I've been trying to participate in StackOverflow but keep getting messages about how I need "more reputation points". The only way to get more points is to ask questions, which seems kind of dumb. Wouldn't you want to reward people for answering questions?

Anyway, it would be nice if users that sign-up could bring over reputation from other tech communities like Hacker News or github or better yet, change your reputation system so people like me who want to help by adding comments can do so. Maybe you could start me out with 20 points and if I make dumb comments that get down-voted, I loose my commenting privileges.

  • Currently, comments can't be down-voted, and up-voting them doesn't result in reputation gain. This isn't HN! :) Jul 10, 2009 at 23:08
  • note: should be "lose" not "loose" ;-) [not enough rep here to edit typo] Jul 11, 2009 at 7:58
  • here's a +1 for the question to get you started! Jul 11, 2009 at 7:59

1 Answer 1


You can answer questions with reputation of 1. If you answer well, you will get voted up and earn reputation. SO rep. is designed to be a level of trust from the SO community.

  • 1
    Exactly...commenting != answering the question. If you have an answer, there shouldn't be anything stopping you from adding it! Jul 10, 2009 at 23:04
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    I disagree. People can add value to a question by adding good comments to answers. Often times I've seen the question partially answered, but only wanted to add a comment to elaborate on that persons answer (like, "I tried that but it doesn't quite work on OS X 10.5, do this instead...") instead of adding a duplicate or similar answer. I think it would be wise to leave commenting on for new users, but take away their commenting privileges if they post too much drivel or spam. Jul 10, 2009 at 23:08
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    @Brad: Agreed. The barrier to entry (50 rep) for comments is very low. One or two decent answers will do it for you.
    – JP Alioto
    Jul 10, 2009 at 23:14
  • I suppose that's fair. Its just kind of strange and annoying starting off in a community where you're not trusted. Comments seem more benign then providing a completely wrong or stupid answer. Jul 10, 2009 at 23:21
  • I think this teaches users to take the site seriously from the start. It doesn't take long to build a little rep - provides a goal, and you have a little time to see the tone of more experienced users.
    – Argalatyr
    Jul 11, 2009 at 1:39
  • Comments are easier than answers, and they have less oversight since you can't vote them down in the same fashion so they would be more susceptible to spam and abuse Jul 11, 2009 at 2:18
  • Plus, there are tons of Git questions, you will zoom up in rep. right away. :)
    – JP Alioto
    Jul 11, 2009 at 3:05

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