I just wanted to post a heads up for those who may start noticing this. I have started marking more questions as Protected recently. The reasoning behind this is to help curb the increasing frequency of low-rep members from posting "thanks!" and "I have that problem, too!" kinds of responses. A protected topic requires that users meet certain minimum requirements to post. Hopefully, instead of new low-rep members posting new questions as answers to higher traffic questions, the protection will force them to ask a new question (since they will be unable to comment.) If the question is a duplicate, we should continue taking the appropriate actions...we just may start getting more questions asked that have already been answered.
Additionally, when I see "high volume" questions, the ones with a high number of views/answers/activity overall, and questions that have received one or more advertisers posting advertisements, will be marked as Protected as well. This should reduce the frequency with which we encounter advertisers abusing our forum, especially on questions that get repeat offenses.
If you see any question that you think should be protected to curb low-rep spamming, just flag it with "Protect Please!", and I'll mark them as protected. Conversely, if you see a question that is protected that you think should not be protected, flag it with "Unprotect Please!", and I'll review. If any of you have the reputation for it (I think at 20k rep), you should be able to mark topics as protected on your own (I don't think it is a moderator-only tool). If you see a question being abused, either by low-rep "me too!"s or spammers, go ahead and protect it.
The ultimate goal is to proactively help keep our forum clean, rather than continuing to be reactive...especially on questions that are repeatedly getting "hit" (and we have several questions like that now, with a growing chain of deleted posts at the end.)