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One's inability to reply to existing answers, due to insufficient reputation, prevents qualified individuals from adding useful updates or corrections to answers.

I don't say this to flatter myself, nor do I have suggestions as to how this limitation might be overcome without introducing adverse side-effects, but Stack Overflow has "missed-out" on a plethora of useful information for this reason.

Once my reputation is sufficient, I will not revisit those questions and add the information that I was prevented from adding when I stumbled upon the questions originally. To do so would be impractical.

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marked as duplicate by Some Helpful Commenter, Josh Caswell, Rosinante, Lance Roberts, Toon Krijthe Feb 27 '13 at 20:41

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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You could answer some questions to gain considerable reputation before correcting the answers that you think are incorrect. I wouldn't say revisiting would be impractical if you could mark the questions as favorites. –  user213400 Feb 27 '13 at 19:44
    
I'm not sure what the issue is. You can always suggest corrections to answers (although I will admit there does seem to be an inclination to reject these as invalid edits), or post a new answer that you feel sufficiently answers the question. –  LittleBobbyTables Feb 27 '13 at 19:45
    
@LittleBobbyTables: Don't users need 50 reputation points to leave comments? I believe that OP is referring to leaving comments, I presume. –  user213400 Feb 27 '13 at 19:46
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@Siva - yes, but they can always post new answers, such as "This solution is what worked for me; it was similar to X, although X had a problem on lines 5 and 6". –  LittleBobbyTables Feb 27 '13 at 19:47
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Based on the number of "not an answer" posts moderators delete every day, I posit that the amount of useful information we're missing out on is tiny compared to the amount of useless noise we're filtering out by having a minimum reputation requirement to comment. –  Bill the Lizard Feb 27 '13 at 19:52
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Shog9's answer to the dupe is fairly definitive. If you have something to ask or to contribute, especially as a new user, comments should be your last choice. And, whaddaya know, the system encourages this! –  Some Helpful Commenter Feb 27 '13 at 19:56
    
It is unreasonable to expect that every qualified individual who stumbles upon a question that lacks an answer, or has an answer that is incomplete or upon which improvements could be made, to bother acquiring the reputation points required to reply to an existing answer. –  Ben Johnson Feb 27 '13 at 19:58
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a question that lacks an answer: Good opportunity to answer it then! an answer that is incomplete or upon which improvements could be made: Again, suggest an edit that will be peer-reviewed, or good opportunity to answer it yourself. –  LittleBobbyTables Feb 27 '13 at 20:02
    
You say you don't have any suggestions for improving a situation whose existence you don't provide any evidence for. While I realize that finding evidence for this particular situation would be quite a task, I don't understand what you hope to achieve with this post, and especially why it's been tagged [feature-request]. –  Josh Caswell Feb 27 '13 at 20:02
    
Sorry, this is my first go-round here, and I'm attempting to keep-up with the barrage of remarks. To be clear, my gripe is that new users cannot reply to existing answers and are therefore forced to contribute a new answer. Yet, when the user positions the cursor in the appropriate field, he is presented with the following: But avoid … Asking for help, clarification, or responding to other answers. Perhaps this is a case of operator error; I failed to understand that it is possible to suggest an edit to an existing answer. –  Ben Johnson Feb 27 '13 at 20:03
    
@BenJohnson Exactly. If you go to post a new answer don't reply or comment on another answer in your answer, just write your own better answer that incorporates the content you wished to comment on another answer. If this results in a very minor change from the original answer, then apparently the information that we are "missing out on" is not significant after all. Note that edits should also not be used to reply to a post; such edits should be rejected. –  Servy Feb 27 '13 at 20:10
    
How am I expected to proceed when I wish to correct a comment that was made in reply to an existing answer? Let's examine a concrete example: link. The top answer doesn't actually answer the question, and is no longer relevant. But someone's reply/comment to that answer does, but only partially. I wish to correct the regular expression that is provided in the second comment below the answer. How am I to do this? –  Ben Johnson Feb 27 '13 at 20:14
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Grab the info from the comment, post it as an answer along with any other relevant information you have to contribute, give credit where credit is due, and reap the rep. –  Josh Caswell Feb 27 '13 at 20:21
    
Fair enough. I was trying to avoid adding another answer that contains most of the same information as a previous answer (or a reply to one), but this practice seems to be acceptable. Thanks for the feedback. –  Ben Johnson Feb 27 '13 at 20:34
    
I apologize in advance because I know this sounds flippant, but you can generally get the necessary reputation (50 points) by providing a single half-decent answer to a question. You could have spent the amount of time you spent on this discussion answering questions instead, and hit the rep cap for the day. –  Ernest Friedman-Hill Feb 27 '13 at 20:43

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

If your information is big enough to be considered it as a missed-out, You could post a new answer to the question. All you have to say is that you are adding information to "x" answer saying that since your case had was in "y" situation you did "x" answer + "z" (your infos) to solve it all. And thus providing the information. Make sure that you provide all the information in your post and not only a mention to the other answer though. As stated by @Josh Caswell, your answer has to be self-contained.

This way you could even gain reputation from this, and thus be able to comment later on.

Also, please note that if your answer is an answer that should be a comment, it will most likely be merged to a comment by moderator as other users will flag it as "should be a comment".

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It's important, though, that a new answer be self-contained, rather than some kind of reply to another answer. –  Josh Caswell Feb 27 '13 at 19:57
    
@JoshCaswell edited, because it wasn't clear the way I said it before! Thank you for the feedback –  Hugo Dozois Feb 27 '13 at 20:00
    
Sure thing, @Hugo. –  Josh Caswell Feb 27 '13 at 20:03

IF you think you have a better answer, then, nothing's stopping you from posting a similar, but "better" answer. This happens very very often. On almost every question it seems.

Now if this is about new users posting comments, than yes, There are times when I wish new users were able to post comments, but it's almost never because they're trying to contribute to an existing answer.

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