I've seen an increase in prevalence of new (or seemingly new) users posting answers which are basically just comments, which don't really contribute to the question. Such answers aren't going to gain the user any reputation, and thus do nothing to aid their journey towards being able to comment.
Personally when I started out here there were times I wanted to comment on a question but couldn't, so I had to post an answer. I understand why this is the case, but then I was in a better position to provide concrete, upvotable answers than your average bear.
Given that someone asks a question expecting solid answers (otherwise why post it?), wouldn't the ability to answer questions be arguably more important than the ability to make comments? Comments are generally, as far as I've seen, used for tongue-in-cheek humourous responses, non-verified clarifications, or just general points of consideration that aren't fleshed-out enough to be considered true answers to the question.
That said, I suppose that it wouldn't be feasible the other way around, since upvotes on comments don't give you rep, but does anyone else think the way it works just now is perhaps limiting to new people being able to contribute meaningfully?
I suppose the main point of discussion I'm opening up here is why commenting is a rep-locked feature in the first place, as being able to do so doesn't hugely affect one's ability to be a valuable member of the community.