I registered years ago. It's super annoying that you can't do anything without "reputation". You can't comment. Can't answer questions. Even worse the reputation is separate by different stackexchange sites...

Since I'm not a question or answer spammer. This cements me to never being able to comment on anything and being able to answer questions which require some reputation. I can't even vote. I can't do anything useful outside asking my own questions, to be honest.

Many times I would have like to be able to comment on an answer. (To add to it, or to ask for some clarification) Of course I can't. And won't ever be able to.

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    You can always answers questions - there is no reputation bar for that, so - what exactly are you talking about? Can you be more specific? – Oded Jan 20 '17 at 12:31
  • "I can't do anything useful outside asking my own questions, to be honest" - so suggesting edits to other peoples posts is nothing useful? You can do that (and gain 2 rep for every approved edit - up to 1,000 reputation points which gets you to level where you can do everything you are lamenting about here). – Oded Jan 20 '17 at 12:33
  • Most recently I saw this question: superuser.com/questions/211011/… Because rakaloof's solution is not the full solution, I wanted to comment on it. I couldn't. So I wanted to answer, which I also couldn't because it requires a rep of 10. (PS: For replacing with numbers you need ?{n} for it to work...) – mzso Jan 20 '17 at 12:33
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    Last comment - what do you want to discuss (given that's the tag you chose)? I see a rant, not anything productive to discuss here. – Oded Jan 20 '17 at 12:33
  • Reputation is seperated but you will get +100 association bonus on each site if you get 200 rep on any of the site granting the basic accessibility on every site. – Abhishek Gurjar Jan 20 '17 at 12:34
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    Again - that is not correct. You do not require reputation in order to answer questions. Where did you get the idea that you do? – Oded Jan 20 '17 at 12:35
  • Also see here meta.stackexchange.com/questions/17204/… – Abhishek Gurjar Jan 20 '17 at 12:35
  • @mzso that question is protected, which usually happens exactly because new users have been posting low quality, spam or otherwise non-answers. Most questions however have no reputation requirement to answer. – Cai Jan 20 '17 at 12:35
  • @Oded Some questions have reputation bars... A rep of 1000 is so hilariously outside the realm of possibility, that I guess you meant that as a joke. – mzso Jan 20 '17 at 12:35
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    @mzso - what are you talking about? What reputation bar? There is no reputation bar to post questions or answers. – Oded Jan 20 '17 at 12:36
  • @Oded "what do you want to discuss" Well someone could answer why is it like this? I see zero gain, only handicaps. – mzso Jan 20 '17 at 12:37
  • You still need to explain your "why is it like this" - because you seem to say that asking and answering require reputation. Which is wrong. So, you seem to be coming from a wrong assumption and asking us why things are like that. Can you explain exactly what the "is it" that you mean which actually matches reality? – Oded Jan 20 '17 at 12:38
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    If you are simply saying - "I want to be able to participate in my way, without the rules here that say I first need to give something first", then we are not interested. – Oded Jan 20 '17 at 12:49
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    @mzso You see that diamond next to Oded's name? That means he's a moderator here (an employee of the company in fact) so 'ignorant spamming' is very much not what he is doing. – JonW Jan 20 '17 at 12:51
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    No, most do not. There is a specific (very narrow) situation - protected questions. Those are the only ones and the limitation is there to prevent "drive by" answers. It is only ever 10 reputation (which, again, is a minimal limit, easy to gain). You have claimed all answers - you did not in any way or form indicate these are the specific protected questions. Blaming others for not understanding the issue because you did not explain it properly is... well. Whatever. – Oded Jan 20 '17 at 12:57

Stack Exchange is meritocratic. Users get a few powers at first, then more if they show that they are knowledgeable.

The engine was created this way to control quality. It was always meant to be a site for people who knew what they were talking about - experts or enthusiast amateurs.

I believe your concern is that, as a casual user, you believe you will never get the required points and privileges to make yourself useful (unable to comment, unable to answer "protected" questions, etc).

It has already been pointed out in comments that you can earn some rep by making edits. If you do this, please make sure they are good edits.

The fastest way to get points, though, is to answer questions. Do not underestimate yourself! There is bound to be something on the network that you can answer! Maybe it's on Anime & Manga, maybe it's on Electronics, maybe it's on Seasoned Advice.... but it's there.

Alternatively, you can ask questions. If you can post a well-researched question on a popular subject, you can also build up reputation. Something you wondered about in your favorite TV show? Try Movies & TV. Something you need solved in a video game? Try Arqade. There's bound to be something that interests you, that hasn't been asked yet.

So why would you ask or answer questions about, for example, cooking... if you want to comment on Super User? Because if you get 200 points on any Stack Exchange site, you will get a +100 bonus on the other sites - relieving most of the restrictions.

I admit that this means you'd have to be a little more than a casual user, at least for a short while. But you can do this - and have some fun in the process too. Keep track of the subjects that already interest you, and at some point, something's going to turn up that you can answer.

  • A saner way would be to allow commenting and give rights based on upvotes on that. One can dream. The way it is I need to make up questions even if I have nothing to ask. Or try to answer mostly answered questions. (Because most are) – mzso Jan 20 '17 at 12:54
  • @mzso Don't assume that everything's been answered. The "entertainment" stacks can be your friend here. There's always a new videogame, manga or movie that raises questions. On Science Fiction & Fantasy they also allow "identification" questions. These are the "does anybody know which story this is" type. Keep track of them and at one point you'll get lucky, and be the person who can identify a book or movie. – S.L. Barth - Reinstate Monica Jan 20 '17 at 13:00
  • Ultimately what it burns down to is that I have to put in substantial effort just to get some basic functionality. Hence the bias against casual users. – mzso Jan 20 '17 at 13:01
  • @mzso You'll have to make some effort, that is true. This is deliberate - the target audience is experts, not casual users. The key is - have fun doing it. Just browse the new questions on subjects that interest you already. At some point, there will be something that you can answer - and it's very rewarding when you are the one who helped someone solve a problem! – S.L. Barth - Reinstate Monica Jan 20 '17 at 13:12
  • OK, @mzso, how do you suggest that the system discriminates between the occasional 'casual user with a good question' and the thousands of spammers, deadbeats, idiots, trolls and all legions of other categories of casual abusers, [for they are many]? – Martin James Jan 20 '17 at 13:43
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    @mzso You consider posting one answer that one person thinks is useful to be "substantial effort"? – Servy Jan 20 '17 at 15:42
  • @Servy To be fair, that is the requirement for a case that my post doesn't really discuss - the 10 points needed to answer a "protected" question. I'll consider editing it in. For a new(ish) user, the 200 points threshold that I discuss may appear insurmountably high. – S.L. Barth - Reinstate Monica Jan 20 '17 at 16:16

Stackoverflow, and every single site of the SE network share one similarity, and that is that they're all Q&A-sites (Question-and-Answer-sites).

Being able to both ask questions and provide answers means that you do have access to the core features of this network.

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