11

I frequently run into the problem on this site that I have a general idea of a solution to a problem, but I need extra information about the issue. However, I can't comment to ask for that information because I don't have enough reputation, so I'm unable to answer the question.

Why is such reputation required, when many people (I'm sure it's not just me) need this privilege to get the reputation in the first place?

15

Since the sites are open to anyone without registration, we need to restrict some functionality to users that have shown they understand how the site works and can write good questions and answers (instead of the aimless ranting regularly found in some other, more general, message boards).

Very new users that have no idea how the site works could abuse the ability to comment on questions to bother answerers with completely different problems. Some of us even have received emails like this, because our personal web site address was available from the user profile. Commenting does not lead to the topic being commented on being pushed to the front page, where others can review the new content and flag or down vote inappropriate or off-topic content. The ability to commenting anywhere is therefore restricted.

Only once you've shown that you understand how the site works and have some experience with it, further privileges (such as commenting, or voting to close, or editing all posts on the site) will be available, unlocked in the order of potential harm you can cause.

That this restricts the ability of new users to post e.g. answers to troubleshooting questions is unfortunate.


Commenting is open to newly registered users that have shown they understand how the Stack Exchange sites work on any of its sites (by gathering a few hundred reputation on another site) through a +100 reputation bonus. So it really is a privilege that all users should have, and that's why the requirement to get it is low, compared to other privileges.

  • On top of new users, it also reduces the avenues of attack for spam accounts. – Robotnik Oct 28 '14 at 20:18
8

You're 11 rep short of being able to comment. This isn't much. It takes …

  • 6 accepted edits that you propose
  • two upvotes
  • one accepted answer

You should be easily able to get even 50 reputation within one day. The most important thing is making your answers stand out from the others, by adding relevant links, using formatting, and maybe—in the beginning—trying to stick to popular topics which attract many views and therefore votes.

The main reason comments aren't unlocked from the beginning is that we'd like users to understand what they should be used for. Sometimes, comments are abused as chat, which clearly shouldn't happen, and they drift off into endless discussions, especially on very popular questions. This is why we require a certain understanding of the system before you're allowed to comment.

In fact, this applies to most of the privileges:

  • You can only comment with 50 rep, after you've seen how it works
  • You can always suggest edits, but you can only freely edit after 2k
  • You can see close votes on your questions, but you can only close after reaching 3k
  • 1
    You need 250 reputation to see close votes on your own questions. – gparyani Sep 19 '14 at 16:13

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