Initiated by xport's latest question, I've gathered some statistics about xport's questions from July 1st up to today (July 24th).

  • In those 24 days, xport has asked 57 questions, i.e. about 2.4 questions per day and about 7.9% of all questions asked at tex.sx (724).

  • Those 57 questions at the moment feature an upvote/downvote total of 118, i.e. about 2.1 votes per question. 13 questions (22.8%) have a score of zero.

At stackoverflow.com, a limit of 50 questions per month was enacted in April 2011. One rationale for this limit was that every question draws time and attention from other users, and no one should be allowed to overstrain the willingness of others to help. Another reasoning was "If you are asking over 2 questions per day, there is a good chance you aren't putting enough time into your questions."

At the moment, the limit is "only active on the trilogy sites" (stackoverflow, serverfault, superuser). In my opinion, tex.sx would be better of too if everyone was induced to spend a non-trivial amount of time trying to solve questions by himself/herself, and to ask only those questions where he/she couldn't come up with a solution.

So: Should SO's "50 questions per month" limit be enabled at tex.sx?

  • 7
    I also would like to see a "10 profile page edits per month" limit. Jul 25, 2011 at 16:38
  • 2
    Now that would really be a "lex xport". ;-)
    – lockstep
    Jul 25, 2011 at 16:43
  • @Martin: Do mods get notified of profile page edits?
    – Caramdir
    Jul 25, 2011 at 17:29
  • @Caramdir: No, we don't. Jul 25, 2011 at 17:31

6 Answers 6


It's true that questions seem to come in clusters. When someone is starting a new latex project (designing a package, writing a thesis) they tend to have a series of questions. Recent examples are: xport and Peteris Krumins. This is not a bad thing. Nevertheless, I think 1 question per day limit (averaged) is reasonable and forces people to think carefully if each question is the best it can be or is there room to improve it. For this site to continue to attract knowledgable answerers, the average level of the questions should be as high as possible.

  • 2
    One member come: Level1Coder asked 4 questions in less than 4 hours. :-) Aug 2, 2011 at 13:48

We could simply use the voting system to limit low quality questions while allowing an unlimited number of good questions.

For example, there could be a limit for 30 questions per month which have got less than 5 upvotes. Each good question just adds to it, so after 20 good question one still has 30 questions left. It's even is a motivation to improve own existing questions.

  • If this suggestion could be implemented with reasonable effort, I'd prefer it to a hard cap. If not, I'd prefer a hard cap to the current situation.
    – lockstep
    Jul 25, 2011 at 19:05
  • BTW, with this suggestion, xport's limit would be 38 questions right now -- in July, she asked one "Nice Question" plus seven others with at least 5 upvotes.
    – lockstep
    Jul 25, 2011 at 19:23

First, consider:

  1. How many other users would be affected?

  2. Many SE 2.0 sites need questions, so even if the incoming questions are only "Ok", a) they can be edited into shape and b) it's better to have questions for people to answer, than to not have enough.

So based on that, I'd say as long as no other users (statistically speaking) would be harmed, and you have "enough" questions, it's possible.

  • 20
    Given the scale of our site, 50 questions from one person in a month is pretty heavy. I'd imagine that the other sites would have a similar problem: growth is one thing, but flooding is a different thing.
    – Joseph Wright Mod
    Jul 25, 2011 at 12:30
  • 2
    well, it's up to you guys, but be sure you're not making a global change based on one user. If you have a problem user, warn and suspend them. Aug 4, 2011 at 10:25

I'm in favor of introducing such a limit here. Even 50 questions per month is almost to high. Here 30 per month should already be considered enough. (Especially if half of them are virtually about the same topic.)

  • 3
    I think one thing is that workflows for converting figures is a big topic with many corner cases and special situations, that doesn't really fit into the stackexchange format. Either it's so specialized to one person's needs as to be boring for everyone else (and even to specify those needs properly will require many rounds of comments: I still don't know what xport is really trying to achieve), or it's too general to have a "right" answer. Maybe someone should write a blog post. (Not me).
    – Lev Bishop
    Jul 29, 2011 at 20:23

It's a bad law that gets enacted on account of one person's one-time behavior. Does it often happen that people ask more than 50 questions per month?

If the answer is no, then maybe just leave it be; or if you feel there are too many poor-quality questions, maybe think of another way of avoiding them. Or maybe it's just an issue with xport's personally... (wow, that's a lot of questions man!)

  • 1
    My question was motivated by the fact that xport's "one-time" behaviour exactly fit a behaviour that seemed to be more frequent at the "trilogy sites".
    – lockstep
    Nov 26, 2011 at 21:43
  • 3
    Peteris Krumins was a similar case, as Lev noted; just on a slightly smaller scale. He apparently disappeared once his one big project was done. Btw, does anybody know what happened to xport? He or she hasn't been back for quite a long time :(
    – doncherry
    Nov 27, 2011 at 17:18

There are more new questions at the beginning of our learning and there will be fewer afterwards. Thus the number of questions will decrease as the time goes.


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