This "auto-moderation" feature has outlived its usefulness.
Community Wiki really isn't used much anymore. Partially, as I explain below, that's because it's a malfeature. But more importantly, we now have Suggested Edits, which means that even anonymous users can fix problems in posts. It's nice that low-reputation users can skip the review process on CW questions, but very few questions lend themselves to this sort of treatment in my experience. (There's an argument to be made for CW posts in the
meta.* side of a site, but I don't intend to make that argument.)
Since Community Wiki rarely occurs naturally, users are only confronted with it when it is imposed artificially as a tool to moderate user behavior or limit reputation from a single post. The first is utterly pointless since most users don't learn about this from of censor until after the punishment has been meted. As far as I know, the user isn't even notified that they are running out of "free" edits.
As for limiting reputation, are these the sort of posts we should discourage:
- A thoughtful answer to my Philosophy question.
- A continuously updated question concerning Genealogy and Family History.
- An answer that has been called "one of the best answers on SO" and a "Beautiful answer" and "one of the best answers I have read on this site."
- [Insert other examples that I've noticed but can no longer find or new examples as they come up.]
These are good posts made better via edits.
On the gripping hand:
- A frankly poor answer from a user who really is trying to improve. The trouble here is that CW makes it seem like he wants his detractors to freely edit the answer. CW sends the wrong signal in this case.
These posts should be reviewed instead.
When this feature was introduced, there wasn't a mechanism for humans to review the work of other participants except by watching the question stack. These days, we have a Community Review Task feature. It seems to me that if a post has been edited many times1, the post is a candidate for the Low Quality Posts queue or, perhaps, a new queue altogether. Some frequently edited posts are of low quality. But not all. The ones that aren't should be allowed to life full, rich lives. And, of course, low quality posts (of all sorts) should be downvoted and/or deleted.
Currently, if you want to have the Community Wiki status removed, simply flag a moderator. On smaller sites at least, we are happy to fix the problem.2
"Community wiki" is a Frankenstein's monster of a feature. (Look at it's name! What does it mean?) A great many of the uses for this feature have, in my opinion, been removed by the introduction of this meta-site. Over-editting is definitely one of the odder ways to trigger "community wiki", but it makes a bit of sense if the purpose of the feature is to open up editing to more people. If a post is edited X times, it's a good guess that it's the sort of post that could benefit from more editors.
Sadly, "community wiki" does more than just allow a larger population to edit a post. Some of the effects might make sense in certain cases, but it seems dumb to penalize a question that happens to have a number of typos. Even worse is penalizing a questioner who periodically maintains their own question.
I think the entire feature needs to be rethought and this particular problem readdressed. The current "solution" is too complicated.
Is it 10 rather than 6 times now? It's hard to keep track. Which is another reason to kill this "feature".
I'm not sure what happens to those flags on larger sites. It probably depends on which moderator sees the flag and what sort of mood they are in at the time. On the site I'm currently a moderator for, we are excited to see a flag since they are somewhat rare. I gather that's not the case on some of the bigger sites.