Okay, what's the problem here?
It's a well-known fact that the Community Wiki feature is not well-understood.
- Yet another “community wiki” clarification question
- Close as community wiki
- Purpose of Community Wiki?
- When to mark the 'community wiki' checkbox on a new question?
- Even "advanced" SE users don't necessarily "get it"
Anecdotally, it doesn't seem like there are many instances of CW being used for good out in the Stack Exchange world. Unfortunately, there are plenty of instances of CW being used for evil, or at least for neutral. This is true for values of evil and neutral equal to (in no particular order)
- "I know my question doesn't belong here, but I'm not going to gain any rep for it, so it's okay."
- "Ooh, a checkbox, that must be the 'I have read the ToS' box that I have to click before I can post."
- "I'm really not sure what to do here... I'll make it CW to keep the CW police off my back."
- "This is a bad post, and I expect it to be downvoted, but I don't want to lose rep."
Even the one CW use case most people did more or less agree on — polls on Meta — is now near-obsolete, since per-site meta actions have no effect on rep.
Can we just get rid of it?
If a feature is doing more harm than good, it should be fixed or removed. But even though the bad ones outweigh the good ones, abolishing CW outright might be going too far. Consider:
- there are existing valid CW posts; I've written some of them myself
- polls on MSO, where there is still rep (meaningless though it may be)
- FAQ entries
- that rarest of birds, the list question that can be answered objectively
What do we do, then?
Previous discussion — see top of question — has focused on trying to define CW. On this post, I want people to discuss how we can change to make it more useful and/or less abusable. Here, have some starter ideas:
- keep CW around, but restrict its use
- make it a status that doesn't take effect until a mod approves it
- or, as suggested in chat, allow only users with a certain amount of rep to convert their posts to CW status, the way we do with so many other privileges
- even a name change, as originally proposed here but not fully implemented, could go a long way
[status-completed], and is the de facto announcement page for the CW option on questions being removed.