I stumbled across a question on SO while looking for answers and ended up adding my own answer to the list of suggested solutions. Soon after this I realized that this question was a community wiki before I had added my answer to it.

According to the community this was the best answer as it received most upvotes for the question but I received nothing for it. Why?


  • Why does making a question/answer a part of the community wiki mean no one can earn points for contributing to it?

  • What's the reason for the reputation being disassociated with the contributor?

I understand on a technical level that the posts sort of gets owned by the community user instead of me but that shouldn't mean I get nothing for contributing should it?


I've read the post What are "Community Wiki" posts and I'm not concerned with what Community Wiki posts are. I'm concerned with the rep-denial aspect and the reasoning behind it.

That said Robert's answer addressed this.

  • 5
    A more useful question might be "Why is this question a Community Wiki in the first place" or "Is there reason to keep this question a CW?"... but that would belong on Meta.SO... there's usually an explanation for why a question is a CW... It used to be done more often than it is now.
    – Catija
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:29
  • 6
    Related: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/11740/…
    – Catija
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:30
  • @Catija Would it be appropriate to go to Meta.SO and ask why the question is a CW? I was assuming that a Mod did it but in researching this issue I found that up until ~2014 a bot would CW things that met certain criteria. Thoughts?
    – Dan
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:40
  • 1
    If there are SO mods regularly in chat (I don't use SO), you might see if they can research it... as you said, the rules for what qualifies as a CW changed since that post was created, so it likely wouldn't "qualify" as a CW by today's standards, so the mods may be willing to reverse it... unless there's actually a specific reason... but that question looks like it was asked as a CW, which means, it was the OP's discretion, and it doesn't really "deserve" it... Another option is to flag it... Note, I don't think you'll get the rep you've already missed out on, though...
    – Catija
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:46
  • @Catija Thanks for the help. On a related note why is this being down voted? (Not saying you did it) This is a SE Meta question using a SO example. CW exists on all SE sites (that I'm aware of) and I'm looking for understanding CW regardless of SE site.
    – Dan
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:51
  • 5
    As an administrative note, back in 2008 users could still make their own questions community wiki which effectively rendered every answer community wiki automatically. We no longer allow users to make their question community wiki and we do not recommend its usage for all but the rarest... wait — let's just say virtually never. See The deprecation of Community Wiki Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:54
  • 1
    Dunno. Doesn't seem to be a close vote at this point... In a quick search I didn't find any sort of explanation of why this is the case... Generally, I think that it's a bit odd that CWing a question applies to all of the answers, while CWing an answer only applies to that answer.
    – Catija
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 19:54
  • 2
    Reopening this because the duplicate post does not address "why" at all. Commented May 19, 2016 at 19:41
  • @RobertCartaino You're a gentleman and a scholar. Thanks for your insight, guidance and attention to detail. You're part of what makes SE the best. :)
    – Dan
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 23:52

1 Answer 1


Since Community Wiki is largely deprecated (The Future of Community Wiki), it's not worth going into all the nuances of how it was supposed to be used. But in the earliest days, it was designed for posts that were sooo collaborative, it would have been near-impossible to determine who deserved the credit — so we removed reputation awards from those works completely.

We no longer recommend the use of Community Wiki as a rep-denial mechanism (no longer allow might be more accurate). We still allow users to set their own answers to community wiki if they wish, but the concept of using Community Wiki to lower the reputation requirements to post was replace with the "suggested edit" feature.

From the blog post: Putting the Community back in Wiki:

That’s where Community Wiki came in - it killed those friction points by eliminating rep generation from those posts and lowering the bar on who could edit them. Which made it much easier for people who wanted to create collaborative, ensemble works - true community owned and edited resources.

But, much like dynamite, this well-intentioned invention was quickly weaponized into an instrument of destruction. Our big mistake: thinking we could systematically detect when such collaboration was happening, and automatically convert those posts to Community Wiki. It sounded awesome - “we’ll help you collaborate even more! When we see enough editors, we’ll save you the trouble of making it community wiki yourself and do it for you…”

Yeah, we are dumb.

  • 2
    So, considering the age of the question linked here, is it likely to have its CW status removed?
    – Catija
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:13
  • 1
    Thanks for the snippet. That gives me the reasoning behind this which was what I need help explaining.
    – Dan
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:16
  • So to put this to rest, how to I bring the post to an SO mod's attention? Flag it or something else? Thanks.
    – Dan
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:18
  • 14
    @Catija Note to Moderators: If anyone requests removal of a forced Community Wiki setting, it should be removed without hesitation (unless the author set it for their own answer or other extenuating circumstances). Commented May 16, 2016 at 20:19
  • Robert, I asked a few questions regarding this comment ^^^ - would you mind taking a look here?
    – gnat
    Commented May 17, 2016 at 12:45

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