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When a new member tries to write a comment he sees “add comment (requires 50 reputation)” but of course he has no so many points. On the other hand, answering does not require any reputation. Then the only option is to mask the comment as an answer, but it may look silly. I think this is not the right policy, as new members may be discouraged to contribute to the discussions, even if they have some interesting and valuable remarks.

(By the way, the same situation is in math.stackexchange.)

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    $\begingroup$ I think the system is fine: acquire some reputation by contributing some questions or answers, and only then start to comment $\endgroup$ – Yemon Choi Aug 17 '13 at 17:27
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    $\begingroup$ If you really have a burning desire to comment on a post, add your comment as an answer and flag for moderator attention. The moderators will convert your answer to a comment. $\endgroup$ – François G. Dorais Aug 17 '13 at 23:22
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    $\begingroup$ Meta-advice ... Participate in the site for a month or two, and ONLY THEN suggest changes in the way it works. $\endgroup$ – Gerald Edgar Aug 18 '13 at 12:53
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There are several related reasons, but a main one is simply spam protection An answer bumps and thus it will get visibility. A comment not. If everybody could post comments right away they couuld spam the site (with actual spam or just nonsense) and it might take much longer until it is noticed.

There is also the issu that if you give brand new users the ability to ask, answer, and comment there could be still more confusion for some which is for which type of contribution.

I see the issue that it can be limiting not to be able to comment, but if the comment feels important give it as an answer (and add that you are doing so because you cannot comment to avoid the 'looking stupid'.) It is now even possible for moderators to turn answers into comments so this is now even less of a problem. (But, please, really only if it is important.)

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    $\begingroup$ 50 rep. points is a pretty low threshold anyway. If you are already registered with any other Stack Exchange forum, you start at 101 just after opening a new forum account. I would say, that is the lowest "spam protection" setting that still makes sense :). $\endgroup$ – fedja Aug 18 '13 at 16:04
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    $\begingroup$ @fedja yes it is not a very high barrier, but I think in particular for infrequent users it can still be an issue. Because if one does not visit frequently many of the questions one sees already are answered but one might still have some additional remark that might make a good comment but not really a new answer. To be precise, let me add that it is not sufficient to be registered with an other site, but one needs 200 (or perhaps 201) points on another site. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Aug 18 '13 at 16:17
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, of course. I should have said "registered and minimally active". Just registering on 2 forums at once shouldn't be an easy bypass of the "spam safeguards" :). One could, probably, introduce the "approval" requirement for the new users instead but we are already getting "approve changes" notifications in higher amounts than I'm willing to process on some days (fortunately, there are kinder souls out there). $\endgroup$ – fedja Aug 18 '13 at 16:25
  • $\begingroup$ There is a feature request to that extent on meta.SO meta.stackexchange.com/questions/186954/… Yes sometimes the reviewing is a nuissance in particular since one is called to it by this highly visible thing...hard to ignore, but then in general it feels like a useful activity so it is not so bad. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Aug 18 '13 at 17:07
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Well since you advice posting as an answer and saying that it's only a comment I will do it. As many commenters said, for infrequent user that is a quite bad threshold. The issue is in many topics I have a thing to bring to the discussion, but not a real answer.

So I try to post my comment as an answer saying first that I don't have enough reputation to comment. But many times I've been welcome by a "It's not because you apologize and explain that it's right to do the wrong thing". Oh yeah then what? I ask about 12 questions of which I already know the answer to hope and get enough upvotes to get my 50 reps? looks a bit weird.

So I'll get to the point of how it should be changed in my opinion, now tell me if there's anyone I can suggest this to. So many of you said it was spam protection. But that actually is nonsense, since it only requires a 0 rep account to post questions and answers. So if you really want to spam, you can do so by over answering... Sure that will be deleted by down votes and so on, but so will comments. And answers have MUCH more visibility than comments do =/ So if anything, the rep limit should indeed be 50, on that I agree, but not to comment, to answer. This way a spammer will get less visibility, and someone like me that just wants to throw his 2 cents on the subject can do it =/

For example there's a very interesting subject on StackOverflow about a new coding idiom found by a user for which I have found a way to enhance the security but people won't consider it as an answer and I can't comment, so I'm stuck not being able to share what I found :(

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    $\begingroup$ "So many of you said it was spam protection. But that actually is nonsense, since it only requires a 0 rep account to post questions and answers." Yes. But did you read my answer for example. The key point is: " If everybody could post comments right away they couuld spam the site (with actual spam or just nonsense) and it might take much longer until it is noticed." When somebody posts a spam answer or question it is annoying for a brief time but then it gets deleted quickly. By contrast some spam comments on a post of an inactive acount could stay there for a very long time. $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 25 '14 at 21:34
  • $\begingroup$ Indeed, well I posted my suggestion on the Meta StackExchange aware of this. I tried to figure out a solution which was to add the 50 rep limit for answers (as I suggest here) but ALSO to add a "report as spam" button alongside comments so that people can report it as a spam. After 5 reports it would be reviewed or maybe directly deleted. Of course, a group of trolls could come over and mark many comments as spam that are not WHICH is why the spam report should require a minimum reputation too (50 our 75 seems appropriate). Well that needs to change quickly anyhow, up to them to decide how ! $\endgroup$ – DevilBlackDeath Jul 25 '14 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ What I am surprised with is that I'm trying to make the best I can to integrate, and still get harsh comments and down votes =/ This is a reaction that is professional looking but actually is totally non-professional. Guys I do want to give what I have to give, but I'm silenced by how the system is built. Well at least I've tried ! $\endgroup$ – DevilBlackDeath Jul 26 '14 at 0:02
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    $\begingroup$ The reason spam comments might stay around is not that they are hard to report, but that they are hard to even notice. Only the author of the post that is commented on would get notified, while a spam question or answer would appear on the front page where many people are likely to notice it quickly. $\endgroup$ – Eric Wofsey Jul 26 '14 at 9:49
  • $\begingroup$ I am aware of it I received notification already, but still this must somehow be sorted out, because StackExchange has become a major network for help on many subjects, and yet people like me who are willing to only add details or substance to existing questions or answers cannot ;) $\endgroup$ – DevilBlackDeath Jul 27 '14 at 22:41
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    $\begingroup$ "yet people like me who are willing to only add details or substance to existing questions or answers cannot" If you want to add to existing posts you might consider suggesting edits. There is no pointlimit for suggesting edits. (Obvioulsy, please make sure your suggestion are in line with policy for suggested edits.) $\endgroup$ – user9072 Jul 30 '14 at 21:57
  • $\begingroup$ Well thanks :) I will consider that then ! Thanks a lot. $\endgroup$ – DevilBlackDeath Jul 31 '14 at 0:20

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