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I'm new here and wanted to help someone on Stack Overflow.

The fact is I have a low reputation because I'm new, so I can't comment on a user's question... yet.

I tried to help someone but had to put it in the "answer" box because it was the only way available to me. That caused a "-1" that was explained to me because by "it was not an answer". As I think of it, the person was right and it seems fair.

My question is: why can't we comment on a user's question when we have a low reputation but we CAN answer? I'd like to understand the logic behind it before stating that it should be allowed. :-)

Thanks.

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    Anyone knowledgeable in PHP wanna just give him a few upvotes so he can comment?
    – Mysticial
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:22
  • Thank you. Sorry about the duplicate.
    – Maxime
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:22
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    @maxime you weren't to know r.e. duplicates; don't worry about it. We just clean up when we find them, so that all the questions point to the same answer (rather than maintaining several copies) - although I did answer here anyway. Whoops :)
    – user142852
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:30

2 Answers 2

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My questions is: why can't we comment on a user's question when we have a low reputation but we CAN answer ?

Well, it only takes 50 reputation to be able to comment. That's 10 votes on questions or 5 on answers, which is not all that unattainable.

I believe the primary motivation is to indicate some community commitment - beyond just "guy who wandered in off the internet". Obviously, this is a little frustrating for users such as yourself who want to help, but it does prevent noise from the internet at large unless the user has spent a little bit of time here.

In short, it's like a sort of introductory period :)

Another point - the best way to help people is via answers. Many users sneak what should be answers into comments. If you've got a solution, write up an ace answer!

One thing to point out - you can always comment on your own answers and questions - this is to let you respond to feedback as needed.

Welcome to SO :)

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    I get your point. I just wanted to help on this one.
    – Maxime
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:29
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    @Maxime no problem, always best to ask if unsure :)
    – user142852
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:35
  • As of recently, an upvote to a question, is equivalent to that of an upvote to an answer (they are worth the same)
    – Ramhound
    Sep 11, 2020 at 23:46
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My questions is: why can't we comment on a user's question when we have a low reputation but we CAN answer ? I'd like to understand the logic behind it before stating that it should be allowed. :-)

Because we want to encourage answers, not comments. The focus here is on getting answers to questions, not commentary.

In fact, the experience you describe is precisely what we are hoping will happen. If you can't answer the question well enough to post an actual answer, you shouldn't answer it. The ability to leave comments is a privilege that you earn by leaving quality answers. At only 50 reputation, it's hardly an insurmountable barrier, even for new users.

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  • I don't agree with you. The person was asking a WordPress question on StackOverflow. Putting the "Please ask it on WordPress StackExchange" in the comment was more appropriate. The final result did not help my reputation but it should have IMHO. Anyway...
    – Maxime
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:26
  • @Max You're not disagreeing with me. I said if you can't answer, you shouldn't answer. That's not an answer. Use the "flag" link instead. That's what it is there for, and that way the question will actually get moved. Mar 6, 2012 at 21:28
  • I was not agreeing on "Because we want to encourage answers, not comments". You should encourage the right behaviour! But as you say, flagging the question was probably the right thing to do. Thanks.
    – Maxime
    Mar 6, 2012 at 21:32

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