanding to some extent the motivations of moderators in their decisions helps maintaining order. Ideally, the situation is optimal when action by the moderator is no longer required because everyone understand beforehand what is proper and what is not.

For example, I am at loss to understand the decision of Otavio Macedo to protect the question Does the P versus NP conjecture in computer science have any direct relevance to linguistics?.

This protection is intended to prevent noise answers by new users. But there had been no such answer so far, 5 days after the question was asked. Indeed, that is rather a pretty quiet question. So why do it?

I feel personnally concerned as I was the last one to answer, 5 hours before Otavio Macedo's decision (the previous answer dating 2 days earlier), and I cannot help thinking that my contribution motivated him. But I do not see what is wrong with it. I also commented 2 other answers because I did not think they were adequate or complete. Is that bad ? What did I do wrong ?

And even if I have nothing to do with it, why this sudden decision ?

More generally, what should motivate protecting a question, especially 5 days after it has been asked ?

1 Answer 1


The decision to protect the question was motivated exclusively by the fact that we had 6 answers in 5 days, which means that it has been attracting a lot of attention. So, I decided to protect it before noise happens. And rest assured: it has absolutely nothing to do with your answer, which was pretty good, actually. It was pure coincidence, so don't take it personally.

And, by the way, protecting a question should not be understood as punishment or scolding, or anything of that sort. Not even closing questions should be understood that way. They are just tools to keep the site in good shape. This is especially important now, that we are gaining traction.

  • 1
    Thanks for the reply. I did not realize that 6 answers in 5 days could be considered as too much. I did not see it as punishment - indeed it did not hurt me - but I was wondering what was wrong. Actually, answering after 5 days is masochistic because no one cares any longer. Also, I react possibly too easily, because I think that the main problem with SE is that people do things (such as vote) on a whim, without bothering to explain or justify (possibly anonymously - but the site has no such provision), and not always with the proper competence.
    – babou
    Dec 1, 2013 at 13:38
  • Thanks for your comment on my answer. Another thing that bothers me is how often wrong answers get upvoted more than more correct ones. I am surprised no one seems bothered by that on SE scientific sites. The question at hand is a good example, but I have seen it on other SE sites. I refuse to downvote because it is not a matter of opinion. I only comment to warn readers. Comments can be disputed, while votes cannot.
    – babou
    Dec 5, 2013 at 22:00

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