As a new user, I find it impossible to contribute to the community or to even begin contributing. I know why the reputation system is in place and I respect it, but at the same time it is too hard on new users.
It started with me wanting to upvote a question...
"Vote Up requires 15 reputation"
Just to appreciate a good question that helped me I need 15 rep? OK..., so I find out how I can get reputation points. More or less, I need to ask a question for +5 and add an answer for +10. I don't have any questions at the moment and I don't want to spam a random question, but I did happen to have a slightly different answer to the earlier question that I wanted to upvote. So I try to answer...
This question is protected to prevent "thanks!", "me too!", or spam answers by new users. To answer it, you must have earned at least 10 reputation on this site.
Now... I know this doesn't apply to every question, but at the same time, this means I'm forced to answer yet another question, and I don't want to go around looking for random questions and spam irrelevant answers... Now I'm stuck. So I try to talk to some other users in the chat rooms about how to go about getting reputation points and how they first started. I entered into a "casual chat room".
You must have 20 reputation on Meta Stack Overflow to talk here.
Yes... I can understand why this is enforced, because we don't want new users to spam chat rooms, but all I wanted to do was ask for help. So I can't even talk to anyone about my newbie problems. So okay, I'll just settle for upvoting comments in the question that helped me. I don't see an upvote hover-over button so I can't even do that.
So now I'm stuck at 1 reputation point, unable to cross that 15 rep barrier, and even after posting this question I'll only have 6 rep points and still unable to do anything, and I'll be forced to look for questions to answer. Yes, I should be contributing to the community, but I shouldn't need to begin answering or making questions to upvote questions and answers. This only spurs more spam/irrelevant answers if anything.
Very, very, very new-user UNfriendly.