Recently I was informed that a new user on this site needed 50 rep to comment, because of protection against-spammers.

My proposal is to change the error message that the new user gets. How about displaying an error message like

"50 rep needed due to protection against spammers"


"50 rep needed to comment. (due to anti-spam measures)"

Reasons for the need of this change:

  1. It will prevent the new user getting irritated, and he will stop asking himself, why the site lets him answer, and not to comment.

  2. I learned that it's very common in Meta that people come and complain about it. The change of error message will stop people coming here and complain about it.

  • -11 eleven votes without any comment ?!? A very, very bad attitude! Shame on you Meta users! :[ – trejder Jan 15 '14 at 11:02

No, this will just change the nature of the complaints. Instead of saying "the site won't let me comment" they will say "can I turn this off, because I'm not a spammer."

The point of requiring 50 rep is that it is something that requires enough effort that spammers are unwilling to go to the trouble.

And the reason this is important for comments as opposed to answers is because answers are much more visible - there are automatic low quality detections, and the community as a whole is very proactive about down-voting and flagging in order to protect the quality of the site. Comments are 2nd class citizens and often can stay around for quite a while before they've been flagged and/or removed. Comments also can't bump questions to the front page, like a new spam answer would, which makes it harder for people to notice that an undesirable comment has been added.

New users who haven't bothered to read the FAQ or visit the Help Center (where much of this is explained) can get that additional information from there. Or they can come to meta and ask about it - and we can promptly point them at a duplicate (such as this one or this one).

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