If your were to redesign the SO platform, and part of your design spec was to abandon the community wiki concept, what would you do?

In particular:

  1. Users should not have a community wiki checkbox.
  2. After 8/9 edits a post should not flick to community wiki.

Can you think of any other ways that you could achieve the same goals CW tries to solve that would be built on a simpler set of concepts.

  • 12
    I'd just end up recreating Community Wiki...
    – Earlz
    Apr 15, 2010 at 19:27
  • 3
    This should be made into a community wiki...haha! Apr 15, 2010 at 19:34
  • 3
    I'd change its name.
    – nb69307
    Apr 15, 2010 at 19:35
  • 3
    Could you please include a link to what those goals are? Apr 15, 2010 at 19:36
  • @Neil, Then the answers will become community wiki, which in turn discourages quality answers .... Change the name if you see fit, rephrase it, I don't care if this becomes community wiki.
    – waffles
    Apr 15, 2010 at 19:38
  • 2
    @Rob, nobody, not even the most seasoned users of SO fully understand community wiki. There are 171 questions tagged CW on meta that shed some light on the goals.
    – waffles
    Apr 15, 2010 at 19:39
  • 1
    @Rob @waffles no one knows what CW really means because half the people think it means one thing and the other half think it means another.
    – Earlz
    Apr 15, 2010 at 20:10
  • 3
    That's what I thought, but I've been away for a while and thought maybe the purpose of CW had finally been stated authoritatively somewhere in the meantime. I guess it still hasn't. So what good is a discussion about how to re-implement certain goals when nobody knows what those goals are? First work out what you want to accomplish. Then ask how to do it. Apr 15, 2010 at 20:31
  • Are you working on an SO clone and want to make it better, @waffles? Apr 15, 2010 at 21:08
  • The original purpose was simply to make collaboration more widely available and to actively invite the same. That's simple. The use as a safe(ish) harbor for "soft" or marginal context arose from the subjective wars to end all subjective wars. That's a norm, and as such is not easy to nail down. Apr 15, 2010 at 23:51
  • @Ladybug, well its not exactly a clone and I don't seem to need CW anyway due to the way I designed it and the tighter scope of the community.
    – waffles
    Apr 16, 2010 at 5:06
  • The main change I would make to CW is that answers would not be CW just because the question is. Apr 20, 2010 at 5:35
  • Is CW going to remain alive, now that low-rep users can (sort of) edit? The only problem I see with trashing it entirely is that a bunch of old-timers will get sudden rep spikes when their two-year-old poll posts suddenly count.
    – Pops
    Feb 9, 2011 at 20:50
  • @Pop There's also still the difference that CW allows it without freezing things and without needing approval. To an extent, that's actually significant.
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 9, 2011 at 22:23

5 Answers 5


I would drop it entirely.

The biggest advantage is that it allows low-rep users to edit stuff. I think that should be allowed anyway, with edits by low-rep users held for approval by higher-rep users.

The other common use for CW is in removing discussion/list questions from the rep system. These questions don't really belong on S[OFU] anyway, but folks like them - so move them into a separate "lounge" forum and be done with it.

  • Just because a topic calls for collaborative answering, doesn't mean that low-rep users are very likely to make desirable edits to them. So I'm with @Shog9(of).
    – Rosinante
    Apr 20, 2010 at 23:03
  • 3
    A lot of what you have said in the past turns, at least to some partial degree, as status-completed, doesn't it? Questions can no longer be marked CW by their authors, and now low rep users can edit but require approval by higher reps...
    – Grace Note StaffMod
    Feb 9, 2011 at 20:21
  • What Grace said. Have a belated upvote.
    – Pops
    Feb 9, 2011 at 20:47
  • @Grace: yeah, I am exceedingly happy about the editing thing. Honestly never thought it would happen. Much more elegant than CW ever was, IMHO.
    – Shog9
    Feb 9, 2011 at 22:19
  • 1
    @shog9 I was happy too until I saw the insane amount of turd-polishing that goes on with suggested edits.. "I took this terrible unreadable question and corrected 1 spelling mistake for the benefit of humanity, enjoy!" Feb 10, 2011 at 1:41
  • @Jeff: I suspect we [the community in general, me in particular] will have to get a lot more comfortable clicking that "reject" button in cases where the final result isn't up to snuff. Mmmm, delicious novelty...
    – Shog9
    Feb 10, 2011 at 5:10

Number of edits shouldn't determine community wiki status.

Code is iterative, and when I improve code I've referenced here I usually update my answers.

With enough time the usage of SO will transform from a Q/A system to a knowledge base. Eventual knowledge base status should be taken into consideration - and because of this eventuality I shouldn't be less likely to garner rep simply because I polish my answers!


Users should not have a community wiki checkbox.

Is this an issue somehow? Is it too much of a proxy for casual discussion? Because if it is, not allowing community wiki is not an option. You need to direct that flow of discussions elsewhere. I'm sure there are genuine cases of community wikis that are relevant discussions, and that people should feel able to start a relevant discussion in an "off the books" sort of way.

After 8/9 edits a post should not flick to community wiki.

I never agreed with that rule personally.

In the end, I'm not voting you either up or down, I'm split right down the middle. First question remains, though: how is this an issue?



Well, you could do a "discussion" type post that does not accumulate rep or work toward badges. It, too, would be a check box, but it would not allow arbitrary edits of any post like CW does.

  • 15
    Yeah, and it would automatically close itself, saving me the trouble. :-) Apr 15, 2010 at 20:01

I agree with Neil Butterworth's comment: I'd change its name.

I think that a lot of new users are confused as to what Community Wiki means and what it does, and the name doesn't really convey it. I mean it makes perfect sense to me now but I've been using the site for over a year.

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