The question is short and simple. Why can't Community Wiki posts(specially questions) be rolled back to non-Wiki state?

P.S : Recently my post here was made CW (by mistake I guess) so I was wondering if something like that(conversion from wiki to non-wiki state) could be implemented. Its merely a feature request.

EDIT : This feature should be available only to moderators.

EDIT : I don't know why this issue became polemic. People started thinking that I have over inflated opinion about myself etc. So it would be better to leave everything (posts, threads etc) the way it is. We have got better things to do, right?

  • Why would you want to do this? To prevent low-rep users editing, to try and win rep for upvotes, something else? – Rup Nov 16 '10 at 17:24
  • @Rup : A moderator can make a post CW by mistake (sometimes) but he cannot roll back the post to its original state. – Prasoon Saurav Nov 16 '10 at 17:25
  • @Prasoon, do you have an example of a moderator ever making such a mistake? They are very careful about CW, precisely because they know it's a serious change. – Pops Nov 16 '10 at 17:27
  • @Popular Demand : Yes I have a very recent example. See this thread for more details. Moderator Will certainly made a mistake(he wasn't aware of the faq tag system). – Prasoon Saurav Nov 16 '10 at 17:28
  • @Pop Corn I think the thought pattern is that the linked question was made mistake, if this earlier thread is any indication. – Grace Note Nov 16 '10 at 17:28
  • Ah, context. Thank you both. (@Grace because OPs get notified anyways.) – Pops Nov 16 '10 at 17:33
  • @Downvoters : Leave a comment stating the reason for your downvote. – Prasoon Saurav Nov 17 '10 at 4:48
  • @Prasoon: I think voting on meta.SO has more of a poll than it has on SO. So when your feature-request is down-voted, that's someone saying "I don't wan this feature". – sbi Nov 17 '10 at 9:52
  • @sbi : Oh I see. But the feature request makes sense. Even a highly reputed member Kop wants it. :) – Prasoon Saurav Nov 17 '10 at 10:30
  • I don't think this feature is that difficult to implement. Is it? – Prasoon Saurav Nov 17 '10 at 10:32
  • There would be an issue with tag badges as only non-CW votes count to the score. So if a question (and hence answer?) was made CW and then non-CW how do you easily count which votes count? – ChrisF Nov 17 '10 at 12:03
  • @ChrisF : Its simple. The votes(generating scores only) would count from the point when the post gets converted back from wiki to non-wiki state and the votes wont generate any score when its in the wiki mode. Where lies the problem? – Prasoon Saurav Nov 17 '10 at 12:31
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    I have very little inclination to support anyone who writes " Moderators!! Are you listening? " As Jeff once said, there are a few requests in the queue in front of you. – Pops Nov 17 '10 at 14:20
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    @Prasoon Your questions/answers are no more or less important than anyone else on this site. – Powerlord Nov 17 '10 at 15:45
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    @Prasoon: You want more examples? How about this one: "I have written Moderators!! Are you listening? to make sure moderators dont miss the post and the answers given :)" Do you not think they read all the questions? As I recall, Meta has considerably more mods than the normal sites for this very reason. – Powerlord Nov 17 '10 at 19:14

As was found in the question linked to, moderators are only human, and as such, they sometimes fail. That's no surprise and to be expected. However, since moderators are humans and can make mistakes, they should have the ability to undo them.

I see no harm in allowing moderators to do this, because

  1. Normal, untrusted users won't have a chance to exploit this, since it needs intervention by a moderator.
  2. Moderators already have god-like power and can wreak havoc on their site. If we wouldn't trust them to use their abilities sensibly, they shouldn't be moderators in the first place.
  3. If they ever flipped the CW flag to false, and this would turn out to be a mistake, it could always be flipped back to true. That's different from the way it is now: they can flip it once, and this was in error, then currently there's no way to undo this.

In short, the only drawback I see would be that it needs to get implemented. The advantage is that it would help to remedy errors.

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This is not a trivial change, if we start flipping a question back and forth reputation gets more complicated.

For example CW ... 1 upvote, mod turns it to non CW 1 upvote, mod turns it to CW.

We will need to end up doing a partial rep recalc for the all users involved, something that is not a trivial change and not implemented on a per-question basis.

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  • I knew there was a mechanical aspect to it! – Grace Note Nov 17 '10 at 17:33
  • It doesn't have to be trivial to do this. As I've written, the idea is to remedy mistakes. It's not like this would be needed several times a day. Only moderators could do it and that makes it very unlikely they will flip it back and forth. – sbi Nov 17 '10 at 19:58
  • @sbi, all I am saying is its not easy ... and it will allow moderators to rewrite the past in a way they can not now. Its not an impossible change, just a fairly fiddly one – waffles Nov 18 '10 at 4:28

Because this capability hasn't been implemented. But I think it should, it's very useful sometimes.

EDIT: obviously, for moderators only.

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  • Yes and that's why I have tagged it feature-request. :-) – Prasoon Saurav Nov 16 '10 at 17:22

This is well-established as an intentional feature. One source is the FAQ:


  • There is no way to reclaim your post back from Community Wiki mode. This is to prevent exploits and gaming of the system.

That aside, you can't roll back from CW because it doesn't make any sense. The meaning of CW is "a post that is owned by the entire community." How can one user justly take ownership of content that has been edited by numerous users?

Based on the comments, people seem to think I'm terribly against this, which isn't actually the case. The first part of the answer just points out that this has been considered before; it's not a show of approval or disapproval for the earlier decision. The second part was only supposed to be an argument against this feature for the OP, not mods, though I can see how it's a bit ambiguous. Now that the question has been edited, it's no longer relevant.

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    That's technically justification as to why there's no community process for reverting Community Wiki. While I have no opposition to the lack of it, there's still no statement on why diamonds, who are otherwise trusted to speak as the stead of the full community, cannot revert it. – Grace Note Nov 16 '10 at 17:34
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    @Grace, you post an answer and make it CW. I add a lot of stuff. It gets reverted to non-CW status. Why do you suddenly have ownership over all that great stuff I added? – Pops Nov 16 '10 at 18:26
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    Counterpoint: I post a 500 bounty on a question. You answer with an excellent post intending to earn that bounty, or at least half of it should I forget to award it. Why do I get to reclaim the reputation spent and cancel the bounty? The answer is I don't. The ability to recall bounties has just as much potential for exploitation and gaming as the ability to revert Community Wiki, and makes exactly as little sense to do. So a reason for why moderators can do one, but not the other, would have to be rooted in something else (say, mechanical difficulties in tracking). – Grace Note Nov 16 '10 at 19:00
  • @Popular Demand : Check out the edit. – Prasoon Saurav Nov 17 '10 at 4:22
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    @Pop You don't gain rep for edits on regular posts either. – badp Nov 17 '10 at 12:49
  • @radp, I never mentioned rep anywhere. – Pops Nov 17 '10 at 14:22
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    @Pop: «Why do you suddenly have ownership over all that great stuff I added?» Rep gain is the primary consequence of post "ownership." – badp Nov 17 '10 at 14:34
  • @radp: Right, but for a regular answer, I'd just add my own answer instead. In fact, I commonly do just that if I have something to add that hasn't been posted yet, but not if what I'm saying is related to something someone already posted as community wiki. In other words, CW promotes different editing behavior. – Powerlord Nov 17 '10 at 15:42

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