Update: The Limit has been increased network-wide to 8 lpp (links per post).

Does that suffice us, or de we need more, like Sceptics.SE (current 50 lpp)

We have a strict policy that answers need to be backed up with evidence. Given it's the age of internet, we really appreciate when references are reliable to everyone and thus encourage linking to sources.

But new users with little reputation can't post more than two links in their answer. Thus, answers will be regarded as poor quality and downvoted, and the new user never earns enough reputation to edit in references. It's a catch-22.

Only today, I've encountered two new users who have reported this issue and couldn't update their answers with the required references.

Can we - as a site - change this privilege because of our Community Policy?

This could also suit other sites that require references, e.g. Skeptics.SE

  • 5
    I'm a moderator on Skeptics and I can say that I never notices any difference in spam volume or any other issue with removing the limit. I could imagine problems on a very high traffic site like Stack Overflow, but on small SE sites I don't think the limit does anything useful.
    – user10
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 8:45
  • 1
    @MadScientist Thanks for your input!
    – Narusan
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 8:46
  • 1
    More general request: Remove the 2 link limit for new users everywhere
    – user283
    Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 16:04
  • The quality of some of the answers I've seen suggests we keep the limit in place. Quality and not quantity thanks. Commented Oct 22, 2017 at 23:36
  • 1
    @GrahamChiu The goal of this proposal is to enable knowledgeable answerers to write well-supported answers. Low-quality answers will be low-quality, with or without links, but we should not be optimizing the site for them.
    – user283
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 22:14
  • 1
    Anyway, this limit is now increased to 8 network-wide, which should be sufficient for most cases.
    – user283
    Commented Oct 23, 2017 at 22:14

2 Answers 2


I've been a regular visitor at SO for years, and finally created an account 4 months ago so I could participate in the conversation. Eventually I realized that a huge part of what makes SO/SE such a unique & valuable source of knowledge is how "strict" most of the members are in regards to how/when/what/where to post, staying on-topic, limiting sharing of speculation, etc.

[IMHO some members go overboard with newbies, being rude or belittling them for not already knowing "how" to post, where to search for existing answers, etc, but that's a discussion for another thread.]

I only recently discovered the wealth of Stack sub-sites, each packed with knowledge. The last couple weeks I've joined a new site every other day, Health being the most recent.

Over a few months of daily visits to the site, I've worked my way up to 227 reputation (and a few dozen of my answers "upped"), and was finally starting to get some privileges, but the fact that this all "resets" on every site I visit is frustrating at the least. This is discouraging for potential new members, plus causes shoddy posts, like my first one on Health. I took a while carefully writing it because I wanted to make sure it was organized & professional, and that every claim was cited from a reputable source. Then I click Post and am given the task of choosing which sources to remove, this making it like making my stats look made-up, causing confusion for others, and so on.

If I had never used a Stack site before, I think the restriction would be more appropriate, but when it starts feeling like the restrictions never end, it's bound to make people either stop joining new sites, or stop putting effort into detailed answers.

That being said, I realized afterwards that a simple workaround is to post my disallowed links as a separate, which is what I will do in the future (thus defeating the restriction and making it pointless anyway). Similarly, the only apparent reason that I can't up-vote questions or answers until I have 15-rep, is to make it very clear that my approval is worthless and unwanted.

What is the worst thing that would happen if these restrictions were lifted? If I wanted to spam 100 links I can still do it now - just has to be an even-more-annoying 50 comments with 2 links each. Same goes for if I was just "uninformed" and posting un-reputable links.

With or without the restrictions, other members are still able to remove or fix irrelevant my posts.

@LangLangC mentioned "explaining the rules to newbies" and I (as someone finally getting past his newbie status and starting to feel like a member) strongly agree with that as well. Being completely unaware of SE's posting policies (ie., "if asking for help always show what you've tried and where you've searched"), of the varying policies of the individual sites (ie., on Health, "only link to medically-reputable sources"), and then topped off with new-member posting restrictions that are prohibitive and confusing, as I haphazardly discover each restriction only by stumbling onto them one at a time. As a frequent Wikipedia editor I'm a little anal about finding quality sources to site, but I don't recall seeing even that instruction posted anywhere (not counting scorn from other members).

Heck, I didn't even know there was a place where we can discuss THIS stuff until today when I finally found a member kind enough to point me in the right direction (Thanks @ Narusan-in-coma!). [I had to put that space after that @ since I'm only allowed to talk about one-person-per-post, until reach some mysterious point-level.]

Ahhh, forgive me if that came across as a rant; it feels good to finally have found a place where I'm allowed to share my non-cited point of view, and hopefully everyone realizes that an opinion from a newbie can be just as valuable as a seasoned member's... And now i have to visit a couple other meta sites to finally ask my off-topic/site-related questions & maybe even share my feedback of a couple simple things that could make "newbie-integration" less painful for everyone involved!


While I agree that this newbie restriction looks entirely stupid, I am trying the role of advocatus diaboli here.

Once this feature request gets noticed by the network gurus there will be an answer containing the inevitable "there is a reason for this" (partly outlined here).

Like Narusan, I do not agree with that reasoning. Spam is not characterised by >2 link count. We had single link spam and pure text spam as well. If historical experience proves otherwise beneficial… I haven't seen this.

So, while I agree that the current limit is impracticably low and would second a raise of this limit to at least 5 or 6, here whispers the serpents voice.

Do I understand this correctly:

  • association boni make this a non-issue if someone has 200 rep on any one site across the network?
  • two uncontested upvotes on one question or one such upvote on a an answer also alleviate this restriction?

This leaves three problematic cases:

  1. anonymous users, just stopping by
  2. really freshly registered users on HealthSE
  3. users that haven't got >200 rep anywhere else

Then this might actually serve us well. Anonymous users are allowed to post out of principle. This is considered "a good thing". The biggest problem in recent times was called "low level quality of questions". Users that a one-time hit wonder, never to return or accept an answer. Do they need more links in their questions?

Answers with a reference or link count <3 also came from higher rep users.

Answers of highly motivated newbie users might have (and some have) suffered. That was the problem, that is the problem of this question.

Can't we make this into our advantage?

Explain the rules, then require old-fashioned references (like in footnotes) – at first / from newbies – guiding them to update and then edit their answers with (more) net links if enough upvotes followed? This would seem awfully restrictive and tiresome for many new users. But it may actually filter the one part and nudge the other into both: quality and staying around, for a while at least.

Another major downside to it: This would of course increase the workload substantially.

Apart from Skeptics this restriction should also go away on History. And the discussion on that at Skeptics lists many arguments:


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