I flag a lot of answers as "not an answer" as they are just that. Not an answer. These "answers", or comments really, often have two distinct meanings:

  1. Thank you, your answer solved my problem...
  2. Have you found the solution to this problem yet?

The reason for these comments depend upon the fact that new users with reputation less than 50' don't have the privilege to comment, and instead posts an answer.

A perfect example of the issue is this comment posted as an answer: enter image description here

Wouldn't it be easier letting new users with only 1 rep be privileged with comment possibility instead of driving them towards the answer text box?

  • 2
    I completely agree! I often feel that if I could ask for more information I might be able to answer or help someone else answer
    – Enilorac
    Jul 16, 2013 at 8:04

1 Answer 1


Thank you for flagging these :-). Yes, it is usually new users with insufficient reputation trying to post a comment. The particular types of comment you describe don't add any value anyway.

I think the decision whether to allow low rep. users to comment is a judgement call, and that call has been made by Jeff Atwood. He has explained his thinking many times, for example here:

We funnel users to the answer input box for a reason -- because the focus is on getting answers to questions, not meta-commentary. Commenting is a privilege that should be earned by providing useful answers. And 50 rep isn't much.

It's highly unlikely a random drive-by user will •understand our Q&A goals •understand our commenting system

So by the time they earn 50 rep, they should have learned roughly how things work, and be in a position to offer a useful comment and not a "+1 AWESOME ANSWER" sort of comment.

Stack Overflow works where many other Q and A systems have failed, so I am hesitant to disagree with him.

  • 3
    I do agree that SO have succeded where others have failed, but I feel that the backside of this is the new users, who don't get that this is answers and not a threaded discussion. Thsnkfully there is a Marshall badge to aim for, so my flags will keep flying your way :-)
    – Benny Skogberg Mod
    Jul 15, 2013 at 19:52
  • Yes, the natural tendency is to drift towards discussion and chat and other forms of noise, which the site is designed to prevent. Not sure there is a solution to this other than to keep on flaggin' :-)
    – SPDoctor
    Jul 16, 2013 at 8:12
  • 2
    @BennySkogberg Oi! Gerroff my badge. ;)
    – Stu Pegg
    Jul 16, 2013 at 10:00

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