I cannot upvote or comment, makes this entire site worthless...

What can I do to fix this?

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    I agree, it is a bit frustrating at first, but on such a busy active site it is one defense against spam and it goes fairly fast if you are active. – Panther Dec 19 '17 at 3:24
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    Actually, I think the tour is probably the right starting point here. – Journeyman Geek Dec 19 '17 at 5:42
  • In future, try to tie the title and content to each other. This question title and its details are shooting at totally different targets. – RolandiXor Dec 20 '17 at 0:32

Stack Exchange sites are designed to gamifiy site moderation. To that end anyone can ask, answer, or edit a question. You are both a user and on your way to earning user moderation privileges. You could even be come an Elected ♦ Moderator of the Stack Exchange communities that you frequent. Depending on your reputation you have more privileges/power and responsibility.

Gaining reputation

To gain reputation ask, answer, or edit.
Ask good questions that are new and show research.
Provide good answers that improve the knowledge on the site.
Improve questions and answers to further the exchange of information.

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    Note that the link you give refers to elected moderators (also known as ♦ moderators). That isn't something you get get by reaching any level of reputation, you need to convince enough users to vote for you in a moderator election. – terdon Dec 19 '17 at 11:54
  • @terdon IIRC, though, having a certain reputation level is one of the soft qualification marks in elections (and it certainly helps with trust and all that). – TheWanderer Jan 14 '18 at 18:35

You do not need any reputation to ask or answer a question, as those are fundamental features of the site and are deliberately open to anyone.

Assuming the question or answer you post is helpful it will gain you reputation that will then let you comment or vote.

The minimum requirements for commenting and voting help prevent spam and malicious gaming of the system. Not being able to comment or vote does not make the site worthless, and overcoming that restriction is fairly easy.

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  • If the question is protected, then you need to have earned 10 rep to answer it. – TheWanderer Jan 14 '18 at 18:35

Since you have already received serious, informative answers, let me take a moment to entertain (yes, moderators can do that too).

It is the answer to life, the universe, and everything. Reputation is... 42.
42 is reputation.

On a more serious note though:

Reputation is both a system of protection (as others have pointed out) and a system that engenders (in theory) trust. In simple terms, only users of a certain reputation level are granted certain privileges, so as to prevent inexperienced users from making dangerous mistakes, or untrusted users from abusing the site in general.

However reputation also allows you to know who you can trust at a glance. It's kind of like a "soft degree" system. It lets you know that a particular user's contributions to the community have been deemed useful and can serve as a indicator that their future contributions are likely to be as well. It is not, however, a guarantee, nor is it an invitation to ask any user for assistance or to expect them to know the answer to a specific question.

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