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SE strongly believes in community editing. That is why you only need 100 rep to edit a Community Wiki post.

I have some rep on SE but I would hesitate twice before editing a CW post like this one and many of them are official/important posts. Actually I think I never did edit such a post.

On the other hand users need 2000 rep to edit any normal post without going to the review system.

  • What is the reasoning behind this?
  • Do we want relative new users edit partially important posts?
  • Do/did you ever edit CW posts being a new user?
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    I think we should treat questions tagged faq (and their answers too) as non-wiki as far as it concerns edit privileges. Oct 29, 2013 at 7:55
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    All CW posts I ever walked by seem to be more important than the usual post. That is why I would put the bar for editing those higher instead of lower.
    – juergen d
    Oct 29, 2013 at 8:28
  • Not really. Many times users will mark their own answers as CW when they don't care about reputation, taking the answer from comments and more reasons, in those cases the threshold for editing should indeed be lower. The whole point of CW is pretty... old and odd in my opinion. Oct 29, 2013 at 8:31
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    @ShaWizDowArd: It seems like CW is used differently than it is supposed to.
    – juergen d
    Oct 29, 2013 at 8:41

1 Answer 1

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Yes .. and no .. and the whole concept of community wiki is sort of broken. Well, not really sort of, it is broken; but more in application than theory.

The feature was designed to facilitate canonical answers that could be maintained by a broader group of users. To that end,

  • Reputation isn't earned, since presumably there will be many contributors to a single post
  • A sense of 'ownership' in the content is presented (e.g. 32% Shog9), but focus that we normally place on individual authors is removed.

Sounds good, right? Well remember that when we launched, Jeff hated the idea of meta, or any kind of community run content or site about Stack Overflow. 'How will this work on meta' was definitely not addressed, yet the feature remains broadly the same. The site had a FAQ page, and by God, 26,000 bytes should be enough for anybody.

Yeah, we know how that went.

But we're really looking at several layers of kludges - the Meta FAQ, however comprehensive, isn't discovered as readily as it should be, leading us to put what users really need to know in the new help center. Now, finally, here we are, achieving a sort of symbiosis with meta site content trickling into the more discoverable and prominent help center articles.

Had we of designed this from scratch today, we might have gone with the concept of the Community user itself owning content with a tag attached to it signifying that the things people maintained there could eventually find their way into the help center, and created the extra privilege that allowed perhaps established users and above access to edit the content. That in addition to, not instead of, the concept of community wiki.

Yet, what remains is the threshold being low hasn't really presented much of a problem for the FAQ posts, people tend not to edit them (as you noted) unless they feel confident doing so. If we're going to change it, raising the limit just puts off the inevitable - we need to do something about community wiki.

In short, much like many other things, we probably shouldn't have used community wiki for that. Any 'fix' that indirectly deals with those articles being community wiki (due to the nature of community wiki) are probably kludges, of which we've piled up enough.

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  • I should not have refered to a FAQ post. Actually I meant all CW posts no matter if FAQ or not. I associate importance with a CW post. But it should be the other way around. Currently the CW flag makes me not edit a post - the opposite of the intention.
    – juergen d
    Oct 29, 2013 at 9:09
  • "Community user itself owning content" -- that would be a nice improvement over current state, when CW posts sometimes look like contributors have been abducted by aliens
    – gnat
    Oct 29, 2013 at 9:09
  • @gnat We looked into fixing that, to make CW posts look more consistent with others and as it turns out, that's really hard to do. We need to keep it, but perhaps break out the features that people have been using it for individually into something else. It's something that we keep coming back and talking about, maybe after localization winds down we can actually take a proper stab at fixing it.
    – user50049
    Oct 29, 2013 at 9:14
  • idea you mentioned, to attribute CW to Community user seems easy to do, anything I am missing here?
    – gnat
    Oct 29, 2013 at 9:18
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    @gnat Ah no, I was talking about fixing how CW is displayed - not implementing the other idea. Actually thought of that while writing this answer, so I'm going to look into it more today.
    – user50049
    Oct 29, 2013 at 9:36

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