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I've been reading the Reputation help doc and my question is:

If you earn rep by helping others answer questions, why do you have to have 50 rep to do it? I don't seem to get this.

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  • That is one of many spam prevention mechanisms. – quid Aug 21 '18 at 23:52
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    You need 50 rep to post a comment, but not to post an answer. – Chris W. Rea Aug 22 '18 at 1:16
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You need 50 reputation to comment anywhere. This is different from asking or answering questions. Everyone can provide an answer by writing it in the big answer text box at the end of each "thread". But if you want to comment on someone's answer, for example because they have forgotten something in their answer that you noticed and you would like to help them improve their answer, that's what you would use a "comment" for.

New users can write comments under their own posts, such as their questions and answers, for example to reply to comments from other people (be sure to incorporate the feedback you get into your posts by editing them). They can even write comments under every answer to one of their questions, for example to clarify what they were asking and what an answerer was missing. But they can't write comments under the posts from other people.

You get reputation for upvotes on your questions (+5 each) and answers (+10 each). Upvotes on comments don't give you anything.

Questions and answers have an extensive revision history that allows anyone to see all changes. They are also never truly deleted. People with more than 10,000 reputation or moderators can still see them. But when a comment is deleted it is simply gone (technically mods can un-delete them, but for practical purposes they are gone). Comments are ephemeral post-it notes that are supposed to point out problems in questions/answers and they are unlocked once you reach 50 reputation by asking/answering questions or suggesting edits (+2 for each accepted edit).

You can find an overview over the different privileges here.

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    Oh OK. I was confused on the differance between ansers and comments. Thanks for explaining to me. :) – mrnapolean1 Aug 22 '18 at 23:18
  • Deleted comments can be viewed by moderators, but (insofar as I know) are not visible to any ordinary users. – a CVn Aug 23 '18 at 12:33
  • @MichaelKjörling For normal users a deleted comment is gone and there is no way to see that there once was a comment. With deleted answers/questions a user with enough reputation can see them and look at the revision history. – Secespitus Aug 23 '18 at 12:57
  • Yes, indeed; however, the way you phrased your answer, it sounds at least to me that "[questions and answers] are also never truly deleted" is in opposition to "when a comment is deleted it is simply gone". This is not strictly the case; while you are perfectly correct in that they are inaccessible to ordinary users, comments are also soft-deleted. – a CVn Aug 23 '18 at 14:07
  • @MichaelKjörling With an answer or question a normal user can vote to reopen once they have the required reputation. They can also see their own deleted answers and questions easily. While you are technically correct for all practical purposes a deleted comment is in fact gone. Most sites I visit don't have problems with people regularly asking mods to un-delete comments as far as I can tell, so while they are "soft" deleted they are also "invisibly" deleted and without any easy way of triggering un-deletion, which makes it basically final. But I added a sentence. – Secespitus Aug 23 '18 at 14:17

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