It seems like this came up in mid 2012 and again in late 2012. I think we should revisit it, though, now that things have changed.

Again today, when moderating Programmers, I came across a user who posted a question as an answer, and the post was flagged. I linked the user to the relevant parts of the tour and help center, indicating that Stack Exchange was not a traditional forum. However, it appeared that English may not have been this user's first language. If he reads these pages, he may not fully understand them and has no place to go to ask questions. I can understand not allowing new, low-rep accounts in chat, but I think that these users should have a place to go to ask questions about things they read in the help center without risking a question block by posting off-topic things on the main site and having them down voted and migrated to Meta.

Also consider that the amount of anti-spam measures and various other tools for handling problematic users have been greatly improved over the last year or so, and continue to improve. I'm not sure if all of these are turned on for metas, but doing so would help to alleviate problematic users on meta, coupled with moderator ability to suspend accounts.

Can we revisit the rep cap to post on per-site Metas? Alternatively, can we capture the specific reasons why SE imposes this restriction? I didn't see it explicitly outlined in the other questions, so if we better understand why, we can determine when the reasons for having this limit have been mitigated.

This is not a duplicate of A way for "new users" to ask about their post specifically.

This proposal is more generic. Lowering the reputation to ask on Meta would allow new users to have the ability to post on Meta before making a low quality post on the site. The other linked question proposes having the user ask a question first and then need to go ask about it later.

Although the other proposal has been implemented, I don't feel that it is sufficient. See my post there. It has a poor user experience and forces people into a fail-first state instead of what this solution proposes, which is to give them tools for success in a community early.


An example where the current rules hurt

A user who is new to the site (although they have participated on Stack Exchange before, but not yet enough to get the association bonus) is interested in a topic which is borderline for the site. How this topic is classified varies across the world. The user has done research before asking and concluded that while it isn't clear-cut, their question does seem to be acceptable. So it's a perfectly understandable that doubts on the topicality of the question would start in the comments. And since there's a debate, comments aren't a good place for it and the discussion should be held on meta.

But because the meta discussion was not initiated by the 1-rep asker using a very specific protocol, they cannot participate.

This is not a case of someone with no interest on or in the site. This is the case of someone who's trying to fit and who has something to contribute, but we're telling them that because they haven't jumped through the right hoops, they're not welcome.

My opinion on what to do

Set the minimum reputation limit to 1 on all meta sites. Anyone can participate, at least if they have an account (I think it's ok to forbid accountless answers on meta).

If and only if this turns out to be a problem that the existing mecahnisms for question and answer bans doesn't solve, then look for fancier solutions like requiring some prior participation on the main site, but weaker than requiring a question upvote (or two upvotes to compensate for a downvote). For example, a single non-deleted question with a net score of 0 should be enough of a “stake” to participate in meta.

Whatever the solution is, it should not require going through technical hoops. A user should be able to participate in a discussion about their own post even if they didn't initiate the discussion.

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