Possible Duplicate:
Lower the amount of reputation needed to comment
Revisit “New users can't ask for clarifications except as answers”

I just ran across a couple of questions relating to the need for 50 reputation points before commenting on other people's questions, such as Lower the amount of reputation needed to comment

The limit is to prevent low-quality comments from cluttering the site. My question is, was this assumption tested? Were comments originally unrestricted when they were introduced? Was there any experimentation on the value of the threshold?

My own personal opinion is that the threshold does more harm than good by driving away people that would become engaged in the site, but I'd love to be proven wrong.

OK, I concede that preventing the spambots from overrunning the site required some sort of threshold on day 1. I also concede that without a way of measuring good comments vs. bad that there's no good way to test a different threshold. Since nobody has put forth an observation that the limit has been any different value, I'll conclude that it has always been 50.

I'll persist in my opinion that the threshold is set too high, misguided it may be.

  • It only takes a couple of good questions/answers to achieve +50 rep. If someone wants to be engaged, I would expect at least one question/answer from them anyway, so I don't see this as such a massive requirement. – Oded May 7 '12 at 17:51
  • @Oded, most people find the site through Google, looking for an answer to a problem. Asking a duplicate question isn't likely to generate rep. I also believe getting up to 50 is harder than it used to be, though I don't have any data to back it up. – Mark Ransom May 7 '12 at 17:55
  • 2
    Frankly, not getting multiples of "me too" and "bump - does anyone have an answer" or people asking related questions in comments is something I am glad about. – Oded May 7 '12 at 17:57
  • 1
    At worst it's 25 approved edits (which do get reviewed) if you're desperate to comment and can't answer/ask enough to get that. – Flexo May 7 '12 at 17:58
  • 1
    Questions and answers are the primary ways to get engaged with any SE site. Comments are second-class citizens on purpose. – Adam Lear May 7 '12 at 18:07
  • 1
    Guys, please note that it's not that simple on smaller sites. – Manishearth May 7 '12 at 18:17
  • 1
    Jeff gave me this answer to a similar question which I thought was a good enough bunch of reasons why we don't allow low rep users to comment. – Kev May 7 '12 at 18:36
  • 1
    Yes, it has always required 50 reputation to comment. The exception is that you can always comment on your own question, and answers to your own questions. – Cody Gray May 8 '12 at 3:44
  • 1
    Interestingly, JonH's answer here provides the best example of why this rep requirement is necessary: people tend to get really chatty if they can. One of the major goals of the SO/SE format is to avoid forcing you to read through a huge, noisy comment discussion to get important information - discouraging comments is part of this. (Aside: yes, the rep-requirement has always been there. Actually, in the early private beta, comments didn't exist - folks used answers, forum-style. So comments were added as sort of a relief valve for this.) – Shog9 May 8 '12 at 15:48
  • @Shog9, I've been around long enough to remember when comments were first introduced. Also I respectfully disagree that this question is a duplicate of the others, but since I don't see much value in leaving it open at this point I won't argue too much. – Mark Ransom May 8 '12 at 16:02
  • 1
    @Mark: ah, my bad - yes, you would remember that! I closed this as a duplicate because, frankly, this has been discussed to death. The actual value of the threshold is fairly arbitrary - the purpose is simply to lock out new users, and 20 or 150 would likely do just as well. Remember also that this doesn't apply to folks commenting on their own posts, – Shog9 May 8 '12 at 16:11

The limit is to prevent low-quality comments from cluttering the site.

I think the problem is more with spam, and new questions asked in comments. As the only users who are notified of new comments that don't contain @-references are the authors of the posts for which the comments are written, new questions (and spam) written as comments would probably pass unobserved.
This is not what happens with answers, as new answers bump the question in the front page, where more eyes can notice if the answer is not really an answer.

I would not want a question be bumped on the front page every time a new comment is added.

| improve this answer | |
  • I wouldn't want a question bumped because of a comment either. And I honestly hadn't considered the spam problem. – Mark Ransom May 7 '12 at 18:03
  • And I certainly don't want a review queue for comments – Flexo May 7 '12 at 18:04

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .