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The wiki-nature of posts here is a very attractive attribute of the SE-engine, but I'm afraid some of us reserve edits to allow original authors the ability to glean as much rep from their contributions as possible (before converting to wiki). If all posts, questions and answers, were automatically converted to wiki's after a month (or more, you determine a proper duration) I think this would encourage more editing, and ultimately lead to better quality overall for questions and answers.

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How is the post 'less mine' just because time has passed? Jon Skeet earns tons of rep on his old answers because they are phenomenal. It's not like their age suddenly mean that he didn't work hard on them in the first place. Why are we trying to take that away from him? –  devinb Sep 1 '09 at 17:37
    
We're not. We all post knowing that our contributions are potential wiki's. This is nothing more than an analogy to making old books public domain. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 17:39
    
(-1) for the reasons in my response. –  devinb Sep 1 '09 at 17:43
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-1. Nothing personal; just don't like the feature-request. –  George Stocker Sep 1 '09 at 17:45
    
-1. I disagree, and prefer keeping my rep at an even number (it was odd before). –  user27414 Sep 1 '09 at 17:46
    
@Gortok, I don't take the down-votes personal :P We submit ideas, we get feedback ;) –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 17:47
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-1 - because I have a few posts on IIS esoterica that took me a non-trivial amount of time and effort to write up. I get a single upvote from them once a month if I'm lucky due to their 'nicheness'. I wouldn't like to lose out on the rep for the amount of work put into these answers just because they went CW after n-Months. Just sayin' :) –  The Anti-Santa Sep 1 '09 at 18:06
    
You wouldn't mind giving up a single up-vote a month if it meant users could clean up your old posts without feeling like they're stepping on your toes? :) –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 18:09
    
@jonathan, they can do that already. –  devinb Sep 1 '09 at 18:52
    
@Jonathon - nah...v.busy at work at the mo and not enough time to spend doing quality stuff on SO, so the trickle votes keeps my rep topped up. I think things are fine the way they are tbh. –  The Anti-Santa Sep 1 '09 at 20:36

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I'm not altogether against this, but I think the real problem you describe is anyone who would withhold an edit out of fear that it would trigger CW mode. IMHO, if an edit is beneficial, then it should be made - CW trigger be damned.

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Perhaps that is the real issue. My reservation is linked to the issue many here have with others making "fickle" edits to their posts. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 17:58
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"...this site is collaboratively edited. If you are not comfortable with the idea of your questions and answers being edited by other trusted users, this may not be the site for you. " –  EBGreen Sep 1 '09 at 18:32
    
@Jonathan: yeah... that, that has got to change. I still fail to understand the attitude of people who seek out and use SO, over all the other ways available to publish answers to questions (traditional forums, newsgroups, blogs, articles, books...), and yet completely miss the fundamental difference between these and SO. –  Shogging through the snow Sep 1 '09 at 18:34

I disagree with this primarily because I don't see why we should be attempting to move everything over towards CW status as time goes on. If it is the subject of numerous edits, yes, automatically flip it, but otherwise let it sit as it is.

I also look at it from a rep perspective. There are still posts out there I answered months ago that still trickle in reputation because they continue to get visibility and continue to help other users who come across the same problem. What you are proposing would impose an arbitrary time limit that says "Ok, your post is no longer worthy or earning you rep, even if it continues to help people."

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Yes. I'm suggesting that after a specified period of time, posts would cease to award you physical reputation. Sure, you'll still be the original author, but no longer the sole beneficiary (assuming other people make edits). –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 17:29
    
Then again I would have to disagree. I do not see why one should stop gaining reputation on a post that no others have been touching in terms of edits, and I don't see this as a magic bullet to encourage people to edit older items. I believe that unless flipped by too many edits, my post should remain normal and it should continue to reward for as long as it is useful to other people. –  TheTXI Sep 1 '09 at 17:43
    
I understand your point, TheTXI and I agree to some degree. Note that I have a stake in this as well ;) –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 17:45

I haven't ever made a decision on whether to edit or not depending on whether the edit will convert the post into a wiki. I edit as I see necessary. I'm not necessarily against posts "going wiki" after a certain period of time (they already do after a certain number of edits or upvotes, I believe), but I don't see it really affecting behavior. I think the lack of edits on older posts is due more to their relative (lack of) visbility, i.e., most edits happen right away.

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With every response I am attempting to write an answer that will be correct forever. As long as the technology/framework hasn't changed, I want my answer to be the right one.

Time-delay on CW does not make sense because the work that went into the answer was still mine. If there haven't been any edits, (or even if there were) I don't see how my post is suddenly undeserving of rep-gain.

If I answer a question, and then a month later some intrepid google user finds it and upvotes it, how is it less useful at this point. Was my answer not helpful anymore?

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My suggestion is similar to items becoming public-domain. With all due respect, if you always want full credit, you shouldn't contribute to a site that encourages wiki-style editing. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 17:44
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Books become public domain after decades. –  devinb Sep 1 '09 at 17:47
    
Yes. @devinb, Analogies must not be required to fit eachother in every respect. Of course decades is unreasonable, especially for the IT field. The equivalent, months. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 17:57
    
If someone wants to upvote my answer because it is relevant, why does it matter when I wrote it? –  devinb Sep 1 '09 at 18:05
    
@devinb, It doesn't matter when you wrote it. SO is sexy for its wiki-style content. I'm only thinking of ways to boost that. I understand that you don't like the idea of people editing your posts, but that is counter-intuitive to what SO wants. Auto-wiki would protect anybody who wants to clean up posts, but doesn't want to step on toes. –  Jonathan Sampson Sep 1 '09 at 18:08
    
I have no problem with people editing my posts, (unless they're entirely changing the meaning) but in your case, you are talking about flipping unedited posts into CW. If it is an unedited post, then why should no longer gain from it? Jeff and Joel gave away the site for free, but they earn ad money. I gave away my answer for free, but I gain reputation. Now you're saying that after a month, I'll just gain nothing. –  devinb Sep 1 '09 at 18:30

I think the concept is interesting, but you really need to make it MORE lucrative to edit and improve old questions as opposed to LESS as suggested.

We tossed around the concept of allowing votes on edits, this was chucked out by management as to complicated / not useful enough.

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