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There are times when multiple users wish to jointly prepare a question or answer, and not release it for general viewing before it is done.

  • If it is of more than trivial length, that isn't practical to do in chat (can't really edit, and it needs to be in chunks of a few hundred characters).
  • If it is desired to finalize it before others see it, that can't be done by just writing the post normally and both editing it.
  • If both are high-rep users on the site, one could draft the post and delete it. Then both could see it and edit it while it was deleted. Only high-rep users who stumbled upon the thread would see the work in progress, so not perfect but maybe a workable solution for those users. Best case, that's limited to at least one of the users being high-rep, and the low-rep user starting it (even if it's just a stub). This wouldn't work for two low-rep users.

Do we have any provision to support this kind of collaborative effort?

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Some SE sites, such as Math, have at least one "sandbox" type post on their site's meta (e.g., Sandbox for drafts of long, complex posts for Math), with them normally being used for users creating drafts of long posts, checking on formatting, etc., before posting on the main site. This is not quite what you're asking about, but I believe using one of the answer slots on a post like that would work fairly well for what you're describing. In particular, with it being updating a current "answer" on the post, relatively few people would notice it being updated plus, with it being a "sandbox" post, those people will often just ignore it anyway. Also, as fixer1234's comment indicates, if the score is low enough (i.e., -8 as Laurel's comment states, with this being used in the Physics' meta sandbox post), then edits won't bump the post to the main page. Nonetheless, the post would not be completely hidden, so people could still view the incomplete post. Regardless, if something like was used, I suggest adding a prefix text to indicate this is what's happening so people are aware of it and nobody else would try to edit that answer in the meantime.

If the site's meta doesn't already have a "sandbox" type post that you may reasonably use for your purpose, then this may provide a relatively good reason (among possibly several other reasons) to create one. Note that, as Laurel's comment indicates, there's a list of sandbox posts, with this including that sandbox type posts may be used for various purposes, and there even may be more than one on a particular site (e.g., Math and Meta), with each one being used only for specific purposes. Alternatively, you can create a new post on the site's meta to be used just for doing what you're describing, although it may be best to first check on the site's meta to confirm this is acceptable.

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  • This is something I haven't used. Is there a way to keep the work hidden until it's posted, or do you just rely on few people visiting the sandbox, so most people wouldn't be aware of it?
    – fixer1234
    Apr 10 at 23:03
  • Re "a good reason to create one": It will not be well received on some sites' meta site. It may even outright be deleted. Building consensus for it may take a long time, and it probably takes a very high reputation points user to convince the others. Apr 10 at 23:04
  • @fixer1234 I'm not aware of any way to keep the work hidden, apart from your suggestion of having the answer being deleted so it's visibility is limited to only high-rep users. Apr 10 at 23:05
  • @This_is_NOT_a_forum I know at least a few sites already have a "sandbox" type meta post, but I'm not sure how many of them there are. Also, among those that don't, I agree it's definitely possible the idea may not be well received on some of them, and it may take time to try to build a consensus. As such, my idea may not work well on those sites, at least for some time. Apr 10 at 23:08
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    This may help: I made a list of sandbox posts.
    – Laurel
    Apr 11 at 0:24
  • @Laurel Thank you for mentioning about your answer with a list of sandbox posts. I've added those details to my answer. Apr 11 at 0:39
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    It looks like purposely keeping the sandbox question scored below -4 (active curation, warning in Q body), would prevent any edit activity on the answers from bumping it on the main page. That would go a long way toward keeping people unaware of activity, and checking it out of curiosity. Counterproductive if using the sandbox to attract feedback or editors.
    – fixer1234
    Apr 11 at 1:20
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    @fixer1234 It's -8 on meta. (That strategy is used for Physics Meta's sandbox.)
    – Laurel
    Apr 11 at 2:28

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