Some old questions on SE have 1M+ views, and many of them have 30+ answers. See https://stackoverflow.com/search?q=+is%3Aquestion+views%3A1000000..++ for the ~1000 most viewed questions. From just the first page of results:
- What is the difference between 'git pull' and 'git fetch'? 35 answers
- Can comments be used in JSON? 50 answers
Correct me if I am wrong, but such questions:
- Are likely to be the first answer a new user sees on the SE sites
- Are viewed a lot by users having beginner level questions
- Are a pain to read to find the best solution, because each answer/comment might contain an important update to the originally accepted answer
- have many more answers than actually different solutions
Also SE wants to be more beginner friendly (and that includes a lot of people who are beginners in the topic of an SE site like SO).
I believe these questions are not the most helpful to those users that are most likely to see them. There is a lot of meaningful activity on these questions, but the result is quite messy. How can anyone know whether the most useful answer will be on page 3 of all results?
Now imagine those questions were wikipedia pages on the topic. And all answerers who added one more answer instead cooperated on writing a single article summarizing all answers in the most useful way, uopdating as technology evolved. Would this not be a much more useful way of answering those questions, and a much better impression for first-time visitors to SE?
Of course the authors of these questions and accepted answers could voluntarily turn those into community wikis if they were so inclined, and some such questions are. But it seems to me there is some potential of making such highly visible pages much more useful to those most likely to visit them (the beginners), by being more easily editable by the community without waiting for askers and answerers to switch to community wiki. (Also I believe the reputation gains from such questions are a bad measure of what reputation should be measuring, but that's a different topic).
Now I am wary of suggesting any single change, because most change suggestions get downvoted on meta, so I'll just ask if there is any great idea in meta on making those pages better ambassadors for SE, and wasting less time of the community writing duplicate answers and readers finding information across all answers.
- This lock notice about collaborative effort is partly misleading not sure how as a User I am supposed to use those locks on those questions, in any case the question seems from 2013, and not have much effect on the 1M most viewed questions. Locks in general seem to be applied to questions with conflicts like edit wars, or questions that are slightly off-topic, none of which is what I refer to in my question.
- We need better tools to prevent "long tail of crap" on popular questions seems to be close enough to close this question as duplicate, though I accepted one from meta-SE instead.