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I really enjoy having a forum which focuses on Reverse Engineering. The biggest obstacle I see as a new member is that the site encourages posting answers more than comments. Reverse engineering can involve collaboration with the community to get ideas, but not every idea is a full answer to the problem. I've been bitten by this several times. I made answers which should have been comments, but I didn't have enough points / reputation to make a comment and was chastised for it.

I think lowering the threshold to make a comment for new users would help get them involved and create a richer body of material on the site.

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  • thanks for the suggestion and welcome to RE.SE. Don't be discouraged by downvotes here, the are meant to express consent/dissent with - in your case - the suggestion/proposal.
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Nov 30 '20 at 10:19
  • Oh, on another note. "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem." rings true also for the whole voting thing. Depending on the site you're on in the SE network you will notice vast differences in voting behavior. If you want to get votes, a good way - besides answering/asking - is to vote yourself and thereby "lift the spirit" for a given site. Beyond 125 points you will also be able to downvote (at a penalty for downvoting answers).
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Dec 1 '20 at 8:53
  • Thank you for all the answers which are "The system is fine the way it is." Dec 1 '20 at 21:50
  • I think so, yes. And actually by now you should be able to comment away, being beyond 50 rep 😁 ... have fun.
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Dec 1 '20 at 23:15
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Lowering the threshold is probably not such a good idea, given the spammers out there.

I've seen, originally deleted (converted to comment) one of your "commentary" answers and later restored it after you edited it and fleshed it out a bit. It's still not necessarily and excellent answer, but better than some I've seen on RE.SE.

I totally understand your issue and I've wished a few times myself I could somehow enable new contributors to add their insights by way of comments. While this is a Q&A site (as pointed out by multithr3at3d) and not supposed to be a discussion forum at all, comments often help to gain a perspective of what the inquirer is asking about or help to give hints in a direction that may be beneficial to the inquirer but either not quite on-topic or not comprehensive enough as an answer. So I see value in comments.

That said, there's a policy about comments which you should be aware of. Comments are deemed totally volatile. They can be removed at any point and without notice. So if you have actual insights that are on-topic, if not spot-on for the question on which you want to provide them, it's sometimes better to post them as an answer. You have a lot of leeway in how you frame your answer to make the connection to the question clear, so this would be one route to take.

Other than that - and given my remark about spammers at the top - I'd also suggest you look at the unanswered questions and see if there is anything where you can provide an answer and thus "fast track" your way to be able to comment. You can track your progress in your profile and see all available privileges here.

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"Reverse engineering can involve collaboration with the community to get ideas"

True, but this is a Q&A format site and not a discussion forum, so it would not be desirable to encourage a lot of back-and-forth. There are plenty of other sites where that is suitable, which can be used if needed.

Just keep on answering and you will soon unlock the comment privilege.

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  • What are some of those sites? I'm curious if they have more activity for reverse engineering subjects which aren't just IDA/GHIDRA. Nov 30 '20 at 6:18
  • @multithr3at3d you're right in the sense that this isn't for discussions. However, the original sense of a public place holds true for a Q&A site as much as for a discussion forum. But yes, the official wording tries to distinguish SE from a (discussion) forum.
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Nov 30 '20 at 10:22
  • @pythonpython depends on the exact area you're "into". Hex-Rays has a forum dedicated to IDA. There's r/ReverseEngineering/ and some related communities. One of the mods from here is on that subreddit, even. OpenRCE is sort of defunct by now, so is Woodman.com and kernelmode.info (archives exist). Tuts4you.com seems to still exist (with forums). Answers here ...
    – 0xC0000022L Mod
    Nov 30 '20 at 10:31
  • Specifically i'm interested in reverse engineering from static network traces as that's my focus. For almost all of the questions posted in this vein, 95% of them don't post enough data. "Here are 2 packets I captured, What's the format??!" No one knows the answer with 2 packets, and so the question languishes. I feel like "Reverse Engineering" here means IDA and things to do when you have a Binary Executable to run. If there is some place where people focus on reverse engineering from network traces, I'd love to know. Dec 1 '20 at 15:02
  • @pythonpython I don't think this site is meant to be only narrowly focused on binaries; I'd imagine network traces could be on topic if properly presented. Indeed, questions with such little information aren't suitable here, and should be edited or perhaps closed. Dec 1 '20 at 22:05
  • I think this is exactly the problem. Any reverse engineering question can be asked, but to participate meaningfully you have to talk about binaries as that's the focus of the site. It's a fabulous site for talking about reverse engineering binaries, but doesn't serve much beyond that. Thus suggesting lowering the threshold for comments. I'm at 49. I can't comment. You are protected from spammers but it's kind-of an echo chamber too. Dec 1 '20 at 22:53
  • @pythonpython we have run into difficulties in the past because we wanted to engage with people in chat, but could not due to the reputation requirement. So this reputation threshold for certain types of participation have been an occassional source of frustration for mods and other regular site users as well. With that said, even if we could lower the reputation requirements, it may cause more problems than it solves (e.g. spam, etc.)
    – julian Mod
    Dec 2 '20 at 22:04
  • How about cutting it to 30? Dec 2 '20 at 22:55
  • Do it for a period of 3 months. See if it has a positive effect on number of questions answered in that period. Dec 2 '20 at 23:29

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