I have seen many good comments that really improve the quality of questions and answers, and I think they deserve a bit of reputation (maybe just 1 point) for a upvote.
Rather than 1 point for a single up-vote on a comment perhaps if it was 1 point (or 5 points) for 10 or more up-votes that might work.
Having said that, I'm not in favour of rep for comments. It would change how they were seen and used. They are there to ask for clarification etc. and as such can become obsolete and should be deleted. If they earned reputation people might post even more "clever" comments to try to earn that reputation.
I'd only go for it if there were a really convincing argument that it would work.
I'd say no, you can go too far in refining a 'points system'.
I recently passed the magical 2000 rep mark, and can now edit other peoples questions and answers. There is no reputation gain for that either, and I find it quite refreshing to be able to do 'good' just for the sake of it, without thinking about reputation...
I do not believe that reputation should be given for comments. And this is coming from a guy who spends a lot of time posting comments that get voted up a lot. The content in comments tends more often to be of the witty/funny variety, or further clarification to questions that arise from other answers. I would say that most of the time the comments do not deserve any type of reputation gain.
Answers in comments
Comments are not supposed to contain answers, in any form. If you feel you have an answer to contribute then post it as an answer; in which case it will have all the usual voting you describe as wanting for a comment. Comments are to ask for clarification or point out a mistake.
Stack exchange vs forums
The whole Stack exchange system was envisioned to correct the problem of forums;
- The answer hidden somewhere in a long thread, possibly over multiple posts.
- Intermingled with questions to the OP (original poster) and clarifications from the OP
- Intermingled with wrong answers, probably with the wrong answers first
- Intermingled with arguments about which answer is best.
Stack exchange was designed to solve these problems with vote based free floating answers where the best answer floats to the top. Any attempt to encourage or reward posting answers in the comments is to return to that forum hell.
Requests for clarification etc are necessary, but they must not cloud the main event; the answers. So they are put somewhere out of the way; namely the comments
The effect of comment votes
Comment votes (apart from one badge) have only one effect; making the comment more visible by not hiding it and numerically showing its relevance. Given this what would a down vote serve, the comment is already eligible to be hidden if its not up voted so "not very important" and a comment can't be "wrong" because it shouldn't be an answer.
Reposting other peoples comments as answers
When someone has misunderstood the system, and posted an answer as a comment reposting it as an answer is a good thing to do (post as community wiki for guilt free helping), once it is a real answer it can be voted upon as such and so (if its a good answer) it will be up voted and float to the top. The same goes for when many comments together make a good answer (but in that case I probably wouldn't community wiki because real editorial work has been done)
We now have the Pundit silver badge for comment upvotes.
Check out Reversal and Pundit Badges
I agree in theory with the reasons others have given for not allowing this, however I often wonder if people post answers which are really comments because there's no rep available for comments. Example, the accepted answer on this question reads more like a comment than an answer.
I don't think you should get reputation for upvoting comments for several reasons:
- You can upvote but you can't downvote;
- Comments might improve the post but so do edits; and
- Most highly upvoted comments are humorous in nature.
(3) is particularly important here. For example, look at the second comment on Jon Skeet Facts: 231 upvotes for "Who the hell is Jon Skeet?". Now I don't mind comments like this and there aren't many of them (at least in part) because there is no reputation for them. I think you'd seen a lot more of them of lower quality if comments got reputation.
The fact is, sometimes the answer is very short, and you (who answer) don't want to create a real answer for a very short message that actually solve the problem of the Orignal Poster.
Some classic example are
"Check that there is no proxy on your outgoing request"
"Check the configuration for parameter X that should be Y"
I'd say yes, good comments should be rewarded of 1 reputation each 3-4 upvote, or at least the Original Poster shuould have the possibility to reward somehow a comment that actually solved his problem. Maybe by converting or copying the comment in an actual answer and accepting it.
I think that comments should get 10 points per 10 upvotes. This makes making good comments actually beneficial.
I also think that we need to do more with the comments. You should be able to see how many upvotes you get for comments and possibly show your best comments alongside questions and answer. Comments are really just commentary to answers, and people can make a lot of great commentary, which should be highlighted.