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Are there any requirements for participating in Area 51? Can Joe Schmoe from the internet come propose or follow a site, or do you have to be a participant in an existing SOFU/SE site?

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Rep requirement from the FAQ:

25 Create example questions
50 Create proposals and example questions 
50 Vote a question as on-topic or off-topic 
50 Flag offensive 
50 Leave comments † 
150 Vote to delete a question (costs 1 rep) 
250 Vote to close or reopen your proposals 
1000 Edit other people's posts (proposals and questions) 
2000 Vote to close or reopen any proposal 
10000 Delete closed questions, access to moderation tools 

Note that you get +50 rep for verifying your email on Area 51, and +100 for associating with another network site (as long as you have +200 somewhere in the network).

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And you get 50 rep for verifying your email address, so the answer to the OP question would be "yes as long as you have a valid email address" – juan Jun 2 '10 at 18:50

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