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Posts enter community wiki mode when... the post has been edited ten (10) times by the original owner. - What are Community Wiki posts?

Good users occasionally edit their posts to add new info, correct bad info, update the status, fix typos, etc. Many users make legit edits for legit reasons and end up getting their post locked into Community Wiki, ensuring they do no receive reputation for their improved post. A high edit count is more indicative of a user's editing habits than it is of the quality of the post. Can anything be changed to prevent the system from punishing users for improving their posts? Is there a better way to prevent gaming the system by edit-bumping posts?

Voting on a community wiki post (up or down) does not affect any user's reputation. - What are Community Wiki posts?

This post is similar to this one, but there are a couple reasons this should not be closed as duplicate:

  • That question was from 2009, and can be considered localized in time
  • Many upvotes were received since that was declined (now +60), begging the issue be reconsidered
  • The problem hasn't been fixed!
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    "Many users make legit edits for legit reasons and end up getting their post locked into Community Wiki" ... if the edits truly are legit, it takes nothing more than a mod flag to have it undone. – Bart Aug 8 '13 at 9:46
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    @Bart, don't mods have better things to do than fight against the broken system? – travisbartley Aug 8 '13 at 9:48
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    The two main ways for a post to become automatically CW are: "The body of the post has been edited by at least five (5) different users.", "The post has been edited ten (10) times by the original owner". This is not a low threshold. And passing it tends to mean that the post isn't all that great to begin with. – Oded Aug 8 '13 at 9:48
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    I'd like to see some figures on how often a CW by self-edits actually happens @trav1s. I don't see it being a frequent occurrence. – Bart Aug 8 '13 at 9:49
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    If you edit your own post on 10 separate occasions, it's a pretty good indication that there's something wrong with the post. Note that from any single edit there's a 5 minute grace period where you can edit as many times as you like without them counting towards being CW'd, so you really have to work on getting the 10 edits. – JJJ Aug 8 '13 at 9:51
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    "passing it tends to mean that the post isn't all that great to begin with", @Oded, or: sometimes means one likes to keep a solution updated to newer releases and all. (For which, indeed, a moderator could step in to remove the CW.) – Arjan Aug 8 '13 at 9:53
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    If all the edits were made by the exact same user then, yes, CW does not make a lot of sense. It isn't clear if that's actually the case here. If the post needs that much work then it would be common for other users to edit as well. YMMV. – Uphill Luge Aug 8 '13 at 10:13
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    @Bart according to this query we're talking about mere 1470 such questions, many of which I randomly sampled with exactly 10 have been unwikified already. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Aug 8 '13 at 10:39
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    @trav1s why not? Like I said, many of those have been flagged and became ordinary posts again by a moderator. Examples: 1 2 3 all edited 10 times yet not Comminity Wiki. – Shadow The Vaccinated Wizard Aug 8 '13 at 10:45
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    @Bart, If there was a button that deleted the entire website, but it had only been pushed once, would you also argue to keep that button? The number of times this has occurred is irrelevant. There are more intelligent ways to prevent edit-bumping. – travisbartley Aug 8 '13 at 10:57
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    Preventing edit bumping is not the only reason that this happens; I don't know why you keep pretending like it is. And perhaps more intriguingly, you keep saying that there are "a bunch of better/obvious" ways to prevent edit bumping, without actually suggesting any. – Cody Gray Aug 8 '13 at 11:37
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    @ShaWizDowArd Thanks for that. So, not a big (or an actual) problem indeed it seems. – Bart Aug 8 '13 at 11:53
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    @Bart, people tend to downplay problems until they happen to them personally. In that case, why be so contrarian? Whether the CW'ed user realizes what happens and begs the moderator to fix it, or if he doesn't realize what happened at all, its still a punishment and inconvenience, regardless if it happens once a year or once a second. – travisbartley Aug 8 '13 at 12:10
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    I don't understand the negative response here. Quite frankly, I was about to put in a feature request myself to remove the automatic conversion to community wiki on edits of answers. It seems to cause nothing but frustration to those who run into it, and I've fielded at least three flags in the last week asking for us to step in and revert wiki status. I don't think this function serves much of a useful purpose anymore, and I'd be all for getting rid of it. – Brad Larson Aug 8 '13 at 13:49
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    @BradLarson Virtually every time I've seen a post with enough edits to be wikied the vast majority of the edits were very minor, usually over a short span of time (just long enough to pass beyond the grace period). Sometimes the editor was trying to bump the post, sometimes they weren't, but in most every case they still would have been better off combining the several iterative edits into a single more substantive edit, and having their post wikified (even if reverted) was the indication to them that they should change their behavior (which they did). That seems like a working system. – Servy Aug 8 '13 at 13:58
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The bar is set at 10 edits from the original owner, which is a pretty high threshold in the general case. It is relatively rare that this threshold gets passed on a post.

Note that you tend to see skewed data on Meta. No one comes here to report that the feature is working just fine, that they edited their answer a typical 3–7 times and it did not automatically convert to community wiki. The only people who come here and complain are those who have experienced a relatively unusual problem. You can't necessarily take this as evidence that the issue is rampant and the system is broken.

Remember that there is a completely legitimate, built-in workaround: flagging the post for moderator attention, explaining what happened, and asking them to remove the community wiki status. Once this is done, the post will not be automatically wikified again.

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  • No one comes here to report that the feature is working... actually, I have done that. :) (but I agree, it's not the common thing to do) – Spudley Aug 8 '13 at 10:37
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    Paragraphs 1&2, a bad feature, rare or frequent, is still a bad feature. Paragraph 3, having a mod intervention workaround doesn't make it OK. You have to ask yourself, what is the purpose of this feature? Is it to prevent gaming the system by edit-bumping posts? There are better ways to solve that than placing an arbitrary edit limit. – travisbartley Aug 8 '13 at 10:41
  • @trav1s: yes it's to prevent bump abuse. Why don't you edit your question with these "better ways to solve that"? At least that would be constructive. – Mat Aug 8 '13 at 10:58
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    @Mat, "better ways to solve that" is what the answers are for. My question already is constructive. – travisbartley Aug 8 '13 at 11:02
  • @trav1s: your question isn't one, it's a statement. In that case you should be the one proposing stuff. If you had a question rather than a "this must be changed" demand with no suggestions, then yes you'd probably get answers with suggestions from people who agree it should be changed, and rebuttals from people who think it works ok. – Mat Aug 8 '13 at 11:05
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    @Mat, I changed some demands to interrogatives, just for you. – travisbartley Aug 8 '13 at 11:11
  • @trav1s: now you can tag this discussion and you're good to go. – Mat Aug 8 '13 at 11:12
  • "The only people who come here and complain are those who have experienced a relatively unusual problem." if this were true, then by definition no problems raised here are ever substantial. I hardly believe that to be the case. – eis Jan 28 '14 at 7:29

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