In general I like the reputation system, but personally 50 seems too high to be able to comment on other people's answers. I want to contribute. I want to dabble a toe in the water. Yet my only options are: ask a question, or find a question that I can answer that doesn't already have a good, complete answer.

Often I see existing answers that I would happily comment on, to improve them. Starting a whole new answer seems like the wrong thing.

Just saying.

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    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/51408/…
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 6:02
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    hi u know in cmments itz hard 2 type U know what u mean?? reply me plz asap! .... Ya know, I kind of like things the way that they are :)
    – user50049
    Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 8:32
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    you know, it's been 4 months, and I still don't have 50 reputation (although ironically I have 91 here on meta). I was about to ask a CSS question, and I discover that it's essentially already asked: stackoverflow.com/questions/1147182/… So, what do I want to do - comment on the correctness of the answer (as in, I've verified it myself). But...no can do. The 50 rep limit is bizarre. Or it's too hard to get rep. Or, I'm just not the sort of user stackoverflow wants. Commented Oct 19, 2010 at 5:24
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    It's funny, I just keep hitting this issue again and again - perhaps because I keep flitting into new stackexchanges where my reputation starts at 1. Here's what I think's going on. - The current system works well for high quality answerers: people who visit an SE to answer questions. They show up, answer a few questions, and get instant rep. - It doesn't work for askers: people who show up with questions, particularly ones that have been asked before. You don't want to ask a new question, you want to comment on existing ones. Or vote them up. Or lots of other things you can't do. Commented Nov 26, 2010 at 3:58
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    I tried to upvote this question, but that requires a minimum reputation of 15, and as reputation doesn't carry over from one StackExchange site to another, couldn't do it. However, I can comment, and would like to say I agree that a reputation limit of 50 is too high. Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 5:26
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    @TeL: actually, if you link your SE accounts, you get a reputation bonus of 100 points. That is certainly enough to get you started with minimal frustration...
    – thkala
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 8:24
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    @thkala: I have a few Stack Exchange accounts, and they are associated with one another, as they're all listed in my profile. However, I never got any bonus points when I created a new associated account. I looked into this, and the first answer to this question says that at least one of one's accounts has to have at least 200 points for the linking to result in a gain of 100 further points. Commented Mar 5, 2012 at 20:13
  • I am totally in agreement, however I am also totally confused ... I have 1 reputation, and it's letting me not only comment here for some reason, but it will NOT let me upvote until I get 15 reputation. To be completely honest, I am completely baffled as to why such a strange reputation system would be in place that doesn't let you do anything until you've done anything! I plan to contribute a lot, but I want to be able to do so by upvoting and commenting also! 90% of the answers that I've read are crap (not this one) and I want to tell people how to improve them! </rant> Commented Aug 13, 2014 at 15:51

6 Answers 6


The intent is to encourage new users to avoid commenting since the site's focus is questions and answers.

Further, it helps reduce the spam/offensive/offtopic comment load.

It only takes 5 answers with an upvote each to get past this small hurdle, though. This can be accomplished in a day for most users.

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    >This can be accomplished in a day for most users. Not to be too snarky, but is that a statistical answer, or a guess? It seems the justification is based on "comments = chit chat", whereas my initial remark was based on "comments = answer clarification/improvement". Maybe you're right and I'm just optimistic. (btw, why did I end up with the name "user135637") Commented Jun 22, 2010 at 2:53
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    > "This can be accomplished in a day for most users." - I'd certainly dispute this comment as well. Particularly when you've got other things to do. @user135637 - May be you've not entered a name in your profile?
    – MrWhite
    Commented Jul 30, 2010 at 9:27
  • > "This can be accomplished in a day for most users." - that may be true on StackOverflow for most, but it's certainly not true on less-trafficated sites such as The Great Outdoors.
    – gerrit
    Commented Nov 16, 2012 at 16:46
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    When a new user appears on the site, they usually do so because they already have a problem and google brought them to an answer that may be related but doesn't fix their problem. If they see "Add a comment" right below an answer that seems helpful, they will not post a new question, they will post their question as a comment. New users need to learn how to ask a question using the appropriate mechanism before they are permitted to comment on other people's contributions. New sites typically have lower thresholds for many things, perhaps this is one that ought to be changed for them as well.
    – Pollyanna
    Commented Nov 20, 2012 at 19:50

I originally thought this too, and I did have trouble getting my first 50 rep. (basically I browsed things for a week before I answered enough questions/asked enough to get 50 rep.)

But, that being said, if people with one rep could comment then that would mean anonymous first time users could. This is not good. Along with the extra spam and offensive/offtopic comments, new people may start seeing this as more of a discussion site with Q&A being the topic. This is definitely not wanted. The focus of SO should be questions and answers. Comments should only be there to get clarification on a question or answer. (or to add humor sometimes, or just plain make an offside comment).

I say it'd be safe to make the rep requirement as little as 10 or 5 or something, but letting anonymous new users comment immediately is bad because there are still way too many new people that think of this as some "biig aws0m3 m0d 0f phpbb"

And also more importantly, if I had been able to comment then I would have ended up giving a lot of answers as comments rather than answers. I still do this sometimes..


Bear in mind that even with 1 rep you can always comment on your own posts, and any answers to your questions, as per the /faq link at the top of the page.

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    However his situation is more about commenting on other answers than his, to participate.
    – Gnoupi
    Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 6:25
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    @gnoupi right, but until you've dipped your toe into participating with your own answers (and maybe questions) you haven't really earned the right to comment on others' stuff. Commented Jun 15, 2010 at 7:02
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    On the other side of things, we end up with people posting an answer to something, when it should be a comment, then getting berated by the community for not understanding the difference. (Probably by people who don't realize that there is a 50-rep limit.) So their first interaction on the site ends up being negative. Commented Jun 24, 2010 at 19:54
  • Good lord, 2 years on, and Jeff's comment above still rankles. "You haven't really earned the right to comment", good grief. Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 5:10
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    @steve the primary output of a Q&A system is Q and A, not comments. If your goal is to improve the Q or A, click the "edit" or "improve" link; that requires only 1 reputation. Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 8:11
  • But newcomers to a community want to dip a toe in the water: comment, see how that goes, then try something bolder next time. Are you still afraid that SO is going to degenerate into some sort of chatty webforum? :) (Me, I like seeing an answer with 3 "yes, I can confirm this works" comments - much more convincing than a bunch of upvotes.) Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 13:36
  • @SteveBennet Hello from the future! The answer is yes.
    – bjb568
    Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 13:47
  • Good to know. Heh. Commented Aug 28, 2014 at 14:30

Imagine a parallel universe where anyone who found SO could start commenting on any question / answer that ever was, and disks gained mass with every byte that was written to them.

Now watch the servers running Stack Exchange fall directly through the floor, through the foundation, through the ground and directly into the center of the earth.

Allowing new users to leave comments on anything, right away .. could put our very planet in great peril.

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    I'm not sure how much irony to read into your answer. Just came here to bitch once more. Tried to vote down an incorrect comment on someone's question (back on stackoverflow)......and failed. You need 125 reputation for that. sigh. Commented Nov 17, 2010 at 6:06

I am now changing my opinion on the 50-point comment privilege -- it is time to make comments "cheaper".

Every day I see a handful of answers flagged Not an Answer because a new user is asking helpful questions of the poster. They invariably get a downvote, delete votes are cast, and unfriendly comments are posted. There's no need for these hurt feelings.

I propose we allow logged-in-users to post comments; perhaps rate limit them to 3*reputation comments per day until they hit 50. Make their comments super easy to remove (only one flag rather than the two or three that's usually required). Make the /review page show comments by users under 50 reputation. (They're short, it'd be easy to review a hundred at a go.)

  • Almost every one of those flags is already on an answer by a non-registered user with 1 rep, if we opened this up to solve that problem, you'd have to effectively opening the floodgates to everyone...that would end quite badly with very little benefit (since most of those answers wouldn't useful comments either). Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 10:51
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    @Nick: Granted, the plz code gimme crowd will likely always be annoying and mechanisms to drown them out are welcome. However, every day I see several useful members of our community smack into this rule. Rather than sending answers to a review queue for mods and 10k+ users, why not let any 500 or 1k user delete a comment made by low-rep users in one go?
    – sarnold
    Commented Feb 28, 2012 at 10:58

If you have good answers and able to improve other answers, you will not face a problem to gain 50.

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    Those aren't the same thing. In particular, if you're not the first person to get to a question, and one person has answered about 80% of the question, I thought it would be better to comment rather than re-answer. Maybe I'm misunderstanding. Commented Jun 22, 2010 at 2:50

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