So, once upon a time, the fashion was to post comments that threatened a question with closure if not marked community wiki. That fashion seems to have been discouraged in the interests of lowering the jerk quotient. For me, at least, this leaves a question of the best alternative from the following:

  1. post a polite comment suggesting community wiki.
  2. downvote
  3. vote to close as 'subjective and argumentative'

What seems interesting to me is that at 3K I got permission to vote to close, which is rather strong medicine. Perhaps a fourth alternative here would be to extend the 3K voting system to include 'vote to cwiki'? If 5 people feel that a question is too fluffy to deserve rep, maybe that should be sufficient?

OK, I see, using the expression 'too fluffy for rep' presupposed a particular view which is not generally held. Let me try again...

I observe a set of questions that do not have anything like a single, right answer. Some end up closed. Some end up cwiki. I'm not really at all clear on the grounds that distinguish.

Here is a concrete example. "What is the best ..." -- by definition, that's going to be subjective and argumentative. It might also be educational and informative. Is it fluffy? Not so much as 'tell me the best web framework,' but much more so than a really concrete 'how-to' question.

Here is another example. Subjective as the day is long, but a respectable request for shared experience with a common programming problem. And it's got upvotes. Someone is confused here, and I'd be happy to learn that it's me.

By far, the simplest thing to do, as a non-mod, is to vote to close these as 'subjective, argumentative' or 'not a real question.' Evidence suggests that close votes attract moderator attention. This leaves the 'keep as cwiki versus close' question for the mods.

Anyway, I'm very interested in what other folks are using for criteria.

  • FWIW, the question asked in the title of #1992565 was completely inappropriate (a classic Get To Know You post). The body of the question appeared to ask more specific questions however, so I've merely edited the title to reflect this (as well as the body to better highlight the questions themselves). Otherwise, I would have voted to close.
    – Shog9
    Jan 2, 2010 at 19:51

4 Answers 4


Option 4:

Press the flag button and ask moderators to deal with it.


If 5 people feel that a question is too fluffy to deserve rep

Then they should vote to close it. No comments needed. But if you really think the question belongs on SO, but still needs to be CW, then do as waffles suggests and ask a moderator to make it so - since moderators can also convert answers to CW, this works a whole lot better anyway.


As Shog9 pointed out, if it's too fluffy then it should be closed not CW'ed.

Community Wiki isn't a weapon. It's designed to lower the quotient of editing to allow more community involvement. No one should be asked to wiki, since if enough people get involved (now that there is a huge population that can get involved without it being CW) it will become Community Wiki automatically.

  • 2
    I agree with you in spirit. However, sometimes I do CW a post to try and give it a second chance. There are some posts that are worth discussing, but just won't survive unless the CW flag is set. If the community pounces on a question and closes it with a lot of "should be wiki" comments, I can be tempted to make it wiki and open it back up, just to see if it survives. Jan 2, 2010 at 3:50
  • 1
    See, that's what I love about you, Bill - your susceptibility to temptation. ;-)
    – Shog9
    Jan 2, 2010 at 5:47
  • 1
    @Bill, but why should it survive? I am densely failing to reconcile Lance's response with yours.
    – Rosinante
    Jan 2, 2010 at 12:32
  • Love that answer, most people don't seem to get that making a post a CW is completely optional. If people feel it's an inappropriate question – close it, if they feel it should be CW just don't answer and don't vote for it. Personally, I quite often flag those comments asking a question to be CW. (Often they are quite rude anyway.) Jan 2, 2010 at 20:24
  • @gs: there's a history behind that... At one time, closing was exceedingly controversial, and so-called "close wars" frequent: the use of CW to deny rep arose as sort of a compromise, to allow questions that really didn't belong to stick around (think of that programmer wedding cake question and its ilk). Eventually though, this caused more problems than it solved: new users saw the fluffy questions but failed to understand CW, so we just ended up with more fluffy questions.
    – Shog9
    Jan 2, 2010 at 20:31
  • @bmargulies: It's not really for me to say why a particular question should survive, it's up to the whole community. All I'm saying is that I'll occasionally give a question a second chance. If the community still doesn't want it around as a CW post, the question will stay closed and be deleted. Jan 2, 2010 at 20:42

The approximate equivalent of voting for CW status is to edit the question, since according to the FAQ six edits by four different people will make a question CW. I haven't seen this happening much, but those of us with edit privileges on a forum could do it.

  • 1
    This used to happen a lot more, but has been discouraged in recent times. One big problem with it is that it doesn't convert answers that have already been posted. An alternate technique is to post enough answers to bring the total answer count over 30 - this will force CW on the question and all answers, but takes considerably more effort if you don't want to be labeled a spammer.
    – Shog9
    Jan 2, 2010 at 17:30
  • @Shog9: as I commented to B-T-L, there's something about all this which I feel like I should know but I don't -- what, even roughly, are the lines which define 'good ordinary question,' 'good CW question,' and 'should be consigned to the outer darkness.' Feel free to send me to some FAQ with a hand-drawn circle on it.
    – Rosinante
    Jan 2, 2010 at 19:31
  • Ah, sorry - this has been discussed so often that I tend to forget not everyone follows it. The criteria for a good question, CW or otherwise, are outlined in the site FAQ: detailed, specific, programming, neither subjective or argumentative in tone nor a solicitation for argumentative answers or long discussions. The criteria for CW are much less well-defined, but I think can be summed up as follows: any question that by definition requires collaborative answers should be CW. This primarily includes FAQs and "list" questions - see: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/11760
    – Shog9
    Jan 2, 2010 at 20:04
  • 1
    I begin to see the light. You can ask a specific, detailed, question, to which N people can chime in to offer pieces of the answer, and that's CW. So, 'what are ways of doing X?' is good, and 'what is the best way?' is bad.
    – Rosinante
    Jan 2, 2010 at 20:16

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