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I need 20k reputation to edit a Tag Wiki. Currently, I only have 4k. At my present rate of rep accumulation, I will be able to edit Tag Wikis in about 2025. At that point, I will presumably be able to edit the Tag Wiki on topics I know nothing about.

There are topics that I do know something about. And SO knows this, because I am the highest provider of answers for those topics - and I am the only person to have been awarded a badge for one of those topics (WebMatrix).

Surely facts like these could be taken into account when granting Tag Wiki Edit privileges?

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You do know that you can suggest edits, right? –  Martijn Pieters Sep 12 '12 at 13:16
Yes. I do know that. My question is about making edits, not suggesting them. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 13:17
The higher the reputation the more time one has spent time in SO. Which is directly proportional to better decision making at Tag editing. –  goose Sep 12 '12 at 13:24
goose - thanks, but that's a non-sequitur if ever I saw one. You do not have to be an experienced forum user to be able to write a concise descriptive piece on a technical subject. As I said, those with 20k+ rep do not have to know anything about the wikis they can edit. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 13:28
@MikeBrind: have you actually tried to make a suggested edit for those tags you are an expert in? Have these been rejected? –  Martijn Pieters Sep 12 '12 at 13:32
Surely you may be eligible for doing a proper wiki edit, even if your reputation count is below the threshold. But if the reputation limit is lowered from current value to a much lower one, lot more users(who are not at all qualified) will get the privilege. Wont that be like every kid in the block getting a bazooka? –  goose Sep 12 '12 at 13:36
@MartijnPieters, no, which means the OP hasn't had quite a few rejected like most people do when they first start writing tag wikis. –  ben is uǝq backwards Sep 12 '12 at 13:41
@MikeBrind: You haven't even tried to make a tag wiki edit; how can we know you can be trusted with unlimited editing privileges on these? Just because you know about WebMatrix doesn't mean you know about Stack Overflow, Markdown, and Stack Exchange etiquette. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 12 '12 at 13:43
No I haven't tried. I'm not complaining that the feature doesn't work. I merely questioned the logic behind the qualification to make edits. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 14:33
@MartijnPieters How can you know that I can be trusted just because I have 20+ rep? That just means I can answer questions. It does not infer any skill in tag wiki editing or composition. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 14:59
@goose I am not suggesting that every kid on the block should be given a bazooka. I merely suggested that the approach to permitting tag edit privileges might be reviewed. However, the reaction I have received makes me feel like I suggested handing out weapons of mass destruction to all children. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 15:02
@MikeBrind: Your question is not reaching it's goal then, if that was your intention. Your post shows no research effort into how tag wiki edits work, for example, nor does it carry any arguments as to how edit suggestions are not sufficient. Your whole post appears to be based on the mis-aprehension you are not allowed to make editing suggestions at all, that the only way for you to edit a tag wiki is to wait until you have 20k points. That is why it is being shot down. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 12 '12 at 20:07
@MartijnPieters I don't believe that is the reason it is being down voted. I responded to your first comment almost instantly to confirm that I am aware that I can suggest edits. However, it's clear that a lot of people have found my suggestion offensive for some reason. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 20:16
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2 Answers

Tag wiki excerpts are visible all over SO, not just on one question page, and are regularly seen by lots of people, so only high-rep users are allowed to edit these without editorial review. Note that tag wikis are about how the tag is (to be) used on SO, so we want someone with plenty of SO experience under their belt, as well as knowledge on the subject covered by the tag.

You can still suggest edits to tag wiki and tag wiki excerpts, and these are reviewed in the regular suggested edit review queue (e.g. by people that not necessarily have reached the 20k point themselves yet). Thus, there is no reason to despair that you cannot yet have an impact on them.

As long as your edits are on-topic, and not blatantly plagiarizing copyrighted content or vandalizing the wiki, they should be approved in a short amount of time.

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I'm not despairing. I'm questioning the basis on which the permission is granted. It's flawed thinking in my view. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 13:29
@MikeBrind: I know you are questioning the basis, and I disagree, in my first sentence. Tag wikis have wide visibility, so they need to meet a higher standard. –  Martijn Pieters Sep 12 '12 at 13:31
I'm not disputing that tag wikis should be high quality. I am disputing the fact that 20k reputation points is assumed to guarantee that high quality. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 15:37
@MikeBrind At 20k+, you're trusted to know the system well enough to not make stupid edits to tag wikis (among other things). It's an arbitrary threshold, but if anything, it should be raised rather than lowered. –  Daniel Fischer Sep 12 '12 at 15:41
@DanielFischer Presumably you would like to see it raised because in your view, it's not working currently. I'd say that supports my contention. It's an incorrect indicator of competence. However, with the large number of down votes my suggestion attracted, it's clear to me that the "establishment" here are totally unyielding when it comes to considering any relaxing of thresholds for your hard earned privileges. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 20:02
@MikeBrind Whatever policy you have, it will not work perfectly. The current one works fairly well, the number of goofups isn't too large. You can suggest edits at low rep already. If you're doing a good job of it, it will very likely be approved, no problem. You can even approve tag wiki edits at only 5k rep. Having others look at the changes and approve (or reject) them reduces the probability of bad edits, that's a good thing. But reviewing costs time and attention from others, so the idea is that there are conditions that allow the users to make such changes without review. –  Daniel Fischer Sep 12 '12 at 20:29
The question is, what should the criteria be? At the moment, they are rep-based only, which means I could edit any tag wiki without review. But having sufficiently high rep makes it likely that I've invested enough time in the site to care about it, and am overall sufficiently clueful to recognise that editing tag wikis for tags I know nothing about would be a bad idea (except maybe for typo and formatting fixes). So while not perfect, a rep-only criterion with high enough bar works. One can make a case for a combined criterion, sufficiently high overall rep and good score in the tag, though. –  Daniel Fischer Sep 12 '12 at 20:30
@DanielFischer "The question is, what should the criteria be?" Exactly. That was the point behind my question - to discuss the current criteria. But no one wants to discuss it. They just want to defend it. That's fine. I get it. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 20:39
@MikeBrind You didn't make a case for a change, and the current policy works well enough that there's no inherent pressure for a change. If you want a change, and the situation isn't such that a change is obviously necessary, you have to provide good arguments for a change, or people will not see the point of considering it. –  Daniel Fischer Sep 12 '12 at 20:49
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Just to add a little extra to Martijn's answer...

You commented:

goose - thanks, but that's a non-sequitur if ever I saw one. You do not have to be an experienced forum user to be able to write a concise descriptive piece on a technical subject

This is an assumption; a incorrect one.

A tag wiki is not about writing a descriptive piece on a technical subject. The most important part of a tag wiki is describing how that tag should be used and making this as understandable as possible for someone coming in off the street who might use this tag.

To quote from the original blog post:

Here’s a few words of advice on writing tag wiki excerpts:

  • The excerpt is the elevator pitch for the tag. You only have ~500 plain text characters for the excerpt, so don’t feel obligated to cover everything in it! Save that for the 30,000+ character Markdown tag wiki. The excerpt should define the shared quality of questions containing this tag — boiled down to a few short sentences.

  • Avoid generically defining the concept behind a tag, unless it is highly specialized. The “email” tag, for example, does not need to explain what email is. I think we can safely assume most internet users know what email is; there’s no value in a boilerplate explanation of email to anyone.

  • Concentrate on what a tag means to your community. For “email” on Server Fault, mention the server aspects of email including POP3, SMTP, IMAP, and server software. For “email” on Super User, mention desktop email clients and explicitly exclude webmail, as that would be more appropriate for webapps.stackexchange.com.

  • Provide basic guidance on when to use the tag. In other words, what kinds of questions should have this tag? Tags only exist as ways of organizing questions, so if we don’t provide proper guidance on which questions need this tag, they won’t get tagged at all, rendering the tag excerpt moot. Think of it as a sales pitch: in a room full of tags screaming “pick me!”, what would convince a question asker to select your tag?

  • Some tags are common knowledge. Most tags require a bit of explanation in the excerpt, even if it’s only 3 or 4 words. But if the tag is common knowledge — that is, if you walked up to any random person on the street and said the tag word to them, and they would know what you were talking about — then don’t bother explaining the tag at all. Stick to usage of the tag within your community in the excerpt.

I would try to write a tag wiki; it's more difficult than it first appears. Looking at some good ones like and see if you can create something like it.

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As somebody who spends a lot of time reviewing edits, I'll add that (much) less than 5% of new tag proposals I see follow the guidelines. –  dystroy Sep 12 '12 at 13:59
20k points will not make those that submit rejected edits any better at making edits in the first place. Ability to comprehend and follow the above guidelines does. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 15:05
@MikeBrind, those with 20k will have seen a lot of tags. –  ben is uǝq backwards Sep 12 '12 at 16:49
I've seen a lot of planes, but that doesn't mean I am competent to fly one. –  Mike Brind Sep 12 '12 at 19:31
Me too, and I'm definitely not. I have, however, seen a few tag wikis and as writing one isn't as difficult as flying a plane I've had a few edits approved; I really don't see the problem. Do something good and get it approved by your peers or don't do anything; it's kind of your choice but it's no different to the rest of the SE model –  ben is uǝq backwards Sep 12 '12 at 20:48
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