Two questions:

  1. What's the origin of the "community wiki" name? I had never seen it before SO.

  2. Should we change it?

It seems to me at best redundant and at worst confusing.

  • Best case: Wikis are, by definition, editable by the community (redundant).
  • Worst case: Who is this community that owns all the wiki posts? / I know what a wiki is but what is a community wiki? (confusing)

I think it would be good to rename them to "community owned" like suggested in this related question or to just plain "wiki", a term everybody is familiar with.

4 Answers 4


The points about the term "community wiki" being somewhat confusing are valid, but it does currently have a title text that explains what it is about: "This post is community owned as of XXXX. Votes do not generate reputation, and it can be edited by users with 100 rep". Isn't that enough to explain the meaning?

Although for extra clarity, it might be a good idea to say: "...it can be edited by any user with 100 reputation" instead. But that's a minor detail.


I'm for keeping the name as it is.

All posts are wikis for the sufficiently repful. Community Wikis are open to more of the community.

Maybe that is simplistic, but It makes sense to me.

BTW-- I had the same impression as bobobobo about the source of the appellation.

  • "All posts are wikis for the sufficiently repful. Community Wikis are open to more of the community." This is the key, to me. Sep 8, 2009 at 3:17
  • Did it make sense to you when you were a newbie?
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Sep 8, 2009 at 6:22
  • I was a user from he private beta, and I read the blog. So, "yes". Sep 8, 2009 at 8:31

I don't think there's any other name that will help others understand what it means, because the meaning is so peculiar to SO. For example:

  • These posts are owned by the "Community" user
  • By contrast, all posts are wiki to those above the editing threshhold, so just "Wiki" alone doesn't cut it
  • Questions can become community wiki through automated mechanisms (number of edits, number of answers).
  • Community Wiki has grown to have other connotations, such as being slightly more acceptable for subjective questions, or a sign that the user is posting in good faith and isn't trying to "farm" reputation
  • And of course, community wiki posts are editable by every user.

I can't think of a name that would adequately cover all aspects of what it means to be community wiki. I think "community wiki" covers enough to warrant being left alone.

  • 2
    Every user of ≥100 reputation..
    – John Fouhy
    Sep 8, 2009 at 2:59
  • There is no need to cover all of the particular aspects of this wiki implementation, especially if you'll do it in a way that is confusing (as demonstrated by some questions/comments). I mean, why confuse them upfront if they can at first not be confused and then learn the intricacies of the system as they go along. In particular, why is community wiki better than community owned?
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Sep 8, 2009 at 6:22
  • @Vinko: I don't think one is any better than the other. That being the case, there's no compelling need to change. I'd only support changing the label if we could find one substantially better than CW. Sep 8, 2009 at 12:26

There is an entity called "Community" that "Owns community questions and answers so nobody gets unnecessary reputation from them"

I think its called a "Community Wiki" because the Community entity owns it. Perhaps.

More info at "its" profile

  • Yeah, I also entertained that theory. It might even be the correct one! :-)
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Sep 8, 2009 at 0:24
  • Still, doesn't make much sense. Just change the line in the FAQ which says "Community Wiki posts are owned by the Community user" to "Wiki posts are owned by the Community user" :-)
    – Vinko Vrsalovic StaffMod
    Sep 8, 2009 at 0:25

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