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I just signed up, using my Google account, and I can't vote up OR even comment on this site, because my reputation is too low.

Amidst a dozen responses to someone's problem, another poster posted the ideal solution, and yet it only has a single up vote. I would like to up vote it, and expand on it with a comment that provides more information about the functionality of the solution. But I cannot up-vote OR comment (need 50 rep).

In any event I have no idea how to gain reputation other than asking a question, and I have no questions to ask. Well unless my question is how do you gain reputation without posting a question.

Oh well, for now the community will have to remain in the dark about the best solution to a problem someone has. I was about to just say ****-it, you're making this way too much trouble to provide feedback on solutions. How many have already done that I wonder.

Here's an idea. START with these capabilities: commenting, no ability to down vote, and 1 up vote per day, and if enough people down vote your comments you lose even those privileges. This is the first time in my many years of internet use I've ever run into a problem like this, and this seems like it would be the least likely place for drive-by trolls. What gives, why so immediately restrictive? <--- second question.

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I have no idea how to gain reputation other than asking a question, and I have no questions to ask. Well unless my question is how do you gain reputation without posting a question.

You earn rep for not only asking questions - but also for answering them (with additional rep for your answer being marked as accepted) and for proposing edits to posts. Should your edit be approved, you get +2 rep

But I cannot up-vote OR comment (need 50 rep).

Commenting requires 50 rep, upvote only 15 rep.

expand on it with a comment that provides more information about the functionality of the solution.

You can propose an edit to it, or add another answer which provides more info if it significantly changes the original answer.

why so immediately restrictive

They are around to prevent trolls and spammers from abusing the system

least likely place for drive-by trolls

Now you know why there are less trolls. Note I say less, not none. The community moderation & flag system goes a long way in keeping the site clean.

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