In the comments to a recent question, the issue was raised as to whether a moderator should convert that question to community wiki (CW) mode. There are different criteria which could lead one to favor/disfavor using CW for a question such as that one. If you have an argument one way or the other, please make your case in an answer below. Ideally, an answer here won't speak only to the particular question linked to above, but will also articulate points that lend themselves to a general approach to employing CW at chess.SE.

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Going through some of the linked posts from that, I came across this post on SO, which seems very relevant.

Conclusion: A question should not be marked CW if it is possible to write valid, helpful and knowledgeable answers which contribute to SO.

Even if there is more than one valid answer (in open-ended questions), individual answers may still have value, and so they deserve the rep gain when they're upvoted. Marking such a question CW just discourages people from putting any effort into their answers.

The other consequence of CW is that posts can be edited by more people. Usually, I don't think that's a big deal. I think that's a vestigial property, it was useful before the creation of Meta, back when CW posts served as a repository of howto and faq's about SO itself. Today, I can't think of many cases where it's desirable.

I know this brings me at odds with a large group of people who seemingly get a kick out of demanding "THIS SHOULD BE CW" whenever there's even a hint of subjectivity to a question. I still don't understand why, but it seems to be a cult created around some vague statement Jeff may have once made back when the site was in its infancy.

Mark a question CW if answers have no correlation to their authors' contributions to the community. If it is a poll thread, one answer is as good as another. The value is in the entire set of answers, not in what individuals chose to vote. So mark it CW. If it is a joke thread (although those seem to be getting rare), mark it CW. There may be good and bad answers, sure, but none of them say anything about the answerer's technical skills or contributions to the site. No matter how funny my joke was, it doesn't mean I'm any better at answering questions on SO, or that my account should be given broader moderating powers (as happens when you gain rep)

But CW is grossly overused in my opinion. Outside of joke/poll style threads, I really can't see a use for it any longer. It was largely made obsolete with the creation of Meta.

So going by his first criteria, I think it's a valid question that doesn't need to be CW, and if it gets to the point where it has 30 valid answers it enters CW automatically, so I think as it stands, it's fine for remaining a regular post.

  • I had come across this as well, and it jibes with my sense that your question shouldn't be made CW. (By the way, your question is a very good and valid and welcome one, regardless of the CW aspect of things; I hope that is clear.)
    – ETD
    Jul 12, 2012 at 17:18
  • @EdDean - Thanks. I'm on a few SE sites, so I tried to structure it to avoid debates, but rather encourage the type of posts I got. Now if I could just figure out scid, I'd be ok. :p
    – JohnP
    Jul 12, 2012 at 17:25
  • 1
    FWIW, I use scid and love it. I'd bet you will too once you're used to it.
    – ETD
    Jul 12, 2012 at 17:41

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