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What are “Community Wiki” posts?

As a new user at Stack Overflow I haven't figured out what the purpose of the community wiki checkbox is as I cannot see any way to access a wiki and there is no explanation of it in the FAQs section.

I think it would be helpful to make this clearer to new users.

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marked as duplicate by Ether, random Apr 5 '10 at 23:40

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3 Answers

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Did you read the Meta FAQ question about it? Or just the page linked "faq" at the top of every site? The Meta page is more useful. (I had a hard time finding it my first time looking, too.)

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yeah I did track it down in the end thanks for the link though. I generally just wanted to point out that this isn't being made clear to new users. –  rtpHarry Apr 5 '10 at 16:16
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The Community Wiki basically means that a question will not generate any reputation (positive or negative). You use it for questions which are somewhat off-topic or amusing. The cw questions are otherwise indistinguishable from normal questions and are found through the regular search.

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CW questions should still be on-topic. And as for "amusing", I've yet to see one that was. –  nb69307 Apr 5 '10 at 15:30
    
not sure about this reply? I got the impression it was a way to allow the community to edit posts even users with lower reputation. –  rtpHarry Apr 5 '10 at 16:19
    
It's a de facto vs. de jure thing. In practice, people use it when they want to ask a question they know isn't great but don't want to lose rep on, or when they post jokes/polls. –  Pops Apr 5 '10 at 16:38
    
@Neil I think the amusing is a normative judgement. I found some of the CW posts to be rather amusing (like #127394 ). That being said, the question is closed as 'not a real question' –  Mechko Apr 5 '10 at 17:06
    
Community wiki/ wiki is a mark they stick on some questions- its nothing like Wikipedia or any wiki site on the internet- which are specialist open source encyclopaedias whereby information is collected into one place. –  user2617804 Oct 5 '13 at 4:21
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CW is often used, or at least suggested, as a means to excuse a bad question from being closed. I don't think it works for that purpose, but there are many people who continue to suggest it.

The only CW posts that survive being closed are those that are closed, then voted to reopen, sometimes several times, until the closers just give up. That has little to do with the fact that they were CW, in my opinion, and more to do with the fact that they were very popular questions.

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