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Well, I wasn't here at the time, but from what I understand, suggested edits are a relatively new feature. Before that, people would use Community Wiki to designate posts to be edited easily by low-rep users.

Today however, with suggested edits, virtually anyone can edit any post, given his edit is valuable enough to be peer-approved.

In my eyes, Community Wiki is at best unnecessary, at worse, annoying.

Unnecessary

As stated, any user, regardless of reputation limit can edit any post, given his edit was of high enough quality. This renders the Community Wiki system rather useless.

Annoying

If I asked a very high traffic question, which generated a lot of (crap) answers, the post would immediately become community wiki! I will no longer gain reputation from my supposedly good question, and furthermore! There's nothing the mods could do. Because even if they remove the CW state from the question:

  • I wouldn't get any "lost" reputation back.
  • If someone else decides to add his own answer on to of the existing 30+, the CW state would pop right back in.

Moreover!

The current trend I see, someone asking a crap question posts a crap post, he knows it's a crap post, and marks it as community wiki to avoid the heat.


So here's my insight. I suggest to eliminate the CW ability from users. Perhaps keep it for mods for special cases, and make it available through flags. Also, remove the automatic CW state from (at least) high profile questions. (No one edited my question, definitely it wasn't a "collaborative effort" to write it. Why should it be CW?). I think from highly edited posts as well.

Your thoughts?

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+1 I've always hated auto-wiki. It serves no purpose and there are better alternatives. (such as auto-flagging) –  Mysticial Dec 9 '12 at 9:41
    
"If someone else decides to add his own answer on to of the existing 30+, the CW state would pop right back in" I don't think that's the case. Pretty sure once a post is un-wiki'ed, it doesn't ever automatically turn back. –  Mat Dec 9 '12 at 9:47
    
I have flagged the linked question to be unCWed, and got that response from the moderator reviewing it. I would like the community-wiki status of this question removed. It doesn't deserve it, and doesn't need "community effort". Thank you. – Sep 18 at 7:50 declined - The CW status is as a result of there being > 15 answers. Even if we switched it back it would convert again when another answer was added. –  Second Rikudo Dec 9 '12 at 9:48
    
Auto-wiki from edits is like a cancer. If you catch it early, it can be cured. Otherwise it sticks forever. Auto-wiki from 15/30 answers really pisses me off. Not only does it discourage users from contributing, but why should a bunch of answers bring a question down with it? The original purpose seems to have been to catch bike-shed questions - which isn't a problem anymore. –  Mysticial Dec 9 '12 at 9:52
    
You also need to consider the edit bumping aspect to this. Auto CW from too many edits prevents users from infinitely bumping their question to the front page. –  Asad Dec 9 '12 at 10:01
    
@Asad The solution to that would be to auto-flag. Auto-flagging already exists for rollback wars and vandalism (among others). It can easily be done for edits. And from what I've seen, users are quick to catch and flag abusive bumping. –  Mysticial Dec 9 '12 at 10:04
    
@Asad: There's nothing wrong with infinitely bumping the question to the front page IMHO. And even if it is a source of concern, that's what auto-flags are for. These are edge cases, best dealt with by mods. –  Second Rikudo Dec 9 '12 at 10:10
    
You are actually making three (or two and a half) arguments here: one against CW, one against the "easier editing" aspect of CW, and one against the auto-CW feature. I have to downvote this because I feel strongly about CW itself, while I'm undecided on the other two arguments - maybe it would be more sensible to separate the request? (Or look up the dupe that probably exists) –  Pëkka Dec 9 '12 at 10:50
    
@Pekka: I'd argue the entire CW system is unneeded and not used in practice. It's great to talk about ideals, but sadly, it's cut off from reality. If good CW answers would actually be given to questions, I would have reconsidered. But right now, it causes more noise and annoyance than any good at all. –  Second Rikudo Dec 9 '12 at 11:00
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@Madara do you have stats for your claim that no good CW answers are given anywhere in the system? I agree the feature may need a fresh discussion about what its goals are, and maybe re-labeling (now that the "Wiki" aspect is practically gone), but I don't see the case for removing it altogether. –  Pëkka Dec 9 '12 at 11:06
    
@Pekka: I'm not saying absolutely no good CW posts are given. I'm saying there's not enough quality, and too much noise for it to be considered productive. If not remove it, its position should be reconsidered. –  Second Rikudo Dec 9 '12 at 11:58
    
Community Wiki is horrible. REMOVE IT. NOW. Users get "punished" by making excess edits (>10) to their own questions and the questions automagically turned to community wiki, blocking ALL reputation gain for this question for the user (maybe) decades to come. Users rarely on this site will have to "live off" their few good questions to escape the "vicious rep mill". (Yes it sounds like hobos "living off" their few dollars...) And thus, as shooting myself in the foot is definitely not what I'd intend, I say remove that silly thing. Good riddance! –  syntaxerror Sep 18 '13 at 22:54

2 Answers 2

I wouldn't like to see the possibility of providing a rep-neutral answer gone without a good reason.

I have a real-world use case for it: giving trivial answers to basic questions, duplicate questions, and obvious bike shed questions where the answer is likely to get a large number of upvotes. ("You have a syntax error in line 36."; "use jQuery.") In the same vein, if you're essentially parroting what some other user explains in much more detail in some duplicate question, you may want to forfeit any rep gain for yourself because you didn't really do any work.

Now you may argue, "why answer at all? Just vote as a dupe or leave a comment." However, giving an answer sometimes is the right thing to do - for example

  • to provide closure to the question

  • when you get the feeling the OP wouldn't be able to understand a duplicate link

  • when closing as a duplicate is the right thing to do, but you would like to provide the OP with some customized guidance as well - so you answer, "as pointed out in the duplicate link, you need to do xyz. Here's an example tailored to your situation: ..."

As a high rep user, it feels weird to gain a hundred points for stating some exceedingly simple fact. I wouldn't like to see CW gone - in fact, I would like for more people to use it this way.

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+1, but not many people seem to agree with this use case for CW –  Asad Dec 9 '12 at 10:51
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Awesome, but why auto-cw? Also, that's not what it says on the CW definition on the faq page. Also, you and I both know it nearly never happens in practice. –  Second Rikudo Dec 9 '12 at 10:57
    
@Madara you threw the Auto-CW thing in your feature request, as said I think it should be separated as it's a different issue :) I can see how it might make sense to remove that aspect of the system. –  Pëkka Dec 9 '12 at 10:58

That is already the case, users cannot make questions community-wiki anymore (for quite a while now). Only diamond moderators can do this.

Regular users can still make their answers CW, but that is rather different from CW questions.

I agree that CW is misused for these automatic tasks, where the motive is preventing reputation gain, and not making the post editable.

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True, but my points are also valid for crap answers. Also, it doesn't change either the "unnecessary" or the "annoying" parts. –  Second Rikudo Dec 9 '12 at 9:44
    
CW still makes sense for answers (see my previous post about this for my position on CW answers) –  Mad Scientist Dec 9 '12 at 9:46
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Sounds nice in theory. In practice, especially on high profile sites like Stack Overflow, it never happens. I flagged several of my posts as CW, none of them were edited. The question was buried, and I gained nothing from upvotes on them. So what am I supposed to think? It doesn't help the site + It "harms" me, why should I ever use it? –  Second Rikudo Dec 9 '12 at 9:51

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