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I currently have 23 rep and am aware that I get the "comment everywhere" privilege at rep 50. I can post an answer, but I cannot add a comment to the question.

I would like to use comment to clarify the question with the OP because I might/might not know an answer and I don’t want to post an answer if it is wrong. Getting down votes on answers is not something I want.

Not getting the ability to comment on other people's answers until 50 rep is understandable.

Basically it seems to me that I should be allowed to clarify a question using comment when I get the privilege to answer a question. i.e. Log In

Example of problem

ANTLR's AST tree updating

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I agree with the general premise of your question... One should be able to comment on questions sooner than answers in order to clarify things, thereby being able to provide better answers. That said, 50 rep is only 5 up-votes on answers, which shouldn't be very hard to get. –  cdeszaq Mar 13 '12 at 15:07
    
Sure, but when you have one person down voting every answer you post for a tag, what would you call that? –  Guy Coder Mar 13 '12 at 15:22
    
Serial down-voting. If it isn't warranted or seems abusive, report it here on meta, or flag one of the posts that got the down-vote and explain in the flag comment so a mod can look in to it. –  cdeszaq Mar 13 '12 at 15:35
    
I considered that but looked at it from the point of view that the person was trying to giude me on the use of SO, although not in the nicest manner. It just that when you lose 30% of your rep on one of your first days, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. I know of the person from another forum, and they are the same there. Some of us just avoid that person. I appreciate your advise and am glad to have meet people like you here at SO. –  Guy Coder Mar 13 '12 at 15:45
    
SO and the whole Stack Exchange family of sites is great. Don't let your initial experience sour you. Welcome to the family ;) –  cdeszaq Mar 13 '12 at 15:47
    
@GuyCoder: Who? –  Won't Mar 13 '12 at 16:42
    
@Won't: If you are asking the name of the person who was down voting my answers, I am waiting to see if they continue the practice for my next 20 or so answers for the tag. If not then it shall pass, if so and I am adhering to the SO ethos, then I will send in a notification. Thanks. –  Guy Coder Mar 13 '12 at 17:14
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@GuyCoder: Feel free to flag them (pick a question and flag "other") and let us know. Downvoting the person isn't allowed and may warrant a suspension. –  Won't Mar 13 '12 at 17:30
    
possible duplicate of Lower commenting threshold to 1 rep –  Cody Gray Mar 14 '12 at 5:05

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Post an answer, include some disclaimer text (e.g. if I understand your problem correctly, I believe this is a solution, or the like), and make updates based on their comments to your answer.

Don't be scared to answer just because of downvotes, besides, if you're egregiously off the mark you can always delete your answer.

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Normally I would agree, but for the ANTLR tag I posted my first three answers and someone down voted each one. –  Guy Coder Mar 13 '12 at 15:20
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@GuyCoder: it'll take a bit to come to the appropriate style for answers on SO. From what I can see your approach has been more in line with what you'd find on a forum and less so than what is expected on SO. I'll bet it is frustrating not having commenting privs, however, a lot of us used SO prior to their existence. If you consider SO as a place for concrete questions and answers, commenting is pretty much not required. I've spread some up-votes on questions/answers of yours which warranted them. –  user7116 Mar 13 '12 at 15:26
    
Thanks, I knew if I stuck with this site I would meet the right people. –  Guy Coder Mar 13 '12 at 15:36
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@GuyCoder: if you give up on rep and just ask and answer questions, you'll find you have far more rep than you started with! Good luck and maybe take a look at CS Theory. Some of your questions may be right up their alley (if they allow technical discussions). –  user7116 Mar 13 '12 at 15:38

Stack Exchange sites are Q&A sites, which means questions and answers are the most important part of the site. Comments are second-class citizens which can be removed in any moment; as a matter of fact, off-topic, not constructive, and obsolete comments can be flagged, and eventually deleted by a moderator.

If you had the privilege of writing an answer when your reputation is 50, to get 50 points you could just write questions that are then up-voted.
If then users had the privilege of writing comments immediately, there would be many answers that are written as comments, and they would probably be used by spammers for introducing spam.

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Nice answer. I did write a few questions, but people prefer to upvote anwers and not questions. Not your fault, just a general observation. I was going to put in a comment for someone elses answer like, "If the question was something you needed an answer to and liked the answer enough to upvote it, then consider upvoting the question." but didn't know if that would get me downvotes. –  Guy Coder Mar 13 '12 at 15:31
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That comment would be almost useless: The only person notified of it would be the user who wrote the question, and the other users who read the comment would not up-vote the question just because of it. –  kiamlaluno Mar 13 '12 at 15:37

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