As September is coming, site is getting spammed by zero effort homework dumps.

Particularly passionate spammers even drop their garbage at us at highest rate allowed (today examples: 1, 2, 3, 4 - 10K links). And prior examples are not an isolated incident. As pointed in comments, next day after posting this request we've got yet another example separated by 10 minutes: 04:27, 04:38.

Can we please throttle spammers activity by raising rate limit the same way as it was done at Stack Overflow, ie to 1 question in 90 minutes for users with less than 125 reputation?

Side note, given that one of the spammers in above examples also has accounts at Code Review and Code Golf, it probably makes sense to consider similar limits for these sites as well.

Related reading:

  • Questions are now rate-limited to 1 per 90 minutes?

    If you need to ask questions more than every 1.5 hours, you probably aren't putting enough thought, time or both into your questions, which isn't fair to us, as it diminishes the perceived quality of the resource we're working very hard to build and maintain...

    It's a bit unfortunate for those that do ask good questions right off the bat, and bless you if you're in that very small minority - it won't take long for you to establish yourself, perhaps just one question could do it...

  • Open letter to students with homework problems

    ...If your question on Programmers.SE is just a copy paste of homework problem, expect it to be downvoted, closed, and deleted - potentially in quite short order.

  • Programmers.SE and the Summer of Love

    Responding negatively to those folks who copy paste their homework assignments is just a waste of time.

    These people don't care how you react; they're looking for the one guy that will actually do their homework for them (some people will). Consequently, your negative comment will have no effect on the OP, and will only succeed in irritating your fellow community members and alienating new visitors to the site.

    A better response is to downvote the question, and cast a moderator flag with a custom explanation, like this:

    Request for speedy deletion: this question is a copy-paste of a homework assignment, with no effort on the part of the OP to do the assignment himself.

  • meta.stackoverflow.com/questions/256323/…
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 27, 2014 at 19:45
  • 1
    Another example separated by 10 minutes: 04:27, 04:38
    – user40980
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 5:14
  • @MichaelT this example nicely demonstrates how system helps to turn ordinary homework cheater into stinkin' spammer. 10 minutes to ask new question, gimme a break. Simplest of my own questions took about 2 hours; typically I work on the question for a day or two
    – gnat
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 8:12
  • 1
    1, 2, 3, ... 4, 5.
    – user40980
    Commented Sep 13, 2014 at 17:43
  • 1
    Or, at the very least, start at 90 minutes which can be reduced by upvotes on the first question.
    – durron597
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:38
  • @durron597 isn't that already the case with the 125 rep barrier? Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:49
  • @ratchetfreak I don't have a problem with someone posting a question, getting it to +6 (and so have 31 rep) and posting another question 30 minutes later
    – durron597
    Commented Jul 14, 2015 at 20:50

2 Answers 2


For a couple of reasons (discussed in this post at MSO) rate limit for new users asking questions is now set to 40 minutes at Stack Overflow, Programmers and network wide. More precisely,

  1. The new-user ask limit is now one question every 40 minutes, network-wide. That means only 1 question every 40 minutes on Stack Overflow, but also means you'd need to wait 40 minutes after asking a question on, say, Woodworking to ask a related question on Crafting or Home Improvement. ...it also means you'd need to wait 40 minutes after asking a question on Stack Overflow before asking a question on Programmers.

  2. Rolling rate-limits kick in faster. Like, immediately. If your first question is downvoted and you try to ask another one 40 minutes later, you'll be forced to wait at least a day. That's potentially very harsh... But probably also better than penalizing everyone for the behavior of a few. We'd always intended rolling rate-limits to supplant the new-user rate-limits, and this will hopefully allow them to do so...

Though not precisely 90 minutes as requested originally, to me above seems to be good enough to qualify as .


It has been clarified through comments that this would be applied per-site, so someone posting on Seasoned Advice wouldn't interfere with someone else posting on Programmers. With this clarification, I support the proposal, at least on a trial basis.

But if traffic on Programmers increases anywhere near Stack Overflow levels, this would begin to interfere with on-topic use of the site. The 90-minute policy at Stack Overflow combined with the exhaustion of IPv4 addresses has already caused problems for users behind network address translation (NAT). When you have the same IPv4 address as another user of the same Stack Exchange site, it can be tough to squeeze in your question when others are waiting for the same 90-minute window to reopen so that they can squeeze in their own questions. See, for example, the question "Error — 'you can only post once every 90 minutes' but I haven't posted in days" by Bryan on Meta Stack Overflow.

Why might people be behind NAT? Some people access the Internet at a school, office, or public library, which typically has one Internet access subscription with one IP address. Others use an ISP that puts multiple subscribers behind one IPv4 address using carrier-grade NAT. CGNAT is common in countries with smaller IPv4 allocations and on cellular Internet.

Comments to the answer to Bryan's question recommend subscribing to cellular Internet access and asking the question through that connection. This ignores cellular CGNAT as well as the added cost of a subscription to cellular Internet access. I thought not having to pay for ExpertS-exChange was why the Stack Exchange network was created in the first place.

Thus without the ability to ask or answer questions before 125 reputation, a new user would have to farm rep by suggesting edits and have 62 accepted just to be able to use the service as intended.

  • 2
    We get about 30-40 questions per day here. It is unlikely that two people from the same IP would hit this by chance. The problem that gnat tries to address is that we sometimes get a user who will post two or three bad questions in short order, have them get closed, down voted, and deleted in fairly quick succession. This would likely result in a question ban that would last much longer than 90 minutes. The suggestion is to try to make sure users get feedback on one question before asking another, and another.
    – user40980
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 1:01
  • 2
    An example of this today is this post and this one - one right after the other (notice the post IDs). And 1 and 2 for those not having 10k rep. Neither of these questions are on topic. We might have been able to help the user not get two off topic questions closed in rapid succession if there was a rate limit. As it is, he's probably question banned (or very close) here now because he wasn't rate limited.
    – user40980
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 4:24
  • new user can wait for a while before system recovers after prior homework dump posted from the same IP address. There is no need to hurry, this is even more the case with conceptual questions here (compared eg to generally "faster" coding questions at Stack Overflow)
    – gnat
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 7:28
  • @MichaelT So are you saying the 90 minute throttle would be applied per-site and not network-wide? Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 17:21
  • 1
    @tepples correct. It currently exists on some sites. Stack Overflow has such a rate limit in place. Most other sites don't. In this request, we are pointing out that in situations where the OP had less than the 125 (see the rate limit guide - its a key threshold), and two questions were made in short order, most likely both of them get closed (and a worse experience to the user and community than if one was closed and we were able to help the user realize why that was the case).
    – user40980
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 17:26
  • 1
    With this clarification, I have edited my proposal. Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 18:07

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