I'm just wondering why unregistered users are allowed to ask questions? And then I keep on wondering and think: Why are unregistered users allowed to answer questions?

IMHO it might be more adequate to have only registered users ask questions. The reasoning behind this is that we would have less fire-and-forget Q & As popping up and the quality of the questions might benefit from having to register.

I do however agree that having unregistered users answering questions could be a bit more beneficial for the community.

Similar question have been asked before in META:

Question: Encouraging users to create an account (and keep it)

I know SO's policy is "you don't have to register to ask questions," but there are so many new members and so many hit-and-runs... The majority of the questions I see now are coming from new users (i.e., it's their first question).


I have decided this policy no longer makes sense, given a question volume of 4k-5k questions per day.

So from this point on, registration is required to ask questions (but not to answer).
answered Sep 23 '11 at 8:29 Jeff Atwood ♦

Question: Can unregistered users be blocked from answering on some sites?

A few years ago, a policy change was made so that unregistered users could no longer post questions, only answers. The reasoning given by Jeff Atwood for not requiring registration across the board makes sense...


It's possible, or likely, that the benefits of getting people registered and answering with their "golden nuggets" and then more activity, outweighs the low risk of any potential loss of a "golden nugget" because they only want to post anonymously.

Question: Can we prevent some of the low-quality questions from entering our system?

Stack Overflow has been wildly successful. And maybe in some ways too successful.

I am concerned that Stack Overflow is being inundated by a stream of low-quality questions from users who are accidentally poisoning our well -- by turning off and turning away the core answerers who do all the real work in the system.

In theory there is "no such thing as a stupid question" but in practice, there are: •users who can't be bothered to form sentences •users who don't do the most basic kinds of research themselves •users who barely even explain what it is they are trying to do ...


I think there are several things you can do, and they should all be taken as parts of a whole: They should be implemented together for full effect...

What is the stance here on DBA.SE? Should we only allow questions from registered users to uphold the quality of DBA.SE or should we leave it as it is?

My question is open for discussion.

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    What problem are you trying to solve? Are you saying that DBA.SE "is being inundated by a stream of low-quality questions"? – mustaccio Apr 12 '17 at 16:05
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    No. I would like to improve the procedure of asking questions before it gets really bad. I know you should "never change a running system", but there it also the idea of "preventing problems before they happen". A kind of pro-active approach. – John aka hot2use Apr 13 '17 at 5:33
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    There's a lot of assumptions here. Is there evidence that the quality of posts from unregistered users is qualatitively lower than that of users obliged to register? – Martin Smith Apr 22 '17 at 12:33
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    Acknowledging this request is on the CM team's backlog, @PaulWhite, and we'll update y'all as soon as a CM gets assigned to dig into it. – JNat Oct 8 at 14:16
  • @JNat Thank you for the feedback. – John aka hot2use Oct 8 at 21:21

From my own perspective of site moderation for a period of time now:

I can say my strong impression is that questions from unregistered users are much more often lower-quality, and not improved on request.

For example, it is common for someone to ask unregistered, then create an account. This results in a loss of control of the question - and e.g. answers that should have been question edits or comments on answers. While it is possible to merge accounts, the number of times this is completed successfully is relatively small.

More to the point: There is a growing number of users who have taken to posting low-quality content using a new unregistered account each time, with an obviously fake email address, and VPN. This makes it difficult to contact them privately, and for the system and moderators to take enforcement action when necessary.

It also clutters the site with duplicate/abandoned questions, which our close/delete process doesn't always do a good job of tidying up.

Overall, my current view is:

Database Administrators would be better off requiring registration to ask.

I don't see as much of a problem with answers contributed by unregistered users.

Being unable to ask a question without logging in is currently active for:

  • Ask Ubuntu
  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Meta Stack Exchange
  • Movies & TV
  • Physics
  • Software Engineering
  • Stack Apps
  • Stack Overflow
  • The Workplace
  • All per-site metas
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  • What happens when a question is migrated from some other site to DBA.SE? The account/user is then kind of unregistered. What happens with that question? Is it displayed or locked until the user "registers"? – John aka hot2use Sep 1 at 9:33
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    @Johnakahot2use "If the author of the question or any of its answers does not have an account on the target site, their username is displayed as plain text until they create an account." - from the FAQ. So yes it is displayed, and not locked. – Paul White Sep 1 at 10:05

Requiring a user to register doesn't actually add that big of a barrier for new users to ask questions and to provide answers. It also doesn't do much to encourage them to play by the site rules.

What DOES help is proper community interaction. Poking them to clean up their questions and informing them WHY their answer isn't a good answer, while maintaining a civil and polite tone, goes a lot further to helping new users adapt to the way we do things on SE.

A registration screen doesn't teach them how to use the site.

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While unregistered users being able to answer is not a big barrier, we need to apply more security to avoid spamming.

Here, that will open gate for spammers, and we do not want any junk here...

Only account holders being able to ask and answer questions does make that process a bit safer, and avoids spamming to some extent. Or at least it makes it easier to remove users from the system.

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