Stack Exchange is not completely lacking in wiki features. We have "Community Wiki" posts. We have "tag wikis", we have collaborative editing. However, for some reason none of these uncover the true wiki power IMO.
I want to see Stack Exchange littered with canonical answers. Answers which are the de facto dupe, which give a user everything they possibly need to answer the question. Answers like these, and these, and these. Whilst Server Fault and pockets of the Stack Overflow community have made efforts to achieve this, it's always seemed (to me) an underused aspect of the system, and almost a hack rather than the system supporting such behaviour.
Enter a feature-request...
This is in four parts (and here's the TLDR);
- Give users the ability to mark a post as a "Collaboration".
- Allow users to find Collaborations and add their wealth of information to them.
- Allow users to mark their improvements as needing review.
- Add a review queue which is just to vet the high quality content we want this system to have.
Now, you're sat there wondering whether I'm high on something, because we already have collaborative editing and community wiki posts; however:
We are actively discouraged from adding huge realms of new information to posts via collaborative editing — "hey dude, you're putting words in the OP's mouth there; that's a radical change and a no-no".
Community Wikis don't really get used in a wiki style. Someone marks their post as "Community Wiki" in some half lame attempt to say "hey dude, if you happen to come across this post, and fancy adding some info to it, feel free, but I'm not bothered either way."
... except no-one does. It still feels like you're encroaching on someone else's post/property. What if the information you want to add is wrong? What if the edit isn't up to some of Stack Exchange's wacky high standards that are hard to discover by yourself?
So, allow me to continue:
A user marks their post as a "Collaboration". Either via the existing CW, or via an additional button.
This detaches the post from the user. The initial user is no longer promoted, to diffuse the feeling of ownership and property.
A review queue (or something similar) is created, which lets users find "Collaboration" posts they are interested in. Yes, this is basically a search, but it promotes this kind of action to people.
- Either via the "filters" that already exist in the Review Queues
- Or the system intelligently finds posts, like this
The options are "Improve Post" or "Skip".
If the user chooses "Improve Post", they are allowed to improve the post. Add information, remove information and collaborate wiki style.
Users can optionally flag their post as needing review. Edits made by users <
xrep get forced into needing review.
A queue (the same queue?) exists which allows people to review improvements to these collaboration posts. This will be separate to the suggested edit queue, as radical changes are OK, and we want the content to be vetted, not just the edit.
Again, maybe the content shown to users in the queue can be filtered like in #3. People can "Approve", "Improve" or "Reject" the proposed changes.
I propose that tag wiki/ excerpts become part of this new review system. The "needs review" properties are relevant, and it is more wiki style than the simple questions & answers.
Now, I really envisage this being high quality content. Higher than anything Stack Overflow or the Internet has seen before. I'd like to see the bar at being allowed to submit content without needing review, and the ability to review content, being set extremely high; 10k, 20k privilege (and hey, the 20k privileges are pretty lacking at the moment).
I appreciate nothing I've really said is radically different from the current SE, but I really feel like it instills a new wiki style of editing to the Stack Exchange network.