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On Stack Overflow, 50 reputation points are required to comment everywhere. Whereas it requires 5 Stack Overflow reputation points to comment everywhere on Meta (5 SO reps to participate in meta and 1 MSO rep to comment everywhere). Just wondering why is the system designed in this way?

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

Generally comments are the main avenue of communication on Meta, whereas on main sites they're more auxiliary (answers being the main focus). Stopping people from commenting on a Meta (i.e. needing more than 1 point to comment) would be akin to saying "no you can't participate in this discussion".

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The "participate in meta" privilege is not used in Stack Overflow, where its meta site is a separated site.
As a matter of fact, users can post question here, even if they don't have a reputation of at least 5 on Stack Overflow. See as example; the user has a reputation of 1 on Stack Overflow, and was able to post a question here.

That privilege is used on Stack Exchange 2.0 sites, where the sites (e.g. have an associated meta site (e.g. The reason for requesting a reputation of at least 5 to participate on the meta site, and not 50 as for the privilege to commenting anywhere in the main site, is that the meta site is used to ask questions such as if a question is off-topic, which tags should be used for a question; if the reputation to participate in the meta site would be higher, the users could not ask those questions, while it's in the benefit of the site if they can ask on the meta site what kind of the questions they can ask.

Users with a reputation of at least 5 points have at least an up-voted question, which means they have a minimal participation on the main site, and they are not users who have never asked a question in the main site.

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