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Lower the amount of reputation needed to comment
Why does Stack Overflow prevent new users from commenting?

I'm new here and wanted to help someone on StackOverflow.

The fact I have a low reputation because I'm new, I can't comment on a user's question... yet.

I tried to help someone but had to put it in the "answer" box because it was the only way available to me. That caused a "-1" that was explained to me because by "it was not an answer". As I think of it, the person was right and it seems fair.

My questions is: why can't we comment on a user's question when we have a low reputation but we CAN answer ? I'd like to understand the logic behind it before stating that it should be allowed. :-)

Thanks.

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marked as duplicate by slhck, Cody Gray, Arjan, Anna Lear Mar 6 '12 at 21:33

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Anyone knowledgeable in PHP wanna just give him a few upvotes so he can comment? –  Mysticial Mar 6 '12 at 21:22
    
Thank you. Sorry about the duplicate. –  Maxime Mar 6 '12 at 21:22
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@maxime you weren't to know r.e. duplicates; don't worry about it. We just clean up when we find them, so that all the questions point to the same answer (rather than maintaining several copies) - although I did answer here anyway. Whoops :) –  user142852 Mar 6 '12 at 21:30

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

My questions is: why can't we comment on a user's question when we have a low reputation but we CAN answer ?

Well, it only takes 50 reputation to be able to comment. That's 10 votes on questions or 5 on answers, which is not all that unattainable.

I believe the primary motivation is to indicate some community commitment - beyond just "guy who wandered in off the internet". Obviously, this is a little frustrating for users such as yourself who want to help, but it does prevent noise from the internet at large unless the user has spent a little bit of time here.

In short, it's like a sort of introductory period :)

Another point - the best way to help people is via answers. Many users sneak what should be answers into comments. If you've got a solution, write up an ace answer!

One thing to point out - you can always comment on your own answers and questions - this is to let you respond to feedback as needed.

Welcome to SO :)

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I get your point. I just wanted to help on this one. –  Maxime Mar 6 '12 at 21:29
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@Maxime no problem, always best to ask if unsure :) –  user142852 Mar 6 '12 at 21:35

My questions is: why can't we comment on a user's question when we have a low reputation but we CAN answer ? I'd like to understand the logic behind it before stating that it should be allowed. :-)

Because we want to encourage answers, not comments. The focus here is on getting answers to questions, not commentary.

In fact, the experience you describe is precisely what we are hoping will happen. If you can't answer the question well enough to post an actual answer, you shouldn't answer it. The ability to leave comments is a privilege that you earn by leaving quality answers. At only 50 reputation, it's hardly an insurmountable barrier, even for new users.

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I don't agree with you. The person was asking a WordPress question on StackOverflow. Putting the "Please ask it on WordPress StackExchange" in the comment was more appropriate. The final result did not help my reputation but it should have IMHO. Anyway... –  Maxime Mar 6 '12 at 21:26
    
@Max You're not disagreeing with me. I said if you can't answer, you shouldn't answer. That's not an answer. Use the "flag" link instead. That's what it is there for, and that way the question will actually get moved. –  Cody Gray Mar 6 '12 at 21:28
    
I was not agreeing on "Because we want to encourage answers, not comments". You should encourage the right behaviour! But as you say, flagging the question was probably the right thing to do. Thanks. –  Maxime Mar 6 '12 at 21:32

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