I would very much like to be able to edit my posts beyond 9 times without them automatically being converted to Community Wiki. I am willing to forgo the "pop to top of home page" function as many times as necessary in order to have this, since apparently that is the true driving factor behind the CW flag being used after 10 edits when there is only a single editor--to discourage edits due to the "nudge" action this triggers.

You might ask me why I would ever edit a post that many times.

Well, take this answer for example (please do not upvote unless you REALLY want to--I am not trying to use meta to cruise for votes plus it's CW anyway). In it I use two SQL query techniques that I have never seen anyone else use (at least not in that exact form) and that together achieve a 100 times improvement in reads over the next best query (which itself is quite respectable). After my initial post, I added a huge explanation section. I added performance testing. I corrected typos and awkward wording. I ended up posting, the next day, a complete rewrite of the query that cut its CPU time in half and is substantially simpler. Coming up with the basic idea and turning it into the best query took me literally hours of tinkering, and required some really intense thinking.

I have flagged the question for moderator attention, and requested politely for CW status to be removed, but to no avail. (Is there some way to see if a moderator has decided on an action, or whether it is still in a queue somewhere?) So it appears that any future votes on what I consider a sublime work of art will not gain any value to me. (Please forgive me for the conceit of thinking that the child of my own brain is beautiful when it may in fact be ugly--I don't imagine myself a genius or something. It's just a really cool query that I got very excited about.)

It's not the first time this has happened to me--and the other times were on similar posts where I had a crazy query idea and started posting new versions plus performance data, and even 3D surface-area charts.

I'd be very happy to forgo pops to the top of the home page if I can just avoid Community Wiki on these posts that I put such time into (and community value, or so I hope it can be called such). Could we not offer people, at editing time, the option to not have this trigger occur? I realize we probably can't broadcast the "nudge" feature blatantly, as that would make system-gaming post-editing even more prevalent.

But it would be very much appreciated, at least at the 10th edit and onward, to offer this option. Or maybe there could be some analysis of length--given that many of my edits were quite substantial and many thousands of characters. Even make the posts go to the review queue for some evaluation of whether it was a substantial improvement or not. Something. Anything!

Frankly, I think my answer is good enough that it is almost worth deleting it and reposting the current version. Over time it could probably garner more rep than I lose by this action. But I shouldn't have to do that for what could be a great answer!

For the record my edits were, after the first post, in characters added unless otherwise noted: 521, 828, 270, 5670, 5670 (within 5 minutes, same content), 12, 12, adding a completely new improved query, adding headers to organize what was getting very long, 3031, 4 (typo correction) that triggered CW.

  • FWIW, I think you can flag your answer asking for un-CWing. I think that has been done before and is likely to work in this scenario. – Mat Dec 7 '12 at 12:08
  • @Mat Thanks for the info. I did flag it 2 days ago shortly after it turned CW. – ErikE Dec 7 '12 at 12:10
  • 1
    That answer could use a trim. :) – user200500 Dec 7 '12 at 12:12
  • 1
    3 edits of this question already, be careful... ;-) – Duncan Jones Dec 7 '12 at 12:12
  • 1
    @Asad So you think my answer has too much fat and not enough meat? Is SQL one of your areas? – ErikE Dec 7 '12 at 12:13
  • 2
    @ErikE I think your answer has useful information that is being smothered in fluff. Right now the answer looks unapproachable. I'd have to take a day off from work just to sit down and read through it, which is unfortunate because the gist of your answer looks extremely interesting. – user200500 Dec 7 '12 at 12:14
  • I think @Asad has a point. The content is very good, but sometimes we don't need to understand the story that led you to the best possible answer. Incidentally, I agree with the main thrust of your question above (+1). – Duncan Jones Dec 7 '12 at 12:14
  • A possible option would be to edit your question (no pun intended) so that it shows the core of your answer and link to a blog post elsewhere that gives the gory pages of detail. – Duncan Jones Dec 7 '12 at 12:18
  • @DuncanJones The irony here, as you alluded to, is that given my post may need improvement, I would need to edit it to accomplish that. :) – ErikE Dec 7 '12 at 12:24
  • 5
    Well, it's no longer CW... thanks unknown kind moderator person! – ErikE Dec 7 '12 at 12:26
  • 2
    @NullPointer Some people read 20-page books with pictures. Some people read 250-page teen romance novels. Some people read 800-page sci-fi books. And some people read 1500-page technical manuals. Most people read books somewhere in the middle. Thinking that something is "too long" may be a matter of perspective often distorted by one's own preferences. :) – ErikE Dec 7 '12 at 12:31
  • 1
    cases like your are special in the sense that edits indicate substantial individual effort adding value, as opposed to plain not too valuable bumps which are typically the case with routine edits. In cases like this I think the best way is to appeal at Meta to drop CW status – gnat Dec 7 '12 at 12:44
  • 2
    @ErikE downvotes are different on meta, they just mean that people disagree with your request. – Taryn Dec 7 '12 at 22:16
  • 4
    All community wiki automatic triggers have since been removed from the system, as per the official response to Stop using community wiki as a reputation denial mechanism – Sonic the Anonymous Hedgehog Jan 3 at 10:33

I think the auto-CW is a terrible misuse of the community wiki feature, and is part of the reason why CW is so often-misunderstood. The CW feature isn't used because there is anything wiki-like about the post, but to prevent a user from intentionally bumping his posts again and again to earn more reputation.

The big problem with disabling the automatic bumping of questions to the frontpage when they are edited is that this would mean that destructive editing would become far harder to detect. Any solution that involves disabling the automatic bumping would have to present a convincing alternative way of ensuring that bad habits can still be detected.

Any automatic detection of major changes would be easy to trick. Shuffling paragraphs around, adding meaningless gibberish would not be easily detectable automatically.

One option I imagine that might work would be to disable the bumping after 10 edits by the owner of the post (instead of making it CW), but not disable it if someone else edits it. This may leave vandalism of own posts with more than 10 edits less noticeable. But that might not be that large of a problem, as long as the automatic vandalism detection flags work reasonably well. Rage-quitting users usually vandalize more than one post, so it should still be detectable.

  • official definition of community wiki is here: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/08/the-future-of-community-wiki – Jeff Atwood Dec 8 '12 at 11:50
  • 2
    I can envision a determined spammer creating a bunch of fake accounts, providing easy answers to basic questions (nothing to attract too much attention), editing each answer 10 times, then months later editing all of the answers to introduce spam and choosing the "do not bump" option. It wouldn't be too hard and could be done with a script. – JDB still remembers Monica Oct 30 '13 at 18:06

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .