I have observed several times now that new users (just a few questions, rep below 50, but definitely no robots) try to participate in discussions, but since commenting is a privilege requiring at least 50 reps and answering isn't, they add their comments as answers. Isn't this a bit weird? This just generates "low quality answers" keeping us busy and frustration on the side of the new users.

Is it possible to lower the threshold for commenting, say to 5 or 10? If not, shouldn't our policy then be to lift new users that look reasonable as quickly as possible above this limit by upvoting their first questions?

Edit: Thanks for the informative answers and comments. Here's a summary.

  • Changing the reputation limit for commenting is not an option since it is managed site-wide.

  • Commenting on one's own post is not restricted by the reputation level anyway.

  • The reason for allowing new users to answer but not to comment is that SE is set up in a way such that answers are reviewed but comments aren't, so problematic answers are less of a problem than problematic comments, as paradoxical it may seem.

  • Upvoting for the sake of granting the privilege for commenting is not considered as adequate by all.

  • The current procedure for handling answers/comments seems to work well enough, no need for changes.


3 Answers 3


The network thinking here is that answers automatically move a question to the top of the front page, and so such information is going to get reviewed. In contrast, comments simply 'sit' where they are, so could contain anything (comments are not viewed as part of the long-term value of the site). The barrier to commenting is not high and you can always comment on your own questions. Thus, the idea is that the rep requirement here is a balance between being able to contribute and allowing spam or simply misguided postings from newer users.

As I say, this is not a TeX-sx-specific thing: it's part of the design of the entire network. It's been raised several times on the main meta site: I suspect a change is unlikely.


You are right that there are some new users misusing the answer box to post a non-answer which is a comment (or a tiny follow - up question, which qualifies as a comment rather too), so those 'answers' gets either transferred into a comment (by moderators) or are deleted rather quickly either by voting process or by moderator action (again).

Lowering the reputation treshold for comment privilege will reduce this problem, of course, but other than 'answers' comments can't be deleted in a review queue, they must be flagged and its up to the moderators to delete them. Having a lower treshold will provoke more spam comments, most likely.

I am unsure that upvoting (new) users over the 50 reputation limit in order to allow them to leave comments everywhere is a useful strategy. If they've posted a good question/answer somewhere they will have those upvotes rather soon.

As Joseph said: The treshold value is a SE - wide limit.

Please take into account that the limit for participation in Chat is actually only at 20 reputation points, so this could be achieved easily, in my point of view. The relevant user can ask or post a comment regarding a question another answer in chat, although it's most likely not as effective as on the main site.


Often (usually?) those comments are on the OPs question. Perhaps the policy could be to allow comments there.

That's probably a change not worth the effort of the SE programmers.

Frequently the comments should be edits to the question. I suggest that to the new users.

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    it is a policy. from the help site: "You can always comment on your own topic requests and proposed changes. Commenting on other people's is a privilege." Commented Apr 6, 2017 at 21:24

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