I am running into this error while attempting to upgrade from 1.5.4 to 1.7.4:
Question2Answer was unable to perform the installation query below. Please check the user in the config file has CREATE and ALTER permissions:
SHOW COLUMNS FROM qa_messages
Error 1146: Table 'talk.qa_messages' doesn't exist
The databases between these versions appear to be very different and if the upgrade process cannot happen automatically I will need step by step instructions to do so.
I realize there are other posts depicting similar problems but they are either unanswered or the solution does not work.
I have also already tried upgrading incrementally starting with the next available version (1.6.3), but ran into similar problems.
I found a solution that worked for me (to avoid creating an account I will just put it here):
I needed to set 'QA_EXTERNAL_USERS' to true in qa-config.php. This allowed the upgrade to work without error.