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As a user with a low reputation to the "skeptics" area of SE I feel I may have relevant answer on a question, but can't provide it. Can I do so as a comment?

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Is the question locked or closed? – Yannis Oct 16 '12 at 16:31
Hm, if the question is protected, I don't see why you can't post an answer, you have 105 rep on Skeptics, protecting a question only stops answers from 10 rep users. – Yannis Oct 16 '12 at 16:35
You might want to ask this on that site's meta instead. What is or isn't "acceptable" varies a bit between sites. The requirements for verifiable references do also vary somewhat. – Mat Oct 16 '12 at 16:35
@NullUserExceptionอ_อ Sorry I noticed it was protected and edited question – thejartender Oct 16 '12 at 16:35
@YannisRizos I made double sure can't see an answer button skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/4611/… – thejartender Oct 16 '12 at 16:39
@YannisRizos you need to have at least 10 rep on that site (association bonus doesn't count). – user149432 Oct 16 '12 at 16:41
@MarkTrapp Ah, yes, that's it then. – Yannis Oct 16 '12 at 16:42

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

You're talking about a bit of an edge case, here: you have enough reputation to comment due to your association bonus, but not enough reputation on the site to leave an answer on a question due to its protection status.

Normally, with protected questions, people who would be most affected by the protection status—unregistered and completely new users—don't have enough reputation to comment so it doesn't come up.

Because it's an edge case, I'd use your discretion, keeping in mind you should be aware that comments aren't meant to be answers, but for clarifying posts. Personally, I'd probably just see if the protection status could be removed, either via a meta question or via a flag, or failing that, see if I can't scrape 5 rep together on another question.

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you mean an appropriately tagged "meta" question? Can you link to an example? :) – thejartender Oct 16 '12 at 16:52
@thejartender I don't have one off the top of my head, but it doesn't have to be fancy. Something like, "X question is protected, but I think I have a relevant answer. Could its protection status be removed?" You shouldn't get too much resistance to a simple request like that. A lot of times, protection is added to deal with an immediate spam problem, or it's added automatically due to a number of deleted answers, and then it's forgotten about. Worst-case scenario is they say no and you just need to get 5 rep from somewhere else, first. – user149432 Oct 16 '12 at 16:54
To be clear, do we want folks to flag the question "Can you remove the protection from this question so that I can answer it?" – Robert Harvey Oct 16 '12 at 17:01
@RobertHarvey If the protection status is preventing legitimate answers from being added, yes, that would count as exception handling. Flagging to remove protection so someone can answer is one of the edgiest of edge cases: completely new users who mistake SE for a regular forum, whose posts protection was mostly meant for, won't have enough rep to flag in the first place (10 rep to answer a protected question, 15 to flag). – user149432 Oct 16 '12 at 17:04
Questions that are protected are generally protected for a reason (like the Chinese spammer advertising Gucci bags on SO posts containing the word "football;" true story, not making this up.) If someone is really desperate to post their answer on such a question, maybe it's not too much to ask that they earn 10 rep before doing so. – Robert Harvey Oct 16 '12 at 17:12
@RobertHarvey Of course protection is done for a reason, but if the reason has been resolved, keeping a question protected is not correct if it's preventing legit answers. Asking moderators to make a judgement call as to whether it's worth removing protection on a question is not too much of an ask. Like I said, a lot of the time, the problem that caused the protection in the first place has been resolved and the protection status simply forgotten. – user149432 Oct 16 '12 at 17:17
So what if I forget to put the protection back on? Do I really have to bookmark it so I can come back later and re-protect it? Seriously, just earn 10 rep. Some questions are spam magnets; it's not uncommon to see a new spam answer arrive months after a previous spam answer was deleted. – Robert Harvey Oct 16 '12 at 17:18
@RobertHarvey I don't understand what's so onerous about expecting moderators to handle exceptions to edge cases like this. If it's so unbelievably risky to allow a question to be unprotected until it becomes a problem again, make that call on a case-by-case basis, but otherwise, if an action is unnecessarily preventing legitimate answers from being added, it's the wrong action. – user149432 Oct 16 '12 at 17:23
Once I protect it, I don't want to ever see it on my radar again, that's all. – Robert Harvey Oct 16 '12 at 17:24
@RobertHarvey Then let another moderator handle it if it ever becomes a problem again. But personally, I think "I only ever want to deal with any question once and only once" is an unreasonable position to take as a moderator, particularly when dealing with edge cases and exceptions. – user149432 Oct 16 '12 at 17:29

I have unprotected the question now. It was auto-protected a while ago as this specific posts tends to attracts rants about how the FDA is hiding cures and similar stuff. So I suspect that it won't stay unprotected forever, if the previous deleted posts on that question are any indication.

We have a relatively low volume on Skeptics, I don't mind deleting a few more non-answers if we get some good answers in exchange.

I expect that you have familiarized yourself with our standards for answers on the site, specifically the citation requirements. Our site is very different in that regard, we require citations for all significant claims in an answer, and we will delete answers that don't follow these requirements. So if you want to contribute to Skeptics, please make sure you understand our rules.

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