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If I go to a topic I haven't been to before, my reputation doesn't follow. No complaint--system can't tell whether I know anything about the topic.

But if I do know something, and I see an "answer" that's false. I can't comment on it. Yet I am allowed to post an "answer."

I know that I could wander around and provide some answers and build up the required fifty points, but that won't occur to everyone, and it's awfully hard to leave a falsehood uncorrected.

I don't understand why someone who can't be trusted to comment on an answer can be trusted to provide an answer. And I suspect this results in a lot of "answers" that are not really answers.

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    Yet you are not the only one here on the site, there are people with enough rep who can take care of that. Just focus on writing good answers until you get 50 points.
    – Mohammad
    Jan 22, 2014 at 18:03
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    But if you have more than 200 rep on any site, you are given 100 rep (association bonus) on any other site you join. The 100 rep gives you all the basic privileges you would need. Reach the 200 rep limit and your problem will be resolved.
    – Josh Mein
    Jan 22, 2014 at 18:15
  • Ah, yes. Perhaps I should browse more. I'm not in here much because most of my questions are easily figured out by myself. :-)
    – WGroleau
    Jan 22, 2014 at 18:29

2 Answers 2

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Answers can be downvoted. Comments can not.

You only really need knowledge of a subject matter to post an answer, whereas knowledge of what comments are for and how they should be used is more SO-specific.

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    Answers can also be edited and easily rolled back to previous versions. Comments cannot.
    – ale
    Jan 22, 2014 at 18:04
  • OK, makes sense. (Though in today's case, if I recall correctly, the incorrect answer had not been challenged in two years.)
    – WGroleau
    Jan 22, 2014 at 18:10
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    Also, all answers/questions by new users are reviewed stackoverflow.com/review; comments aren't (that I know of anyways) Jan 22, 2014 at 18:11
  • 2
    New answers also bump a question to the Active tab, making them more visible and subject to review, comments do not. Jan 22, 2014 at 18:11
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If you see a question with only one answer, and it is incorrect, the first thing you should be doing regardless of rep is providing a correct answer, assuming you know it. Commenting or voting should be secondary. If there are good answer(s) along with the bad answers, presumably the community will vote the good one(s) up and the bad one down.

StackExchange in general is about questions and answers, not comments. The system is set up, intentionally, to encourage you to participate in asking and answering questions first and foremost. Once you've proven you can do that, you are allowed to do the other, less-important things like commenting. Note that once you've done that sufficiently on one site, you are given 100 rep (association bonus) on every other site upon joining, as it's assumed you have figured things out and know to answer questions and understand how the site works.

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  • I provided almost a correct answer--which was that to the best of my knowledge, the exact thing that was asked couldn't be done, but that the other answer was incorrect both in telling a way to do something other than what was asked, and in stating that unnecessary complications were necessary to do what it did offer.
    – WGroleau
    Jan 22, 2014 at 18:27

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