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According to the help center, new users with less than 10 reputation can't post more than 2 links:

New users cannot:

  • post more than two hyperlinks at a time, either in a post or their user profile

I always thought that this applied to all links, until I came across this answer. The answer in question was posted by a user with 1 reputation and had, before I edited it, 3 links: 2 to screenshots on imgur and one to a Stack Overflow question.

I thought that seemed strange so I decided to test it with a 1 reputation sock puppet. I tried the following markdown code, which contains the 3 links from the answer:

[screenshot][1]

[screenshot][2]

http://stackoverflow.com/questions/9887621/accessing-localhost-of-pc-from-usb-connected-android-mobile-device/42607979#42607979

  [1]: https://i.stack.imgur.com/46wUs.jpg
  [2]: https://i.stack.imgur.com/Hq43b.jpg

I didn't get any error message for this code. I also tried to replace stackoverflow.com with superuser.com and meta.stackexchange.com and it still worked. But when I tried to replace it with something that's not Stack Exchange, for example example.com, I got the error message "You need at least 10 reputation to post more than 2 links". I also tried to replace it with a Stack Exchange site that doesn't exist, for example oiqewjr.stackexchange.com, and I got the error message.

So it seems like new users aren't allowed to post more than 2 links to non-Stack Exchange sites but they're allowed to post as many links as they want to Stack Exchange sites. But I can't find anything in the help center that says so.

So what links count for the 2 link limit for new users? Only links to Stack Exchange sites? Why is this? And can the help center be made more clear about this?

  • 4
    I'd guess network links are assumed to be fine, since these are meant to increase the barrier of entry for spammers. – Journeyman Geek Mar 17 '17 at 9:44
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Until mid-2010, all links counted toward the limit. This is indeed to prevent spam. Since intra-SE links aren't going to be of much use to spammers (as mentioned by Journeyman Geek in the comments), there was an MSE feature request to exempt them from the accounting. It was approved, implemented (cf. ), and is now in effect.

  • I've seen one case on Stack Overflow where a user posted spam links to Stack Exchange sites. The user asked a question that didn't get any answers so he posted several spam answers to other questions with links to that question. But it's true that that's quite uncommon and since there was only one link per answer, the 2 link limit would still not have helped much. – Donald Duck Mar 17 '17 at 17:51

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