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During review of Late Answers, I left a comment. The user responded by posting a new answer, saying that he couldn't reply to my comment until he had 50 rep.

I (perhaps mis-)understood that users could always leave comments on their own posts. Reading the Privileges page only confirms my (mis)interpretation.

Can someone explain this point please?

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Yes, you can comment on your own posts regardless of how much reputation you have.

...But that only works if the system knows they're your posts.

Which it won't, if you end up using a separate account. Which the person you responded to did.

I've merged his accounts, which should alleviate the problem here.

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