Edit: Problem solved. As Mark Trapp points out, normal users can no longer mark CW.

The consensus seems to be that community wiki is useless here, and we've been pointing this out in various question comment threads. The problem is that new user keep coming in with the old expectations of how CW should work, and marking their questions CW just because they're subjective. I see a few options for dealing with this that I'll post in separate answers- of course, post your own if you can think of a better solution.

If we get a clear consensus, the mods, in their capacity of liaisons, can take it to SOIS.

  • +1 Nice idea, but what reputation change effect will this give? Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:16
  • So... Should we be flagging the incorrect CW questions so their CW can be removed? Still, it would be a nice thing to vote to (un)CW a question as now it's all based on moderators. Commented Oct 14, 2010 at 14:35
  • It doesn't look like we can un-CW questions at the moment. Commented Oct 14, 2010 at 16:30

7 Answers 7


Rename Community Wiki to Collaborative Question (or similar)

By renaming the feature we clarify it's exact purpose, and can also add a warnings and remove auto CW conversion. Most questions here will not need to be collaborative. But a few might benefit.

  • 2
    This would actually work on all sites.
    – ChrisF Mod
    Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 11:16
  • I suggest we could try to take this one to Meta.SO... :-) Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 18:23

Allow Mods and/or 10k (2k for beta) users to De-CW a question

This would solve our problem without losing the CW feature. However, it's require a more active effort on the part of the mods and the top users. Further, it's been discussed on meta.SO to, as far as I can tell, no effect.

  • 2
    +1 I'm okay with this, if a vote system is used. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:06
  • What about also allowing people to be able to vote a question to become CW? Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:12
  • 5
    Good but I doubt it will be implemented.
    – Maniero
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:37
  • I actually think this would be a generally-useful moderator tool, as accidental-CW is an occasional problem on other sites as well. However, it's been suggested before, and never got anywhere.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:44
  • 1
    Way too much mod intervention required. We should be self policing as far as possible. Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 8:46
  • We would be self policing if it was a vote system. So if there was a flag below a question that said "CW", just like the "Close" flag, then users could choose to mark a question as "CW". If a question had been marked as "CW" users could vote for a "Not CW" flag, just like they can vote to close and reopen questions. I'm not sure why this would be difficult, but I'm loath to suggest anything over on meta.SO after my last debacle there:meta.stackexchange.com/questions/66830/… Commented Oct 8, 2010 at 14:20

Add a warning when marking anything CW

Saying something like "This is P.SE, read the FAQ, you probably don't want to do that." This would at least help a bit with new users being misinformed, and it probably the easiest technical fix. Then again, only a certain number will actually read it.

  • 1
    +1 Yes, this could help, but also add details in the message itself. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:09
  • 2
    This is good and viable.
    – Maniero
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:37
  • If this is the solution, there should also be a warning when attempting to answer.
    – Fosco
    Commented Oct 7, 2010 at 20:19

Remove the Community Wiki feature entirely

This would eliminate the issue. Based on the purpose-of-community-wiki thread, it looks like there's no need for it anyway. The only problem would be that we'd be out of luck if there's some unforeseen category of question that is appropriate for here and needs to be CW in the future.

  • 1
    -1 No, it's possible for questions to benefit from CW. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:08
  • It's all community wiki. This is what wiki was designed for, by the original Ward Cunningham himself. (See my answer, Make everything community wiki, for details.) And it would also make me feel a lot better about this: meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/339/…
    – ixtmixilix
    Commented Sep 28, 2010 at 0:55

Remove CW conversions at 30 answers

See the original question which has sufficient votes but should be in this concensus.

From the original author:

Since most questions here can have an unlimited number of answers,
I think the automatic conversion to CW when a question receives 30 answers should be removed.

  • I thought about that, but I think that's a separate issue. I was trying for answers that, in-and-of-themselves, would solve the problem of people mis-marking CW questions. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:17
  • Why should one ignore answers that are there to improve/correct the CW system, I do understand the issue that the users have... But as we're creating a consensus about CW, why should we focus on a small part and ignore the other issues regarding CW? Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:25
  • @TomWij: because the part you're focusing on does nothing to solve the larger issue. If users are incorrectly marking their questions CW from the outset, then it doesn't matter if 30 answers would also eventually make them CW.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:28
  • @Mr. C: I'm not focusing on a part, I'm focusing on the whole. I've provided comments to help solve the lager issue... Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:30
  • @Tom: removing auto-CW doesn't do anything for questions that are CW from the outset. BECAUSE THEY'RE ALREADY CW. It's akin to lamenting amputation caused by unsafe working conditions in a discussion on birth defects - ok, so we can agree that having no arms is unfortunate, but better OSHA standards won't help the thalidomide babies.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:33
  • @Mr. C: How can questions that are yet to become auto-CWed already CW? I don't understand you... And amputations, birth defects, arms, OSHA standards and thalidomide babies aren't helping in this discussion; seriously. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:35
  • @Tom: Now you're just asking questions that were answered in the second sentence of this question. The one beginning with, "The problem is..."
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:37
  • Yes, that's the problem! That's why I provide solutions to solve it... Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:40

SOIS has decided to disable the community feature entirely for end-users. Now, if you want a question to be community wiki, you need to flag it for moderator attention. So, that's that.


Do nothing

As the community matures, expectations of how CW should work on sites like SO will become less relevant, and the problem will become less common.

  • 2
    -1 Our site is different, CW should be corrected accordingly. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:14
  • @TomWij: "corrected"? According to this question, the problem is users who think it should be used for questions that don't require it. That's a social problem - "CW for subjective" is a social contract developed over time on SO in response to people persistently posting off-topic crap, it's not something that's ever been part of the official rules for the site. The problem here is users who expect the same unofficial rules to apply (compounded by the persistently vague definition of what is on-topic for this site).
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:17
  • No, it's more than a social problem. The system encourages this behavior by not explaining the user enough and by providing automatic CW, see for example meta.programmers.stackexchange.com/questions/145/… Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:18
  • @TomWij: did you read the question you're spending so much time commenting on? No mention was made of the auto-CW feature, which - as I've noted before - has a per-site configurable threshold and could probably be turned off independently from the rest of the CW system.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:20
  • @Mr. C: That's what "correcting CW" is... Yes, I've read the question: "What to do with Community Wiki?" Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:22
  • @TomWij: try reading beyond the title. Fishy's talking about users marking their questions CW voluntarily. The auto-CW thing has been discussed to death elsewhere - if you really think that's what this is about, then you should be voting to close as a duplicate, not answering.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:23
  • @Mr. C: Yes, it's creating a consensus about CW. Try reading beyond the question and see what other things are buried into the past of our Meta. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:28
  • @Tom, you're like a dog with a bone here. The OP took the time to describe a very specific issue, and outline potential solutions to it. You're dragging in a separate (if tangentially-related) issue, one which already has a clearly popular solution. What purpose does diverting discussion toward a solved problem serve?
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:30
  • @Mr. C: Again, I'm not focusing a part. I'm focusing on the whole... If this is not the place to post solutions on what to do with CW, then why is the title "What to do with Community Wiki?"? Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:31
  • @Tom: what, the title isn't specific enough for you, and therefore the rest of the question is irrelevant? So edit the title then!
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:35
  • @Mr. C: Why should I have to edit the title if I think it's important to improve the whole? As changing the question title is a bad idea, maybe we should change the contents instead to fit the question? Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:38
  • @Tom: whatever. Do what you want. This is absurd.
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:41
  • I don't see what's so absurd about this, I'm doing what the question asks: I answer the title, I've read what's referred to in sentence 1, giving solutions for the problem in sentence 2, and understand sentences 3 and 4. I don't understand your intention to this useless comment discussion. Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:44
  • 1
    Ah, now I get it, @Tom. You're hijacking the question in an effort to get the mods to recommend a solution to your pet peeve... Hoping, perhaps, that their words will carry more weight than your own? Well, best of luck...
    – Shog9
    Commented Sep 27, 2010 at 17:54
  • 1
    do nothing is an awesome and IMO correct answer; not sure why it's getting voted down Commented Oct 8, 2010 at 0:36

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