Every time I look through the list of posts by new users I see a number of "answers" that read something along the lines of:

Hi have you got any solutions for this?

My normal response to this is to flag the post and ask the user to post this as a comment instead of an answer, but I just checked the FAQ and realised I've been giving out shoddy advice - its not possible to post a comment until you have 50 rep.

I just wondered what the reason for this is? Could new users be allowed to post comments (perhaps only on questions?)


2 Answers 2


As it says in the /faq, new users can post comments on their own questions and answers, as well as any answers to questions they own.

Beyond that you can refer to my previous answer on this topic.

New users can't ask for clarifications except as answers


(This is a duplicate of this post, but for some reason that one was marked with an answer that doesn't even seem to address the question, and I can't find any other duplicates at the moment)

I think the main reason this isn't supported is there's no way to downvote comments, which would make them attractive to spammers. If somebody comments on the top answer in a question the only way to get rid of it is for six people to flag it. Comment flags don't show up on 10k tools, so it needs to be six people that happen to stumble across the spam comment, or a moderator that checks the list manually. People can comment every 15 seconds, so that can get out of hand pretty quickly. Comments also aren't listed on the user's profile page, so it's hard to see at a glance if a user has been spamming

All that said, I think this should be tried anyway, because people misusing the answer box is hard to fix too -- I generally flag for mod attention and the post just gets deleted, which is unfortunate; if the post is especially useful I might manually make it a comment myself first so the information isn't lost. People also don't realize they're doing anything wrong, because features unavailable to the user tend to be completely hidden, so users with insufficient rep don't even see any indication that it's possible to add comments (unless the post already has comments, but then they get confused and end up asking how to comment). There's been proposals in the past to allow translating posts to comments (and vice-versa), but they've not gone over well

  • I hadn't realised that comment flags don't appear for 10k users - in itself that would be a good feature / thing to fix.
    – Justin
    Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 7:55
  • Comments are shown on the "activity" tab, and we do keep a broad eye on the comments flags. If something is too off-the-wall, you can always flag for moderator attention. Commented Nov 8, 2010 at 9:41

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