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Okay, what's the problem here?

It's a well-known fact that the Community Wiki feature is not well-understood.

So what?

Anecdotally, it doesn't seem like there are many instances of CW being used for good out in the Stack Exchange world. Unfortunately, there are plenty of instances of CW being used for evil, or at least for neutral. This is true for values of evil and neutral equal to (in no particular order)

  • "I know my question doesn't belong here, but I'm not going to gain any rep for it, so it's okay."
  • "Ooh, a checkbox, that must be the 'I have read the ToS' box that I have to click before I can post."
  • "I'm really not sure what to do here... I'll make it CW to keep the CW police off my back."
  • "This is a bad post, and I expect it to be downvoted, but I don't want to lose rep."

Even the one CW use case most people did more or less agree on — polls on Meta — is now near-obsolete, since per-site meta actions have no effect on rep.

Can we just get rid of it?

If a feature is doing more harm than good, it should be fixed or removed. But even though the bad ones outweigh the good ones, abolishing CW outright might be going too far. Consider:

  • there are existing valid CW posts; I've written some of them myself
  • polls on MSO, where there is still rep (meaningless though it may be)
  • FAQ entries
  • that rarest of birds, the list question that can be answered objectively

What do we do, then?

Previous discussion — see top of question — has focused on trying to define CW. On this post, I want people to discuss how we can change to make it more useful and/or less abusable. Here, have some starter ideas:

  • keep CW around, but restrict its use
    • make it a status that doesn't take effect until a mod approves it
    • or, as suggested in chat, allow only users with a certain amount of rep to convert their posts to CW status, the way we do with so many other privileges
  • even a name change, as originally proposed here but not fully implemented, could go a long way
share|improve this question
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Note that I'm quite familiar with CW - I just can't help but observe that attempts to use it as a compromise for subjective/poll/gtky questions has pretty much failed. Not that a handful of users running around screaming "CW Police" did much to help there... –  Shog9 Oct 8 '10 at 18:31
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@Shog: To be fair, the "CW Police" themselves weren't/aren't helping much either, because they were/are always demanding CW on questions that should [have] simply be[en] closed. That just sets the tone that goof-off questions are OK. –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:01
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@Aarobot: I'm a bit more forgiving of users who err while trying to help others than of users who torpedo any discussion with name-calling. I've been happy to see that the new SE sites (with the predictable exception of Programmers.SE) seem to have come up with guidelines for the use of CW without all the fuss that surrounded it on SO. I suspect it helps that they're still low-traffic enough that moderators can step in and force-CW where required without it turning into a drawn-out argument. –  Shog9 Oct 8 '10 at 19:27
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@Shog: Yeah, but sometimes they're not really trying to help. When they post "this should be CW" they really mean "ZOMG somebody is getting reputationz for this!!!11one the horror!!" –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:40
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@Aarobot: some people are rude in comments. That goes for comments on meta-subjects like CW or spelling/grammar just as it goes for comments on technical matters. That's why there's a "flag" feature. I've seen plenty of rude comments asking for clarification, but I still think asking for clarification is a good thing for unclear questions. –  Shog9 Oct 8 '10 at 19:55
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The idea of dropping community is BULLSHIT... Community wiki are useful and they are.. If some guys are stupid then BAN them from community. Punish them by deactivate their accounts.Do what ever. But idea of dropping CW is non sense. –  Mohit Jain Oct 14 '10 at 13:41
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@pie, we created a whole new site for questions like yours. Why not ask there instead of on SO? –  Pops Oct 14 '10 at 14:15
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@pie: are you saying you'd rather be banned from SO than being invited to ask your question on programmers.SE? –  Ether Oct 14 '10 at 17:05
    
@Popular Demand I dont want to start any debate and i strongly disagree with the idea of dropping community wiki. if u guys agree with Aarobot answer then why dont you restrict the editing of community wiki . The question under community wiki are quite useful and making a new website for this is totally crap. Creating a new website means more time consuming exercise. Questions like this are useful. (stackoverflow.com/questions?sort=votes). I dont know who says they are useless. –  Mohit Jain Oct 14 '10 at 18:10
    
@Ether here is new useful website programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/39/… –  Mohit Jain Oct 14 '10 at 18:26
    
@Popular PLEASE CLOSE; DUPLICATE –  Mark C Oct 15 '10 at 10:17
    
@Mark, there's no need to yell. What's this a duplicate of? Also note that the question has already been marked [status-completed], and is the de facto announcement page for the CW option on questions being removed. –  Pops Oct 15 '10 at 12:09
    
@Popular I was having fun; this is obviously a useful and active topic. –  Mark C Oct 15 '10 at 14:21
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This question doesn't mention the most [potentially] useful aspect of CW questions: making it possible to compile a comprehensive resource based on numerous answers. I understood that this was the reason why questions that don't have a "correct answer" were to be CW, i.e. so that the question or the top-voted response could be collaboratively edited to save people the trouble of browsing through pages of answers to glean information. –  intuited Oct 17 '10 at 3:20
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@intuited, I gave posts like the ones you describe a sideways mention under "there are existing valid CW posts; I've written some of them myself." I decided that forcing my definition of CW onto the post wasn't going to contribute to the goal, though. –  Pops Oct 17 '10 at 15:15

10 Answers 10

up vote 40 down vote accepted

Important Change - Status completed

Users can not mark questions wiki anymore, across the network.


I have an easy idea for a fix.

Disable the option to mark questions community wiki by the question author. (allow them to become CW naturally if thats what GxD wants, or allow moderators to)

Look at this list for example:

Last 100 questions that were wiki from get go.

I'm counting maybe 1/10 that should be wiki from get go, and even they just feel like poor topics that do not belong.

The vast majority seem like user errors. example, more, even more

(requires 10k) And there is also a bunch of stuff that really did not belong: like this, this and this wonderful gem.

Also, the option to mark questions wiki from get go is a source of much pain on SO and overall is a negative feature.

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Isn't this basically going back to the original days of Stack Overflow? I thought CW mode originally was just for answers... they added it to questions because people were asking for/demanding it. –  Aarobot Oct 10 '10 at 16:20
    
I don't remember that, @aarobot... If so, it would have been a very early, brief period. At one time, it was optional for answers, even those posted to CW questions though. And for a while authors were prevented from making a post cw after it was posted. –  Shog9 Oct 10 '10 at 16:33
    
Hm, I feel like I've seen this suggestion before, which makes me think it is/was [status-declined]. Can't find it though. +1 in any case. –  Pops Oct 10 '10 at 16:49
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So I recently saw this lovely thing over on Ask Ubuntu. To summarize - a seemingly open-ended question is asked by a user who is unfamiliar with CW. One user posts a comment that it should probably be Community Wiki, but shortly afterwards another user posts a concise and rather complete answer. This is indicative of the issue we have with people enforcing CW; and how it played out seems to be some strong evidence that disabling the ability to mark CW for the question author seems like a great solution. –  Grace Note Oct 13 '10 at 18:32
    
+1, This is absolutely the best solution. –  Lance Roberts Oct 13 '10 at 20:34
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@Grace: It's only really a solution if you can also prevent people from spamming the question with their favourite <whatever>. Which presents a bit of a dilemma for moderators (including community moderators): Does a question deserve to be closed simply because it has attracted bad answers? –  Aarobot Oct 13 '10 at 21:00
    
@Aarobot Why should we cast judgment on the question author and good answerers in response to those who post bad answers? We handle bad answers the same way we handle things like "thank you" answers - protect the question to stop the junk from new-users, and flag the junk from experienced-users-who-should-know-better for moderator attention. –  Grace Note Oct 13 '10 at 21:06
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@Grace: Are you willing to do that for every open-ended question? Are you going to be the one to take the flak for deleting every single stupid answer that got a bronze or silver badge while you were on your bathroom break? I think we both know that these questions are the flames to draw in the moths in any community; actually permitting rep-farming to carry on that way is the only thing I can think of that's worse than Community Wiki confusion. –  Aarobot Oct 13 '10 at 22:23
    
@Aarobot CW doesn't stop the badges awarded for votes, so I hardly see how the badge scenario has anything to do with this. But past that, I don't think every open-ended question necessarily needs to be left open; if a question is too open-ended, or if it's proving to attract nothing but bad answers then it makes sense to close. But making the question CW doesn't really solve anything. It just promotes a misconception that we actually allow those super-open-ended questions. –  Grace Note Oct 13 '10 at 23:04
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@Grace: I was only mentioning badges as an example of "a lot of upvotes." Obviously the badge-farming issue is a separate one. The point is, I think you'll have a lot of trouble justifying the closure of questions based on the answers they've received; if you can't communicate a consistent policy for which questions are OK and which are not, people are going to get frustrated and pissed off. –  Aarobot Oct 14 '10 at 0:55
    
@Aarobot At this point, I'm a bit boggled since I'm suddenly on the receiving end of the very argument I give on Gaming regularly. And I haven't actually changed my stance from that. –  Grace Note Oct 14 '10 at 2:15
    
This is an awesome change. Although I can still mark answers as community wiki. Is that intentional? –  user149432 Oct 14 '10 at 7:40
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Eee, I hope this doesn't lead to massive rep farming... there are so many poll-type questions happening on all of the sites and it's going to take a long time to shift people into the "close it" mentality, if that is indeed what you want... –  Aarobot Oct 14 '10 at 14:12
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this answer should be accepted for increased visibility. –  alexanderpas Oct 14 '10 at 17:02
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Great, so there's going to be even more rep-whoring, with silly questions like "hidden features of language X", and "what interview questions should every Foo programmer be able to answer". There's simply not enough people to close these questions to counteract the "every question is a good question" knee-jerk reopeners. So this just pushes the problem somewhere else, to a problem space no one has been willing to address. –  Ether Oct 14 '10 at 18:04

I'm whole-heartedly in favour of changing the name - especially on non-technical Stack Exchange sites, where the phrase "community wiki" is completely meaningless to the majority of users. Even just the word "wiki" is pretty meaningless to non-techies, let alone the concept of a "community wiki".

I propose changing the text of the checkbox to:

☑ Allow other members to edit my post (no reputation earned)

Or, if that's too confusing on account of some users being able to edit anyway, then:

☑ Allow anyone to edit my post

And in other parts of the UI, i.e. below the question, change the text to something like Collaborative or Community Owned, which clearly indicates that it's a question of ownership and not reputation. Just get rid of the nebulous "wiki" word which doesn't really mean anything.

Somebody has probably proposed this before; I apologize to whomever I have inadvertently ripped off.

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The issue with both wording suggestions is that anyone can edit anyone's posts without community wiki (provided they've proved themselves by getting to 3,000 rep): it's something the FAQ explicitly states is a feature of the Stack Exchange system. There needs to be another stated reason why one woukd choose community wiki. In reality, the "proper" use of community wiki isn't to enable (or disable) additional functionality, but to indicate to others that the question/answer is in need of collaborative editing because it's not definitive in its current state. –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 19:02
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@Mark, if I may add to your comment, I always looked at CW in part as implying that others have permission, not merely the ability, to make edits. –  Pops Oct 8 '10 at 19:06
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@Mark: I do not agree with the premise that any of this needs to be made clear to people who are new to the system. By convention it is expected that "reputation" edits will generally be to clarify or correct minor mistakes in a question/answer and not to significantly change the content, which is what a "community wiki" edit would be for. As well, community wiki does not necessarily indicate a need for editing, just, as Pop says, permission or encouragement. The post may well be complete in its current form. –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:09
    
(cont) @Mark - if a user is later confused by a non-Community Wiki edit ("but I didn't check the box!") then they can go to the FAQ - this is actually made clear on the official FAQ, they don't even need to visit meta. I strongly suspect that this would happen very infrequently. Higher-rep members rarely edit answers, and when they edit questions it's usually minor. Considering that a lot of people don't understand the difference between reputation privileges and moderation, they'd probably just brush it off anyway. –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:10
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@Aarobot I generally agree with you with respect to the Trilogy, but on the Stack Exchange sites which have their own rules of ettiquite, editing can involve drastic changes to improve the quality of a question or answer: in fact, such action is being recommended on Programmers.SE to salvage borderline questions. I think Popular Demand's note about CW indicating the author's preference is apt in this: CW indicates to others that the author is okay with drastic changes to his question/answer to make it better. –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 19:22
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@Pop: that's a dangerous line of thinking. Users don't need permission to edit posts, CW or otherwise. –  Shog9 Oct 8 '10 at 19:31
    
@Mark: Programmers.SE is an extreme exception. I think that on most SE sites, such editing is extremely rare; can you point me to a non-programmer/non-computer SE where this happens frequently? –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:31
    
@Aarobot I'm not active on others, so I can't. But we shouldn't be making normative declaratons (that all edits should be minor except on Programmers.SE) based on current usage. Programmers.SE is a great example to show that drastic editing is on the table for future Stack Exchange sites, and that the original intent behind Community Wiki can help set people's expectations on both sites that welcome drastic editing and sites that don't. –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 19:37
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No, @Mark, Programmers.SE is a horrible example for almost any line of reasoning. It's just a universally horrible example of virtually everything. Hopefully it will become a better example once it's cleaned up, but no other SE I've seen needs anywhere close to that amount of editing (and really, what Programmers.SE needs is a bunch of questions to be deleted). –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:38
    
@Shog, true. I meant permission to edit for content/meaning, rather than just grammar/formatting, since that is discouraged. –  Pops Oct 8 '10 at 19:39
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@Pop, the system still can't enforce that. What it does enforce is who can edit. With normal posts, only a few people (relatively speaking) can edit. With Community Wiki posts, almost anyone can. That is the main distinction. The checkbox doesn't need to convey intent (as Mark has stated a few times), what it needs most is to be unambiguous. –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:49
    
@Aarobot, I'm not asking for the system to enforce anything. It's just a backwards-looking note. –  Pops Oct 8 '10 at 19:53
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@Pop: There's a line of thought that says editing should never go beyond trivial grammar and formatting changes. This is not, however, a restriction that is implied by the system itself, nor one I'm comfortable backing. Editing for content or clarity may not be appropriate all or even most of the time, but it does have its uses and IMHO is not done enough on SO. –  Shog9 Oct 8 '10 at 20:02
    
@Shog: further to @Pop's comment earlier, the word permission here more often means "I welcome and invite others to edit and improve this post" than "I hereby allow others to...". –  matt wilkie Oct 20 '10 at 19:33
    
@matt: "invite" may be a better choice of wording then. –  Shog9 Oct 21 '10 at 0:13

The problem with Community Wiki is a mentality one. Its existence is for the purpose of edit access, but people obsess over the fact it has no reputation. People view it from these tinted lens because that is how it is actively encouraged. Even the team goes around saying "If you want to make a list, you should start off on Community Wiki". When the truth is, Community Wiki isn't an enabler in that fashion.

I think the most important step is we need to take a step back from all of the "enforcement" of Community Wiki; we should stop suggesting Community Wiki to others. Naturally, this is largely also a mentality issue, but we can at least start by making examples for others to follow.

On Gaming, we basically came to the conclusion that the only proper use cases of Community Wiki on the parent site are on answers. CW on questions helps on Meta in the case of things like FAQs where the question truly is community owned. But otherwise, it's only really helpful in answers. And so we turn the focus of that answer to be less about "earning reputation", and more about "making a great answer". Which is the real utility of Community Wiki - making things good.

Since the establishment of these use cases, we have been restrained against enforcing Community Wiki even on the dangerous, subjective questions. Largely, this is because the really bad ones just get closed or deleted. We have a lot of options at our disposal which not only are reversible, but also do not misconstrue the purpose of what is being used nor give a false image of what is allowed on the site. Instead of making Community Wiki a step towards acceptability, let us make it an exceptional case for exceptionally useful times.

With regards to lists, which make a special case: if this is a case where the list is built inside one answer, as opposed to that one-per-answer model, then Community Wiki remains not necessary. Sometimes people can build lists by themselves, and if they can then they deserve all the rewards for doing so - acknowledgement as the author as well as the associated reputation for a great answer.

Community Wiki functions best as a tool for people who want help. It does not function well as a tool that everyone else suggests because it might be a good idea. If I don't need your help to construct my awesome answer, then I don't need to make it Community Wiki. In fact, no one even suggests it in these kinds of situations! The only suggestions for Community Wiki are for bad reasons centered on avoiding reputation change. So I think it's high time that we try to cut back on that.


On top of this, I think Aarobot's suggestion is another step in the right direction. Instead of having this nebulous "Community Wiki" title that no one comprehends, just have the check box explicitly describe the real purpose of it. If reputation has to be mentioned, always keep it in the same sentence explaining that it is because the community as a whole owns the post. Remove the emphasis that reputation isn't earned, and just focus the explanation on constructing excellent answers.

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+1. The thing I dislike the most is the idea "why would someone get rep points for answering my poll?" What's the harm is someone getting rep points? –  sharptooth Oct 14 '10 at 13:26
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@piemesons: Very smart and explicit comment. –  ereOn Oct 14 '10 at 13:46

There's an answer to a similar question on Meta Programmers:

Rename Community Wiki to Collaborative Question (or similar)

By renaming the feature we clarify it's exact purpose, and can also add a warnings and remove auto CW conversion. Most questions here will not need to be collaborative. But a few might benefit.

By renaming you are making the "anyone can edit" intention explicit rather than implicit and de-emphasising the "no rep" part.

You might also make people realise that lists, subjective questions polls aren't what CW (or CQ) posts are for.

share|improve this answer

The SO tree grows for more than two years now. It sprouts new branches every day. And some strange fruits are growing on them. We have trolls, spammers and clueless newbies. Doh, this is the Internet where anonymous existence triggers the dark side of some of us.

But we also have a lot of willing users that like to help others. We have rep whores that are willing to provide quality answers and some even do it for fun. Using the CW checkbox to mark their free contribution.

Just remember, if we get rid of anything that is or will be misused, we are left with nothing.

The label "community wiki" isn't the best choice. But the concept fits perfectly in the bigger SO plan. And in the end we have a great community. We can deal with trolls and spammers. And clueless newbies grow into community members or leave for other corners of the internet.

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I think a large part of the confusion with Community Wiki is that there is technical functionality (no rep, lowered rep requirement for editing) attached to something that's merely meant to indicate to others that the question or answer is not definitive and could use the help of the community to make it better.

As I mentioned in my comment on Aarobot's answer, pointing out that it allows people to edit your question is a misnomer: community members can do that whether Community Wiki is enabled or not; a feature that the FAQ explicitly points out. And we've already seen how people abuse the no-rep part of it, so that shouldn't be pointed out, either.

Instead, I think the wording should indicate the intent, not the functionality, behind enabling Community Wiki. That is,

This answer is not definitive and needs the help of other experts to make it better.

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I agree with the first part of your answer but not the second. You can point to almost any Wikipedia article and argue that it is, or is not, definitive, depending on your perspective. There are subtle differences between a post or author (a) needing edits, (b) wanting edits, (c) expecting edits, and (d) permitting edits, all of which fit into CW. You're actually dwelling on another minor technicality that most people don't care about, which is edit reputation; "allow anyone" should clearly imply "allow anyone regardless of their reputation." –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:17
    
@Aarobot merely indicating that anyone can edit the question (when anyone can to begin with) is too opaque to what community wiki is actually for, and would affect a user's expectation of how the system works: that is, if I don't check that box, it would stand to reason people can't edit my posts (even though we know that's not true). I mentioned in my response to your commrnt on your answer that edits are not necessarily minor, and all edits are not universally welcomed. –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 19:30
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@Aarobot so, the option should indicate to the poster what the intent is: that he's welcoming, not merely allowing, others to make substantive changes to his post. –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 19:30
    
@Mark: I think everybody who uses any Q&A site or forum or internet site period knows that a moderator or administrator can edit their post, and to most inexperienced members, people who can edit or close are moderators. Again, for the extremely rare cases when this might actually confuse somebody, the information is right there in the FAQ, and if they're still confused they can ask on meta. The wording you've chosen makes it far more likely that people are going to check it accidentally without really understanding what it means ("I think this is the right answer, but I'm not sure.") –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:35
    
Mark, that is why I also offered the second phrasing, Allow **anyone** to edit my post. Non-Community-Wiki posts can't be edited by just anyone. The language is completely accurate, and if people don't understand why they would want that, then they shouldn't use it. As Grace points out, it's only useful in rare cases anyway. –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:37
    
@Aarobot My issue is with the phrase "allow anyone". A person who is confused about the feature is going to be a new user: at some point, the feature will be new to everyone and they're not going to know what it's for. To a new user, there is no difference between low rep & high rep users. We already see a version of this confusion with people who confuse 10k users, 3k users, & diamond mods. That editing without CW requires 3k rep is not something casual usage of the system conveys. –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 19:52
    
@Aarobot So again, a reading from a person who is not intimately familiar with the system is going to intrepret the literal implications of the option: if I don't check it, people can't edit my stuff. What's the harm in being crystal clear about the purpose of the option instead of leaving it up to the user the possibility of misinterpreting the wording? –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 19:52
    
@Mark, I think you're underestimating people's intelligence. When a checkbox says "Allow anyone to edit my post", they are not going to automatically assume that the reverse is " No one can edit my post." When you see a wi-fi hotspot that advertises public access (i.e. "anyone can connect"), do you automatically assume that no one can use the private ones? No; only some people can use the private ones and it's the same thing here. The opposite of anyone isn't no one, it's not anyone i.e. only some people. –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 19:57
    
@Aarobot you got the converse wrong. The converse of both this case and the wifi case is "require my permission" not "a subset of anyone can still do it". –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 20:03
    
What are you talking about? In none of the examples discussed is explicit permission ever required. The only difference between "open" (wiki) and "closed" (normal) is that most people (not all) don't have access to the "closed." My condo apartment does not have open access but building maintenance staff can still get in without my explicit permission; they can do this because the corporation owns the locks and trusts those people. This is an almost universally-understood concept; "private" does not mean "only people I invite", it means "only people I invite and other privileged people." –  Aarobot Oct 8 '10 at 22:22
    
@Aarobot right, except there's a difference between a 3k/10k rep user and a diamond moderator/SOIS staff. In your condo example, it'd be asking people to believe that it's universally understood that people living in the community for over a year are allowed to enter anyone's condo, even if you didn't sign the part of your lease that said "Allow anyone to enter my condo." As I said, a person who isn't intimately familiar with the rep system (i.e. the vast majority of users) makes no distinction between the different rep levels. You're assuming way too much about the average user's knowledge. –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 23:36
    
@Aarobot Figuring out UI elements shouldn't have to be a badge of honor for those who have spent the time to figure out how all the different parts of the Stack Exchange system work together, like which rep levels would override one's choice. It's infinitely easier to just explain, in clear, unambiguous language, what enabling the option will do for the user. –  user149432 Oct 8 '10 at 23:39
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Mark, that has absolutely nothing to do with Community Wiki anymore. We could do away with the entire feature and people would still need to understand that their posts can be edited by people with enough reputation. That's why it's in the FAQ. Please, let's not conflate this issue with Community Wiki; that status simply means anyone can edit the post as opposed to "whatever" the case normally is. –  Aarobot Oct 9 '10 at 2:59

The problems with CW are a symptom of the disputes over subjective questions. If the FAQ and close reasons were clear about the appropriateness of subjective (not necessarily argumentative) questions, and the appropriate use of CW for these questions (if any), then the slight clumsiness of the name would be irrelevant. The big questions are

  1. Are subjective questions acceptable?
  2. Should subjective questions and their answers get rep.
  3. If subjective questions and answers should get rep, how can we fix their tendency to get disproportionately large amounts of rep?
share|improve this answer
    
Convenience link to blog: Good Subjective, Bad Subjective –  Pops Oct 11 '10 at 4:20
    
@Pop That's all very nice, but have you noticed any evidence that the battle has subsided within the community? Or that the front page is materially less coated with fluff? –  Rosinante Oct 11 '10 at 13:58
    
it was a convenience link only. It does not and was not intended to convey any support for or against your post. –  Pops Oct 11 '10 at 14:16

From my perspective, this is documented here

http://meta.stackoverflow.com/privileges/community-wiki

When should I make my questions or answers Community Wiki?

  1. When you want to enhance the "wiki" aspect of your post, so that it can be a continually evolving source of good information through repeated editing.

  2. When you feel your post would benefit from less concern about voting affecting the reputation of those participating in it.

That's pretty much the gist of it.

The tooltip when you hover your mouse over the checkbox is also fairly self-explanatory:

alt text

Community owned posts do not generate any reputation for the owner, have a lower reputation barrier for collaborative editing, and show only a revision history instead of a signature block.

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Users don't read tooltips or FAQs unless they have a problem. UI design 101: Make elements say what they mean, avoid "mystery meat" options that people have to look up. –  Aarobot Oct 10 '10 at 16:22
    
I'm pretty sure we all knew that already :P The problem is that even if it's documented, people don't read and thus misuse the feature –  Andreas Bonini Oct 10 '10 at 22:41
    
As Aarobot says in his answer, I'm not sure that non-technical users (of which there will hopefully be more and more) really understand what a wiki is anyway. –  Benjol Oct 11 '10 at 7:50

There is one other reason that some users (myself included) used to mark questions as Community Wiki. CW questions do not contribute to your accept rate, and sometimes you can anticipate that you will not accept an answer (but if you do not accept an answer to a non-CW question then your accept rate drops.)

I have once flagged one of my questions as CW for this reason. There are 6 answers. All could be said to be "correct" and I would not want to have to choose one over the others. That is exactly what I expected, and it is not a subjective question.

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I think there still needs to be a "Discussion/Subjective" question type. And to be honest this is more of how I see the "Community Wiki". The fact that it's been mass editable and a reputation void has not been a priority for me.

I do find it frustrating that interesting discussion-like questions get closed for being subjective and argumentative when they simply do not fit into the 1 answer per question mould.

[x] Discussion

And I see no reason why questions/answers of this type should not get rep.

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-1, "allowing discussion/subjective questions" is not now and was not ever the purpose of CW. Nobody reasonable ever said that discussions or subjective questions were bad, but they're not the niche that Stack Exchange wants to serve (though that's been relaxed recently‌​). –  Pops Oct 28 '10 at 14:15
    
Ok, fair enough - thanks for the clarity. I guess I was just another user that didn't quite get it. Although I would have thought "...a continually evolving source of good information through repeated editing." would need to involve some kind of discussion somewhere?! –  w3d Oct 28 '10 at 18:24

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