The title of my question could look weird at the first sight, but I will explain it to you.

Recently, I’ve seen a user that posted an answer to an old question, but their answer was actually a clarification question on an existing answer. Then, a moderator converted their “answer” to a comment under the real answer, because the non-answer was otherwise valuable. The answerer replied to that comment to ask back the new user about something. Nevertheless, the new user was unable to comment back with the reply to their comment. Very depressing situation.

So I would like to suggest allow the users to post a comment if they have one comment there. This could prevent such odd behavior.

  • 12
    Too many edge cases. Moderator conversions to comments are rare, and this would allow users with only 15+ rep to comment by flagging the question as a duplicate (and thus posting an automatic "possible duplicate of" comment). Also, what should be done on posts where the user commented with 50 rep, but subsequently lost the rep? Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 19:58
  • @SonictheIntrovertedHedgehog I don’t see a problem that user may comment on posts where he already commented before, even if he lost rep. What wrong can be happened? Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:06
  • 1
    For a long time, it was possible for 15+ rep users to comment by posting an answer that was "trivial" and would be auto-converted into a comment, then editing the comment. SE felt it was important enough to plug that hole. Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:09
  • @SonictheIntrovertedHedgehog since auto-converting is not possible anymore (if I understand you correctly) what could go wrong in case of implementing the FR? Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:14
  • 6
    I can see this being useful only in a few extremely narrow situations. This sounds like a feature that will be abused more than correctly used.
    – Picachieu
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:14
  • Automatic "trivial answer" questions do still happen, but the user is unable to edit those comments. Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:16
  • @SonictheIntrovertedHedgehog good point then. I need to think out this information. Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 20:17
  • This would also go against the spirit of having commenting as a privilege in the first place. Bluntly put, we can't be sure users with less than 50 rep will use the comments responsibly or the way they're supposed to be used here. NAA to comment conversions happen in <1% of NAAs, and perhaps only 1 percent of those comments are responded to, and 1 percent of the low rep posters ever see the comment to need to respond back.
    – M.A.R.
    Commented Jan 23, 2019 at 22:44

2 Answers 2


A moderator converting an answer into a comment is not the only way by which users without the commenting privilege can comment. The other ways are:

  • Posting a "trivial answer" that is short and consists of an internal link to somewhere else on the same site, which the system will automatically convert to a comment
  • Flagging to close a question as a duplicate, which leaves an automatic "Possible duplicate of" comment

If this request is implemented as you've currently proposed it, it would allow users without the required rep to post comments by just...intentionally triggering the "trivial answer" script, or flagging to close the question as a duplicate of some random question then retracting the flag.

You might think that it's rare for one of those scenarios to occur, but you'd be wrong. In the past, there existed a loophole where users without commenting privileges could post comments by triggering the "trivial answer" script, then editing the comment. SE felt it was important enough to plug that hole and prevent such users from editing those comments. (It was only then that SE decided to allow such users the ability to flag as duplicate; it previously required the ability to comment due to the automatic comment.)

Additionally, moderator conversions of answers are by themselves rare. Most non-answers are reviewed by normal community members who do not have this ability, and it's also rare for post authors to reply back to such comments.

Thus, while I agree that this feature would be useful under this specific scenario, it has too many potential pitfalls, and the scenario is pretty rare. In my opinion, the moderator guidance should be modified to say that the conversion feature should only be used for statements, not questions; the moderator should have left a comment about needing to attain the required privilege and subsequently deleted the answer.


How about no. The rep limit exists for a reason, to prevent comments being used for posting what should not be posted, as low rep users are statistically more likely to do it. If every 1-rep user can circumvent limit by posting a non-answer, it will be annoyence to users because everyone will be pinging them with random "please help" requests. If answerer really wants to receive feedback from everyone, he can post contact info in their profile. There're also chatrooms with explicit access to solve "the new user unable to comment back" problem.

If any feature is needed there, it is to start using conversion to comments less frequently, because it serves no purpose other then preserving trash (not to mention the result of such conversion is often an unreadable mess).

About that particular question, "because the non-answer was otherwise valuable" - how on earth it is valuable? A guy asks a vague question "how do i steal protected content from website", with no real problem statement besides "download manager does not see it". What's benefit of having it on the site? The fact that RU SO is being used to publish content-stealing recipes you don't consider depressing?

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