Should poll questions be Community Wiki?

In other words, should they count for reputation for the question asker?

  • The link in this question is giving a 404 error. – PolyGeo Jun 24 '15 at 20:29
  • Nope. Not unless you don't have the reputation to see a deleted question. – GEOCHET Jun 30 '15 at 16:42

I hate poll questions. I would rather they not actually be posted rather than we sit here worrying about whether they are CW or not.

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    Well, I would agree with this too. But the polls are already upon us. – GEOCHET Aug 13 '09 at 17:53
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    @TheTXI, Amen sir! – devinb Aug 13 '09 at 17:56
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    -1 Poll questions have a place, to get loads of ideas that can be refined later. Polling/brainstorming is a valid method of gathering ideas, and sometimes you need to do it. – Welbog Aug 13 '09 at 17:57
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    SO is not for brainstorming. and if the purpose is to gather ideas, then it shouldn't matter if you can't gain rep doing it. – devinb Aug 13 '09 at 18:07
  • CW is a life or death question! – Troggy Oct 21 '09 at 15:11
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    If you look through your own SO question, you'll see that the most interesting ones were polls. 622246 460022 Also, your highest-scoring answers were polls, that were at least worth a laugh stackoverflow.com/posts/686228/edit ... please reconsider this dry and boring SO that you want to create. It's not even reflective of your own participation in the last year. Yes: social mores do change. The question is: do polls really interfere with the primary goals for SO? – Dan Rosenstark Oct 27 '09 at 16:55
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    @Yar: It is not surprising that subjective questions and answers incite people to vote more often, and votes are a poor way to measure the author's participation. – Gnome Sep 22 '10 at 20:20

Yes, because a poll question effectively belongs to the community, in my opinion. If the question author is not looking for an answer to a specific problem of theirs, but is simply compiling a list of something that may be useful to others in the community, then the community should have more control over how it is formatted and edited. Making it a Community Wiki thus allows more people in the community to control the content (due to the lower Rep threshold for editing).

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    This is only good argument I've seen for CW'ing polls. Congrats. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 18:00
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    I randomly downvote poll answers; just to throw everyone off. – George Stocker Oct 21 '09 at 15:35

In principle, there's no reason why they should be. Either the question is off-topic and should be removed, or it's on-topic and its wiki state should be at the discretion of its author.

In practice, there's a very good reason why they should be: polls work very, very poorly when answers cannot be voted on without giving or taking rep from the voters and votees. Furthermore, when posting a popular answer stands to garner rep for its author, there's more temptation to post a duplicate rather than up-voting an existing answer. And making a question CW is the only way to force all answers to be CW as well.

So long as the system continues to work this way, poll questions should always be CW for practical reasons. Admins should force this upon them if the original author neglects to do so...

  • This is the clearest and most concise reason I've seen. @Shog does the fact that the question author can no longer mark a post CW change your opinion any? – matt wilkie Nov 2 '10 at 19:14
  • @matt: more work for the moderators. – Shog9 Nov 3 '10 at 2:18

On Stack Overflow, Server Fault, and Super User, yes, but this is more because polls are subjective in nature, and subjective questions on the big 3 are either marked as CW or closed to prevent inordinate reputation gain.

Here on Meta, no. Meta is, by design, a site that deals with subjective questions and discussion all the time, and it makes no sense to force all of it into Community Wiki. In fact, back when Meta was initially created, I was in favor of the elimination of Wiki completely from the site.

However, since the migration of the FAQ over here, I've come to recognize the need for the "Wiki" aspect of "Community Wiki". Also, when conducting a poll, it's important to mark the responses as "Community Wiki" so people can vote them down without losing rep.

However, apart from the slight convenience in forcing all the answers into CW, there's no reason why the poll question itself has to be CW here on Meta.

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    I was just about to post roughly your first two sentences. +1 – mmyers Aug 13 '09 at 17:51
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    It forces the answers to be CW. This is reason enough. – GEOCHET Aug 13 '09 at 17:52
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    Basically, I couldn't care less about rep on Meta. If rep is nearly meaningless on SO, it's completely meaningless here. – mmyers Aug 13 '09 at 17:53
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    Well, poll questions really don't belong on SOSFSU at all. – devinb Aug 13 '09 at 17:55
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    @devinb: I generally agree, but I'll compromise on CW if it's of interest to enough others. – mmyers Aug 13 '09 at 17:58
  • @DevinB: And this is my point. If we are going to have /any/ polls (see TheTXI's answer), then they should by definition be on meta. And if they are on meta, it is silly to have a mod forcing each answer into CW status. – GEOCHET Aug 13 '09 at 17:58
  • I wholeheartedly agree. – devinb Aug 13 '09 at 18:06
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    @Kyle: You make a good point about having Poll answers CW so that people can post different answers without fear of being voted down. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 18:17
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    @Kyle, if you want to sit there and manually switch every answer to CW so that polls work without making the question itself CW, then that's fine. But in instances where no moderator has stepped up and committed himself to this onerous task, i don't see that the distinction matters - CW questions are the only way to accomplish consistently CW answers. – Shog9 Aug 13 '09 at 18:26

I believe that on meta, if the question is valid and related to SO and/or its family of sites, then the user is contributing to the goal of meta and should reap the rewards in the form of reputation. In fact, I would fully support the complete removal of the CW option from meta altogether.


Poll questions should be closed and deleted - rapidly.


Yes. There is no reason a poll question should count as reputation for the question asker.

Further, making the question CW will force all of the answers to be CW, which is obviously desirable.


Couldn't we make a new kind of question, similar to community wiki but call it a poll?

For example: This question asks Is it always evil to have a struct with methods? This question is about best practice and is subjective.

Clearly a "normal type question" is not not suitable since it is unfair to decrese users reputation based on their answers to subjective answers.

I also don't think that it should be a "community wiki" because that invites editing of the entire post (as opposed to just formatting etc).

I think that a new type of question should be created called a poll, for subjective questions.

(It seems especially useful for meta. In fact I think that this question should be a poll.)

  • That question is subjective, but it is not a poll. – Gnome Sep 22 '10 at 20:13


  • The people seem to disagree with you. If only I'd posted "Yes." I'd have exactly two upvotes by now. (I assume). – devinb Aug 13 '09 at 17:57
  • I agree, Polls should not be CW. They are valid contributions to the community, so contributors should get rep. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 17:57
  • @Lance: And you see no easy avenue of rep whoring via poll questions then? – GEOCHET Aug 13 '09 at 18:01
  • @Rich: There's that danger from all answers and questions. I see it all the time with people creating dupe questions, and getting some rep before it's closed. Personally I think they should have a different mechanism entirely for poll questions, maybe I'll post a Question on it. – Lance Roberts Aug 13 '09 at 18:14
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    @Lance: We do have an entirely different mechanism for poll questions. It is called "Community Wiki". – GEOCHET Aug 13 '09 at 19:01
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    Do you see any polls on Wikipedia? No. How can you say that Community Wiki is a mechanism for polls? The only reason CW is used for polls is that it is the only way to disable reputation gain/loss on votes. – awe Feb 24 '10 at 12:52

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