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There were 2 scenarios where recently I made my answer into CW:

  • OP spammed me, ignored my advices, kept begging and whining, so I gave up on helping and made my answer CW to signal others to take over. I gave up ownership of my answer, so others are free to copy parts of it (not that it's forbidden to begin with, but at least now it's more explicit), or just edit and improve it.

  • I answered one way, then contradicted my answer with another. Truth is, I didn't know the answer, and only went on a fact-finding mission, and compiled whatever I could. I eventually put everything together into one post, contrasting the findings, etc. It's not an "answer", but it's still good information (I thought), so I made it to CW, as a signal for others that they're free to use these information, add more research, make their own conclusion (hopefully justified by the information and not just an opinion, etc).

The questions are:

  • Is this proper scenarios to turn an answer to CW?
  • In both cases, nothing "happened" after I turn it to CW. Nobody in the community "took over". I didn't really pass the torch to anyone. It was just dropped and nobody picked it up.
    • Did something went "wrong" or should I expect this from time to time?
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So downvotes mean I am doing CW wrong? – polygenelubricants Jun 10 '10 at 9:23
Not really - according to Meta logic, an upvote is a sign of agreement so they would have to vote you up :) – Pëkka Jun 10 '10 at 9:28
@Down, haha! You said "Meta logic"! – Pops Jun 10 '10 at 16:44

Community Wiki simply means that you will not gain reputation, and that you are inviting other people to add additional information if they choose.

If I see a community wiki answer, and I don't agree with it, it doesn't mean I'm going to modify it. I would be more likely to add my own answer to the question. If you are discarding an answer and set it adrift on community wiki, it doesn't mean that anyone else will automatically pick it up, it simply means they could.

With questions where the OP is belligerent or in some way troubling, it is unlikely that someone else would want to jump in on the pain, and if they did, they'd probably (as I mentioned) simply create their own answer, and not just modify yours, CW it may be.

With your second example it seems like your intentions were in the right place, except that SO is by it's nature about questions and answers. Creating a huge list of interesting relevant links is good, except that the OP now has to go wading through all of those items before they know whether or not any of them are useful. The "post" at that time, contains links to value but not much value on it's own.

Again, making this CW will not immediately make it apparent that your intention is for other people to add links of their own. And, if the question is about a specific issue, then a huge list of interesting links won't be viewed by anyone who doesn't have that specific issue.

bottom line Making something CommunityWiki enables people to edit and add to your stuff, it does not necessarily mean that they want to.

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While community wiki makes it easier for others to edit your posts, it's not common for that to happen. You can use it however you like - what you have been doing is fine. A significant portion of the userbase only uses CW mode if they feel the question or answer is such that reputation should not be awarded - such a polls and subjective questions where a trivial answer might receive a disproportionate amount of votes.

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Hmm, I don't know the FAQ from heart but in both cases, I wouldn't have recognized your intention. When I give up on somebody, I usually say so in the comments, and I expect most others will, too. The contradicting answers would also be better off with a simple comment explaining the situation - not sure it makes sense to post two "answers" at all though when you don't know which is correct.

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You're actually trying to use Community Wiki the way it was designed. It was designed to allow more collaborative editing, so since that was your purpose it was the right thing to do. There are many who have tried to create a weapon out of Community Wiki to bash those who post subjective questions, instead of just closing them. Thanks for the effort.

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Yep, been victimized by such weapon before. – polygenelubricants Jun 10 '10 at 14:52

I think that it's the rare case where an answer is developed collaboratively. Even people with "edit any post" ability, rarely do anything more than correct grammar, spelling, or formatting in an answer that's been provided by someone else. Making an answer community wiki might make them more willing to change things, but I doubt it. Community wiki, regardless of its intent, has largely come to mean "not for points."

Questions, on the other hand, are different. Editors will often step in to help out a question. Usually with the minor things listed above, but often will make significant changes to improve a marginal question into something that can be answered. I can't speak for others but I do this regardless of the CW status. I might be tempted to add more to a CW question -- perhaps even change the character of it if I think that would make it a better question. I would never do that to a non-CW question.

Other than lowering the bar to make these questions/answers accessible to editing by more people and taking the points off the table, I don't see much practical difference in how people interact with CW questions that are "on topic." CW is sometimes used as a tool in helping a marginal question stay active and there are legitimate times when a question is both "on topic" and "not for points" where CW is very appropriate. I don't see how that applies to answers, though. If an answer is "not for points," then you should seriously consider making it a comment. If an answer is getting significant downvotes, then you should evaluate whether the answer is wrong/unhelpful and consider deleting it.

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