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How do comments work?

As title says - is this true? Because a few posters on SO now have claimed that they can't comment - and so they clutter threads up with answers that aren't really answers and would be better placed in the comments. Seems very counter-productive to enforce this rule.

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marked as duplicate by Martijn Pieters, ChrisF, Toon Krijthe, Kev Sep 13 '12 at 10:29

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Yep, it's true: stackoverflow.com/privileges/comment The threshold is not very high and apparently keeps a lot of crap and noise out of the comments. Some circumvent this by posting it as an answer, but I don't know how that would weigh against the influx of noise we would get when generally opening up comments. –  Bart Sep 13 '12 at 9:47
    
So if members on SO with a low rep would like to enquire further about the OP's problem in an attempt to help solve it the only way they can do it that is by posting answers? –  DeeMac Sep 13 '12 at 9:49
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@DeeMac: Or by ignoring the question altogether, yes. They shouldn't be using answers for this. Answer a better question that doesn't require clarification first and gain the paltry 5 upvotes. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 13 '12 at 9:49
    
@DeeMac Nope. It's done by gaining the privilege to comment first and then making the comment. –  Bart Sep 13 '12 at 9:49
    
@MartijnPieters - doesn't seem very well thought out - opens the door to clutter. As an OP on SO - I would like those who can possibly help me solve a problem ask questions - and if the only way they can do that is through the use of answers then you're going to experience mis-placed posts. –  DeeMac Sep 13 '12 at 9:51
    
@DeeMac: Simply flag those answers as 'not an answer' and move on. It doesn't happen that often, does it? –  Martijn Pieters Sep 13 '12 at 9:51
    
@MartijnPieters - seems to, yes - understandably. As I say, appears to be a poorly thought out rule - a LOT of the answers I, or other posters, have had have came from further interrogation of the problem in hand by posters through questions and answers. SO rules have stopped a lot of that already to those with reputation too small. Not to mention the fact that it makes members with small rep's job of getting enough rep to comment a lot harder by just having to have the answer outright ready there without asking more questions. –  DeeMac Sep 13 '12 at 9:53
    
@DeeMac: The problem is not the commenting reputation threshold, it's the low-quality question that is the problem. Lowering the comment threshold is hardly the solution that, is it? –  Martijn Pieters Sep 13 '12 at 9:55
    
@MartijnPieters - I think whether the fact a question requires more questioning being due to a lack of quality is extremely subjective and specific to that particular question so I don't think it's that easy to say "that is the problem." The fact of the matter is that some questions, even decent ones, require further questioning - if you happen to have a new SO member equipped with the knowledge to help - you're either going to experience misplaced comments - or they'll stay silent, which is a shame. –  DeeMac Sep 13 '12 at 9:57
    
@DeeMac: 50 rep is really not hard to come by. Not being able to comment yet before you reach that is the price of being on the internet; the amount of spam and other crap we'd get without is really not going to outweigh the few cases where we locked out genuinely helpful comments. If the person in question is going to be able to give a great answer, the answer will still be great if that person waits a little with posting it until he can ask for clarification. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 13 '12 at 10:01

1 Answer 1

I quote (from How do comments work?):

Who can post comments?

All users may leave comments on their own posts and any answers given to their own questions. Users with at least 50 reputation may comment on any post. (There is no reputation requirement to post comments on MSO.)

See also: http://meta.stackoverflow.com/privileges/comment

By setting a (quite low) threshold, we keep out the spammers and the general 'me too!' comments that would flood the site otherwise.

Yes, people will still try and circumvent that, but the initial filter does keep most crap out. If you see such 'answers', just flag them with the Not an answer flag and a moderator will come along shortly to clean these up.

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Why is this the case? Look at my OP and why I propose it's not the best of rules. –  DeeMac Sep 13 '12 at 9:49
    
As much as I disagree with it, you've answered my question - so +1. –  DeeMac Sep 13 '12 at 9:59

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