I am confused about how to join this community. Here's what I've done so far:

1) I have a problem.

2) I came here for help

3) When I went to ask the question, the instructions told me to thoroughly search the existing topics before posting (to avoid duplicate questions).

4) I did so, and found another poster who has EXACTLY the same problem I do.

5) So I tried to comment, in to contribute what I knew about the problem to the question.

6) The site would not let me comment until I have 20 reputation, as a new member I only have 1.

7) I couldn't participate by commenting, but the site let me edit the question directly, so I added an edit (marked [Edit]) with what I had found related to the problem.

8) The edit was rejected because it makes no sense as an edit (which is true) and it really should have been comment. So the edit was deleted.

9) But I can't comment, until I have 20 reputation. So, I search for help.

10) I find the meta group (which seems to be a group ABOUT server fault). Essentially, this "felt" like customer service. Thinking I had found the right place, I tried to post a question about how to participate - but I am required to have 5 reputation points before I can do this.

So I am posting this question here on the main forum, because I can't find anywhere else to contribute.

At this point in the process, my actual question is like 3 or 4 levels down in the stack - and I'm simply trying to figure out how to participate in this community. This is an earnest question - though, in my experience, it will likely have the opposite effect than the desired one, and I will instead earn some down votes...

As I am literally out of ideas as to how to join the community - I am at this point open to suggestions. As a new member, with no reputation in this community, where am I allowed to participate?

If I contribute a new question - it will be obviously duplicate of an existing question, but I'm not allowed (yet) to participate in the existing question.

Genuinely confused. Any help would be greatly appreciated.


The original question I was trying to participate in is here: Slow Initial RDP Connection to Windows 10

  • Ironically, there are now 21 up votes on this page, and almost a dozen comments and I still only have 1 reputation point. :/ Lol.
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:51
  • 4
    I don't see any irony. You still have a lot to learn about Stack Exchange (SE). With the exception of meta.stackexchange.com (mSE) you don't gain/lose reputation for votes on meta sites. The reputation you have here on mSF is the same as you have on SF. On SF you have no content that can be voted on and you have no edits that can be approved ergo you still have 1 Rep.
    – user9517
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:09
  • What is the information you wish to contribute? I will make the comment for you.
    – user9517
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:28
  • Ohh, thanks. The original edit I made (which was appropriately rejected) was: Edit I am having exactly the same issue. I feel like it might have happened sporadically when I was still on 8.1, but it now reliably happens every single morning when I first connect. Each subsequent connection works great, but the next morning (after a night of inactivity) the problem recurs.
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:33
  • I have verified that it happens when connecting from the beta Microsoft Mac RDP client, the native Mac RDP client, the windows 8.1 & 10 MSTSC clients. The range of clients seems to indicate that the problem is on the server side, imho. If I try to connect during the initial delay (from another client) I get a message that the MSTSC service is currently busy, and it asks me to try again in a few minutes. Then, as with OP - subsequent connections are all accepted normally.
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:34
  • 5
    Perhaps it'd help to understand that encouraging people to "participate" in some abstract general sense is not a goal. Instead, the site wants to encourage people to contribute to its purpose -- which is asking high-quality questions and providing high-quality answers. You discovered that the site makes it hard for a new user to "participate" in ways that don't contribute to the site's purpose. That's by design. It might sound harsh, but we've found that this structure helps keep quality high.
    – D.W.
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 19:01

3 Answers 3


For your original question:
If the duplicate question does not have an answer that is applicable to your situation.
Repose your question and add the possible duplicate in a link with remarks as to why it does not apply.

If the duplicate question has an answer that also resolves your problem.
Your problem is now solved, congratulations. Is this not why you were here to begin with?

As for coming in to the community:
You can start by creating well-written answers to other peoples questions, those can easily give you enough reputation to participate. I'm not sure if you can in any way look for issues to post here, other than them happening organically in the course of your work.

The site is built around contributing knowledge, if this is what you're here for, you should fit right in.

  • 1
    Thanks reaces. The original post remains unanswered, but my question is essentially identical to his. Am I understanding you correctly that your recommendation is that I post a duplicate question, link back to the original, and then add my comments to my copy of the duplicate? This seems to violate the "search for existing questions first rule" which gets its own page before posting a question, but I'll give it a try. Thanks.
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 18:46
  • @eejai42 Only if the answers in the existing question do not apply to you.
    – Reaces
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 18:53
  • Or If there are no answers?
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 18:59
  • @eejai42 In that case I would think the best course of action is putting a bounty on it (if the question is exactly like yours) but seeing as you have no rep, perhaps create a new question and reference the old one. I'm not sure everyone would share that opinion though.
    – Reaces
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 19:02
  • Thanks @reaces, this is exactly what I'm trying to figure out. Seems like my question would immediately get flagged as duplicates and removed. Appropriately arguably. This is where my confusion stems from.
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 19:04
  • 1
    @eejai42 Duplicates don't get removed. They get closed and a permanent link to the original is put up. However if it was put up in the queue I'm sure a lot of people would hesitate voting to close your question if the original has no answers. It wouldn't be useful.
    – Reaces
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 19:05
  • Alright, I'll give it a try. Thanks.
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 19:06
  • @eejai42 Teh current version of closed->duplicate asks the OP if the alleged duplicate helps.If yes then you get to close it. If no then you are requested to edit your question saying why it's not a duplicate. If you already know that there is a potential duplicate you show say so, link to it and say why it doesn't help you.
    – user9517
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 21:27
  • Thanks @lain. It would totally be a duplicate. The original post would help (if someone answered it). I really just want to comment on the original question, but Server fault won't let me participate in the original question because I don't have 20 reputation yet. But I don't have an answer, I have additional infirmation. Trying to figure out how to best contibute my information.
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 22:52
  • @eejai42 I just got a bit irritated reading this thread, and some other threads around here about duplicates (while trying to find a canonical answer to what a duplicate is). So I created a post to explain it. Hopefully it's somewhat coherent, allthough it will probably get downvoted into oblivion and closed as a duplicate.
    – Reaces
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 7:21
  • Thanks for the other post @reaces, but I can't participate in that question :) (meta requires 50 XP to comment). In fact, this appears to be the only question I can comment on. I guess I can comment here because I asked the question. Stack overflow sites are awesome. Well designed, with amazing content (in no small part because of these policies), but... Commenting seems like a strange thing to restrict for new community members like myself, when that seems like a great (lightweight) way to participate, while allowing everyone to evaluate what kind of community member I would be. My $.02 :)
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:03
  • @eejai42 Imagine the trouble we'd have from spammers if anyone could comment. If someone makes a change to a question or an answer or posts a new question or answer it is passed to the site front page for community oversight. This catches spam etc quite quickly. Making a comment doesn't cause the content to which it is attached to be passed on for oversight so allowing anyone also allows bots and the site could easily be flooded.
    – user9517
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:20
  • 2
    Thank you @lain, that makes a lot of sense. Thanks, I think that really answers my primary confusion about why I could Edit the question, but not comment. Okay, perfect. Thanks. And I guess for now I'll just ask my question separately with a link back to the OP. I really appreciate the thorough discussion.
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 14:29
  • 2
    Your idea that comments "allow everyone to evaluate what kind of community member I would be" seems to suggest that you're under the impression that SE sites are some sort of social club. They're not, they're Question and Answer sites. We don't "evaluate potential members", and rep is obtained by votes which (in general) only evaluate the question/answer being voted on, not on the good character of the person posting them.
    – womble Mod
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 21:18

There are multiple ways you can participate in this community, just like any other SE community.

First off take some time to read the tour and the help center, Server Fault is more than just what the name suggests.

Asking, good, well researched questions should get you some rep as may answering questions.

You can also edit content and gain reputation that way.

If you have an account elsewhere on the SE network then if you have (I think) just 200 reputation you can gain an association bonus of 100 here on SF to boost your startup.

  • Is it expected that I first find some questions to answer before asking a new one?
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 18:47
  • 3
    No, (unfortunately) not at all.
    – user9517
    Commented Sep 2, 2015 at 19:42

Stack Exchange sites are Question and Answer sites. Anything that isn't a Question or an Answer is, by design, a second-class citizen. "Joining the community" is a matter of participating in the primary purpose of the sites: asking Questions and proposing Answers. Everything else stems from that (as the reputation system tries to hint at).

As for dealing with your specific problem, given the information you've added about your situation in your comments to Reaces' answer (that you don't have a new question, and you don't have an answer, you merely have additional information), I don't think there's any specific contribution for you to make. Certainly, as long as the discussion remains hypothetical, and we don't have the details of what question you found and what information you wanted to add, it's rather hard to give specific, actionable guidance.

  • Sorry @womble, I wasn't intending to be cryptic or anything, just wasn't sure what it would add, but... The original question was serverfault.com/questions/716011/…. He tried some things. I have tried 3/4 more things. They totally feel like they should just be comments on his question. The only reason I would make it another question is because server fault won't allow me to comment yet...
    – eejai42
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 13:48
  • 1
    Well, we encourage lots of (good) questions, we don't encourage lots of comments (for the sorts of reasons that Iain mentioned in the comment on his answer). So from that perspective, not allowing you to comment is the system Working As Designed.
    – womble Mod
    Commented Sep 3, 2015 at 21:16

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