Anyone who has been on SO for any length of time has come across answers by new users that should be a comment. In a lot of cases these answers become downvoted and serves to discourage the user as well as slows the users progress towards being able to leave proper comments.

Can we lower the bar for new users to leave comments? The current scale of 50 is achievable with a few good questions or answers, but for a lot of users, leaving a comment is a way to "test the waters" here and the continual downvoting of these types of answers only drives new users away, rather than educating them.

  • @downvoter -> What the downvotes? – Robert H Jul 4 '13 at 14:31
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    Consider that the end result will be a flood of comments that have nothing to add (me too! how's the weather over there?). (queue hilarity...) – Oded Jul 4 '13 at 14:31
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    Just like that? No. 50 rep is really not that hard to get you can even just suggest good edits and gain it in few hours. – Shadow Wizard Wearing Mask Jul 4 '13 at 14:31
  • @Oded Very true ( I hadn't considered that ) – Robert H Jul 4 '13 at 14:32
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    Voting is different on meta – juergen d Jul 4 '13 at 14:32
  • I think we'd end up with lots of comments which should really be new questions e.g. I have a similar problem can you explain it in my slightly different case... – Robert Longson Jul 4 '13 at 14:32
  • @oded and others: I understand the concerns, but answers that new users provide for clarification are just as bad, in alot of cases, the answers have no value and need to be removed by a mod, or deleted by the user. If not a reputation change, than perhaps some other change can be made to lower the barrier for new users and encourage participation rather than punish it for misusing the limited permissions they have. – Robert H Jul 4 '13 at 14:36
  • The community can downvote and vote to delete equally well. The author or moderators do not need to be involved. And I see no need to lower boundaries for users who can't be bothered to follow the site's rules in the first place. Get your 50 rep and comment to your heart's content. – Bart Jul 4 '13 at 14:37
  • @bart It's the downvote that's the issue. A new user, someone who has not used stack before, or in a limited capacity, may take the downvote personally and discourage them from joining our community as an active member. That's what I want changed. Downvoting has it's place, but I don't feel that downvoting a new user because they don't have the required reputation to properly comment is appropriate. – Robert H Jul 4 '13 at 14:39
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    @RobertH They get the downvotes because they do something wrong. The solution for that....follow the site's rules and don't do something wrong. And if you do, lesson learned. If that upsets them enough to no longer participate.... – Bart Jul 4 '13 at 14:42
  • @bart We're driving new users away before they can learn the rules. If the every time you banged on some new code your mentor, teacher etc yelled at you, would you continue banging on code? Granted there needs to be initiative on the users part, but we all know not everyone RTFM the first time they visit the site... – Robert H Jul 4 '13 at 14:59
  • @RobertH Show me we're dealing with a significant problem here. Something which outweighs the negative side-effects of what you propose. Then we'd have something to discuss. But even then, if you don't read the manual, don't complain when you get caught doing something you could have known to be inappropriate. That's not our problem. Heck, even the About page all users are presented with informs them of this concept. stackoverflow.com/about – Bart Jul 4 '13 at 15:03
  • also see my answer to another dupe: meta.stackexchange.com/a/94976/147247 – Kate Gregory Jul 4 '13 at 15:06
  • That's why I propose a compromise: Allow anyone to comment but hide low-rep users' comments until reviewed – Tobias Kienzler Jul 4 '13 at 15:09
  • @Bart Unfortunately I can't spend the day looking for examples, especially when we've all come across them in the past. What I can say is that my suggestion may not be the best one, in fact it likely isn't, but that doesn't mean there is no way to help new users in this regard. Even a pop up box prior to the 50 reputation threshold to educate new users on appropriate answers prior to submission is likely a better option, but I'm not a usability expert so I may be mistaken. All I want to highlight is it is an apparent issue that may have a better way for us to handle. – Robert H Jul 4 '13 at 15:09

It's really not all that hard to get the 50 rep needed to comment anywhere.

Moderators like this policy because it keeps the little number in their toolbar low - spammers are (often) in low-rep accounts.

Also, if someone really wants to comment that bad, they can probably answer a question or two and get the needed reputation rather quickly. Spammers aren't known for their expertise in multithreaded iOS applications, and hence the rep barrier.

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    Could you clarify where you stand on this issue? The point you're trying to make seems to be lost in all the text. Perhaps make it stand out somehow. – Bart Jul 4 '13 at 15:00

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