Personal Interest

I'll be quick to say that I'm only asking this question because I recently answered an old question with what I thought was a unique insight into the original question and didn't realize that my response would automatically become a community wiki answer.

Does Automatically Marking New Answers as Community Wiki Discourage New Answers?

I don't regret posting my answer, but doesn't this logic of automatically converting a new answer into a community wiki answer discourage new answers altogether? Perhaps that is the point? I'm not entirely sure what the aim of that is meant to accomplish.

In my case, my answer became a community wiki answer for two reasons: 1.) Question was already marked as community wiki and 2.) There were over 30 answers already.

My answer can be found here: RegEx match open tags except XHTML self-contained tags. I'm not saying my answer is the best, but I do feel it brings a unique response that satisfies the question nicely and shows a considerable amount of research / documentation.

Similar Questions to This

In no way am I challenging why my answer became a community wiki answer. I get it. In fact I listed out two reasons why it became a community wiki answer above. I'm asking, doesn't this behavior discourage new answers? I'm pretty sure I won't go through the trouble I did again to post an answer that receives no points. It's bad enough to be buried by 36+ other competing answers. Creating a new answer that is automatically converted into a community wiki answer feels like wasted effort.

Anyhow, here are some questions that are remotely related to mine.

Edit :: Aparently there is a very similar Q: Does making question wiki discourage people from giving answers?. But it has no answer :(

Discussion - Is there a better way? How to change things? Why is it the way it currently is?

It's hard to propose a better solution without knowing why this behavior exists to begin with. However, I wonder if something like having a user forfeit reputation in order to post an answer would be a better alternative. The user could still have an answer that is not a community wiki, but he'd have to 1.) perhaps have a certain level of reputation and 2.) be willing to part with reputation in order to answer.

  • I removed the CW from your answer; it seems like a good one. – user102937 Feb 2 '12 at 17:39
  • Really, you chose that post to chime in on? – casperOne Feb 2 '12 at 18:06

Does automatic community wiki answers discourage more responses?

Yes, and this is by design.

I'm not saying my answer is the best, but I do feel it brings a unique response that satisfies the question nicely and shows a considerable amount of research / documentation.

That's fine, and you brought it up here on meta as an exceptional situation, and it was handled by a moderator. That's also by design. For further explanation:

Does making question wiki discourage people from giving answers?

Yes. Yes it does. Intentionally.

Creating a new answer that is automatically converted into a community wiki answer feels like wasted effort.

To be brutally honest, we don't really want new answers on a "question" that has 30 "answers" already. If you feel compelled and absolutely must answer such questions, feel free to bring it up here on meta as the exceptional situation it is, and it will be handled.

I don't disagree: your answer is good. It's OK to point that out on meta. But the system is completely working as designed.


The question you linked does have an answer. Kevin Montrose states the answer quite eloquently: "What discourages me from answering most wiki questions is the 30+ other answers already there."

CW is imposed on further answers because... well, what's the point of providing yet another answer, if a question already has 30 answers?

Making subsequent answers CW discourages further piling on, by design.

  • True, but also notice Evan Anderson's comment to that answer in that he wouldn't leave a detailed long answer and that combined with being buried by competing answers and getting no rep is a strong deturrent. I wonder how many users share the high horse with Kevin and would not only give an answer, but a detailed documented one. – Sam Feb 2 '12 at 17:37
  • Also - there is 0 point to piling on more answers unless that answer provides something that the others do not. Hopefully duplicate answers get no votes whereas the "good answers" do. – Sam Feb 2 '12 at 17:38
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    Ultimately, an automatically CW'd question is a symptom of a larger problem: the question itself is "Not Constructive." Also, note that the particular question you referenced is a bit of an aberration; it's got nearly a half-million views on it, because of Bobince's legendary answer. – user102937 Feb 2 '12 at 17:38
  • I think you're on to something. :D Agreed, a lot of answers to a question could indicate a bad Q. Maybe that is what I ran into. So, if there is a bad Q then sites such as StackOverflow want to discourage more answers piling on? – Sam Feb 2 '12 at 17:42
  • I also agree that that question has an absurd number of views. But I felt torn. Opening a new question to ask that seemed... dumb and likely to get closed, but I also felt I had a unique answer that nobody else proposed. So... What's a guy to do? Obviously the Q and Bobinces legendary answer are marked community for the absurd votes / views, but why should that effect my answer which is completely different (opposite in fact)? – Sam Feb 2 '12 at 17:45
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    @sam you have an extremely exceptional situation there -- and choosing to answer a hugely popular old question with 500k views brings its own problems. I would not generalize here at all. "My arm hurts when I do this!" "Then stop doing that!" (fine to discuss it on meta, of course, but imagineering some kind of system wide change for this is ludicrous) – Jeff Atwood Feb 2 '12 at 17:46

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