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After 11 edits (12 versions) from the same user an answer becomes community wiki. There are lots of questions regarding the way in which this happens but none (that I could find) regarding "Why". And humans hate not to know why!

Most other reasons for community wikification make obvious sense; if a post has been edited by many many users it doesn't really belong to anyone anymore. But the 11 edits creates a perverse incentive not to edit your own posts to perfect them. Previously I would return many times (possibly weeks after I'd posted) to improve a big answer but I basically don't do that anymore unless I can remember exactly how many times I've edited before or now that I'm not completely new to the site, look at the "edited" link and see that I still have several edits left.

That's the reasons against this system, but I'm presuming there are reasons for 11 self edits leading to community wikification, which brings me back to why?

Note

This question refers to a behaviour which no longer exists. Posts are no longer automatically converted to community wiki

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    I think it is actually 12 rather than 7. Commented May 12, 2013 at 12:27
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    @MartinSmith: The post has been edited ten (10) times by the original owner. what-are-community-wiki-posts
    – juergen d
    Commented May 12, 2013 at 12:28
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    @juergend - My comment on your answer here though now the CW has been removed from that answer it is no longer visible in the history at revision 12. Commented May 12, 2013 at 12:29
  • @MartinSmith Thats good news, it seems to change depending on who you ask; 7, 10 and 12 seem to be the common answers Commented May 12, 2013 at 20:19
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    @RichardTingle - Here's another example where it happened after revision 12. That one is also a good example where the user was transparently making trivial edits to bump the answer. I suppose being picky you could say that revision 12 was the 11th edit though. Commented May 12, 2013 at 21:16
  • @MartinSmith That is quite shocking, although that level of unimaginativity could presumably be detected by an algorithm. A question though is; how effective is that, I know I ususally browse via the newest tab Commented May 12, 2013 at 22:17
  • @Qantas94Heavy - That is really not a duplicate. That question is a feature request to stop it while this one is asking the reason behind that feature.
    – Himanshu
    Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 4:54
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    This no longer applies. Commented Oct 25, 2017 at 22:18

1 Answer 1

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It is a rate limiting measure, to prevent users from bumping a post to the top too often. It was introduced a long time ago, during the Stack Overflow private beta period, in fact. Jeff and Joel discuss this in Stack Overflow Podcast #20 (which I happened to listen to just yesterday).

If this bites you for legitimate reasons (your answer evolved over time, following the complexities of a changing question, or because of new insights to a complex problem), flag your post for moderator attention, use other and request that a moderator revert the CW flag change.

This has happened to me once or twice, and the flag has always been quickly handled and my request to revert honoured.

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    Does editing still bump, as far as answers go they seem to show up in a random order Commented May 12, 2013 at 12:35
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    @RichardTingle: editing answers bumps questions in the 'Active' tab. I believe that site homepages do take active posts into account in what is shown as well. Commented May 12, 2013 at 12:36
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    This suggests community wikification is being used as a punishment of sorts, surely this wasn't the intention of community wiki? Also; isn't this using a sledge hammer to crack a nut, wouldn't a more direct solution be just to stop bumping after so many edits. Commented May 12, 2013 at 15:51
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    Bumping is important, we can't supress bumping since that would allow folks to start doing evil stuff after n trivial edits, @Richard. An alternate solution would be to simply limit edits to a single post to n per day, but of course that might discourage someone from making useful improvements (and has other issues once other editors get involved).
    – Shog9
    Commented May 12, 2013 at 17:55
  • @Shog9, Or only count edits from the last 30 days when for “auto wiki” Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 12:04
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    @IanRingrose: Auto CW is gone, as of yesterday. Ding ding, the witch is dead! Commented Apr 10, 2014 at 12:05

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