I've seen a few answers in the First Posts queue that really should be comments. When I see these I flag the posts as not an answer, so that a mod can convert it to a comment.

I would also like to inform the poster that this should be a comment not an answer. However, in many First Post scenarios, the poster does not have enough rep to post comments.

What's the best way to handle this? Does having the rep comment requirement lead to more bad answers?


Part of the reason I am concerned about posting a comment is that it feels cold to do to a user with low rep. Having just finished the "Summer of Love", I want to be welcoming to new users. However, this feels like I am telling the new user to shut up until they get more reputation.

  • The correct thing to do is flag and optionally add a comment saying that what they have posted is just a comment, and not a valid answer. Not having enough rep to post a comment is not a valid excuse to post your comment as an answer.
    – Servy
    Oct 26 '12 at 19:50
  • 5
    Not having enough rep to post a comment is not a valid excuse to post your comment as an answer. I agree, but posting that comment feels like saying "You don't have enough rep, so what you have to say doesn't matter."
    – cadrell0
    Oct 26 '12 at 19:52
  • If they want to actually answer the question they don't need any rep. If they want to do almost anything else on the site (including comment) they need to wait until they have earned sufficient reputation for the site to deem them trustworthy enough to use that feature. Comments, just like most everything else that requires reputation, can be abused, so some sort of barrier to using it is important. If you want to know what all of the reasons for the limit are, just search on meta; there are lots of questions on the topic. Feel free to pick a favorite and link the user to it.
    – Servy
    Oct 26 '12 at 19:56
  • To your worry about making them feel bad, obviously you will want to be polite. Keep in mind that just deleting the answer without any feedback to the user is probably going to be worse than explaining to them how the site works.
    – Servy
    Oct 26 '12 at 20:05

They can comment on their own questions and answers regardless of rep. The 50 rep requirement applies to posts in someone else's questions only. So you can just leave a comment on the answer. The poster will be able to respond the comment. In any way, the poster will at least be able to read it, which is more than often sufficient.

Update: as to the bad feeling; just leave a neutral, friendly and polite comment. It isn't that hard, you'd probably only spend a bit more words than usual (friendiness simply takes words).

Welcome at Stack Overflow! Unfortunately, what you've posted is not exactly an answer. This is more a comment on the question. I understand that this may be confusing as you're not able to post comments yet. Once you've earned 50 reputation by posting good answers, then you can also comment on someone else's posts. Just post some good answers and you'll quickly earn enough reputation to post comments! See also How do comments work?

That's better than the following,

Dude. This isn't an answer. This is a comment. You must earn 50 rep first. Then you can post comments. Bye.

right? ;)

  • Awesome comment! Ummm, the first one, not the second. ;)
    – jmort253
    Oct 27 '12 at 0:57
  • Now, that's very polite.
    – Peachy
    Oct 28 '12 at 12:09
  • @Chichiray Thanks for the good link to "How do comments work?"
    – cadrell0
    Oct 29 '12 at 18:26

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