I'm a new user with insufficient points to comment. Although I try to answer questions, I notice that sometimes I don't understand the question very well and want to ask for more input. The problem is I can only ask that as an awnser, which gives me downvotes...

So maybe an option like "more input needed" can be set. If that has much votes the question can be closed temporary until more info is given.


3 Answers 3


Although I try to answer questions, I notice that sometimes I don't understand the question very well and want to ask for more input.

There are two common causes for this:

  1. You don't know the topic very well. Use this as an opportunity to do some research, and learn more about it! You may still not be able to answer the question, but you'll have gained knowledge and experience - nothin' wrong with that.
  2. The asker did a poor job of relaying their problem or the scenario in which it occurs. There are an awful lot of poorly-asked questions on Stack Overflow. Unless you strongly suspect you might be able to help, don't waste your time on them - instead, find a different question and answer that instead.

Once you've gained enough reputation to comment, you'll still find yourself in the scenario where your comments are ignored by askers. So it's good to get in the habit early on of focusing on questions where your attention can do the most good.

One last bit of advice for when you do gain the commenting privilege: avoid the temptation to drop "guess answers" into comments. If you think you might know what the problem is, describe that in an answer - and then provide the solution. If the asker accepts your answer, then you guessed right - go back and edit the question to clarify the problem! This will be a lot more likely to help others in the future than a comment would be.


That already happens. Questions can be closed if they don't have sufficient information to be answered. You need 3k reputation to vote to close, but you can flag a question as "unclear what you're asking" to bring it to the attention of those who can vote to close it.

  • You need 15 rep to flag, however. Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 19:32
  • 2
    Actually, you need 50 rep to flag for closure, @Jan - so while this is good advice in general, it's not particularly useful for folks who can't comment... Folks with at least 15 rep can flag egregiously-bad questions as "Very Low Quality" though.
    – Shog9
    Commented Jan 13, 2014 at 20:13

I know it's frustrating, but you need only two things: 1) patience; 2) goodwill;

Very often I see <50 rep users writing comments as answer, and justify themself saying: "I can't comment, that's why I comment anyway using the space reserved for answer. It's not my fault, they are hindering me from commenting, so I thought it was the right thing to do to comment nonetheless". Which is clearly wrong, as you can see. That's why you get downvoted, although usually I prefer to throw OP a comment and sometime flag it as Not an answer, rather than downvoting for such a naive actione.

I know it seems like being trapped inside a loop, but you need to be patient and make a little effort. Afterall, 50 rep isn't a giant step: an handful of good edits (+2 each), a good answer to simple questions (which, don't know in other places, but in the PHP tag means 2 or 3 upvotes. Write "Use PDO instead of Mysql, which is deprecated" and you get your 50 points right away :D - Hey, I'm joking on this, mind you), ask a good question and accept the answer you're given, and you're up to 50 without even noticing.

That's how everyone starts, really. One step at a time, and if you follow the rules and SO netiquette, you're even sheltered from donvotes that take away your precious rep.

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