A user with 1 rep posts an answer that should actually be just a comment. It might be a useful comment, but it is clearly not an answer. The user cannot post this as a comment, because he doesn't have enough rep. What to do in this situation?
+1 for flagging it as "Not an answer" and comment it and explain that you flagged it and why.
If you feel you are commenting things over and over with essentially the same text, then use this Google-Chrome Plugin. I'm using it with good result:
Flag the post, either as "Not an answer" or use a custom reason and explain why you think it is worth converting to a comment and a moderator will most likely oblige :)
Go ahead and flag the answer, and maybe leave a comment to the OP letting know that if he invest some time in the site that he will gain sufficient rights to up-vote answers, add actual comments or seek more information, or ask the OP to clarify his question.
A post should be considered an answer if and only if it answers (or attempts to answer) the question.
Moderators have the power to convert answers into comments. Flagging the question as 'Not an Answer' is the best option, possibly with a comment requesting it to be converted into a comment if it is of relevance and/or adds some information which may be useful.
The reputation based privilege system is designed in such a way so that new users do not spam the comments section, as is often the case in case of questions.
Do what your heart tells you is right maybe? Or write a complaint letter to the person responsible for this travesty? I wanted to comment on this but it's not letting me cause I'm also a newbie. What the heck! Why? I understand the rep thing is to improve the quality of this by keeping spam bots and trolls from easily "answering" but this seems backwards. Wouldn't you want to make newbs ONLY be able to comment before being able to answer? Speaking as a newb I've browsed several questions and I frequently feel like I don't have the answer but that I could contribute a helpful comment.
My thoughts exactly user273872!!! I've had a love/hate relationship with this site for quite some time. I do not have the time to build my reputation to the point that's required for some basic input. Telling someone who wants to contribute that they can't comment, they can only answer, and and then their answer is, "Not an Answer" doesn't make users WANT to contribute. Which is where I'm at now. I read posts and look for answers but for the most part, I don't contribute because of these restrictions. I had a while ago researched, discovered and wanted to document an aspect that I thought others would benefit from, but the hurdles put in place were much too high. I had to resort to asking a question, and answering it myself.
If you want to encourage more people to use this site, and by extension Ubuntu/Linux, then the barrier for entry has to be lower. You're discouraging people at the moment when they may be getting most interested.
I agree because I always need to comment but I need 50 rep and I only have 9 rep. I have TO comment for this but I CAN'T because I don't have rep. If you could change the system I recommend fixing this first.
Answer (To all newbies, like myself) - just do your best and answer/comment. It is not "our" problem that we cannot 'comment' using a comment button. Just do your best. Maybe your 'not an answer comment' does provide the insight/trigger so that someone else can truely answer.
to GalGalesh: This is a comment - thanks for asking this because it made me aware of something I am (still) lacking. And, perhaps why people have been only commenting to my one question and why I feel my question is getting cluttered with lots of comments (and additional edits from me - rather than a flow that I a more accustomed with in 'traditional' forums. Additional comment - be more 'generic' in your question - because my reputation is 21 (not 1, so technically my not an answer comment should not be considered. The question I would prefer to see is "What to do with answers from members with less than 50 reputation?"
And lastly - an answer (that unfortunately is also an opinion so I am still being naughty) - do what you can to improve their reputation so they can get above 50 - and since you are above 50 - perhaps add the comment that your value their attempt to discuss/comment/answer your question. If you can - make it a Win/Win - and let the OPs worry about the distinction.
Again - thanks for asking. I think that has been the biggest contribution here! Please comment on what I can do to boost your reputation :)