see e.g.: https://dba.stackexchange.com/questions/116756/how-do-i-change-the-schema-of-postgresql-to-work-into-r/116770?noredirect=1#comment212418_116770

I clearly stated in my "answer" that I intended to leave it as a comment to their post, but could not because of SE's minimum rep (50) to comment. Then I was chastised by a senior user for not instead posting as a comment.

This is the most unwelcoming part of SE sites. I'm sure the reasons are well-intentioned for disabling comments for new users (not wanting to turn Q threads into off-topic forum discussion), but the result of that disabling is forcing new users to either A) not contribute at all and just shut up and wait for the right reputation to magically bestow itself upon the them or B) post as an answer. I agree that using the answer space is sub-optimal, but I believed that I could make a contribution, if not for the community as a whole, then at least for the lost soul who posted the question.

The whole castigation of new members for straying outside the lines makes the community even less welcoming and adds insult to injury.

I know I'm not entitled to be able to post anywhere I want on the internet and ya'll can run things as you see fit, but the "belonging curve" is quite a bit more steep on SE than other websites.


2 Answers 2


I was the one who flagged your answer1.

Acknowledging the fact that you're breaking the rules doesn't mean you get to break the rules. The flag merely agreed with your assessment that you were breaking the rules.

The flag isn't meant to punish you. It is meant to be helpful. By flagging the answer it can be brought to the attention of those who can migrate to the comment section if they wish2, left as an answer, or deleted.

The best way to solve this problem is to bide your time, answering questions that are clear enough for a good answer, and/or asking good quality questions. You only need five up-votes on answers to gain the ability to comment. Currently you have 28 points so you just need two more up-votes(on answers), and one edit in order to post comments. That doesn't seem like an unreasonable barrier to me.

In closing, I'm sorry you felt discouraged due to my flag, and I hope you continue to contribute to the community by asking, answering, and suggesting good edits to questions. Also for what its worth; very low quality questions, like you wanted to comment on, often don't pan out anyway. Generally speaking, you're better off putting time and energy into questions that follow the guidelines for asking a good question.

1 - That is very kind of you to refer to me as a "senior user". I'm only senior, to some, in reputation points. I'm junior to most of the regulars here in actual ability/knowledge. I've proved that fact multiple times by dumb things I've said/suggested. If you stick around you'll probably have an opportunity to see that.

2 - I don't have that power.


I processed the Not An Answer flag before I saw your meta question.

I understand your frustration, but there are indeed good reasons for this restriction, outlined in the FAQ:

I won't repeat the content here, but please do read it in full.

You have already asked a good question, and provided two answers, giving you 48 reputation at the time I wrote this. You need only 2 more (e.g. one approved suggested edit) to gain the comment everywhere privilege.

The "canned comment" resulted from community review of the Not An Answer flag before it appeared in the moderator queue. I guess it's hard to get the wording right for every situation, but providing standard responses for reviewers is more successful overall than relying on people to post a customized comment each time.

Update: congrats on passing 50 rep :)

  • 1
    It'd be more logical to me if new users could comment, but not answer, until they had established some reputation. Then again, as comments are upvotable but do not influence your rep, it would require mods to grant points and/or change a comment to an answer. Plus, you obviously cannot be as through in a comment. Obviously I don't have an ideal solution, but I just feel that the current model creates a very frustrating atmosphere for those that might have something positive to contribute for the first or second time.
    – mpag
    Oct 2, 2015 at 18:59
  • 4
    There is no perfect solution. There are certainly a range of views. My own is that what we have works pretty well, and is probably better than the alternatives. I can just imagine the mess if new users could only comment, but not answer. And that's really not what Q & A is all about.
    – Paul White Mod
    Oct 3, 2015 at 4:12

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