I'm curious, This Question, was just closed. It is over a year old, and marked as community wiki, with a large number of answers.

Granted, it did draw a new answer, but that is also marked as community wiki.

Should we close all old community wiki list questions as they are prohibited by the FAQ? Are there some which might still have merit as a list question? Should some of the questions with existing answers be edited to be more valid, when it is possible to do so?

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    \$\begingroup\$ 1k views is nothing to sneeze at. I'm with Cthos here, I've read the answers below and find them hollow - a lot of responses and a lot of views stretched out over a long period. I don't see a compelling reason to close this. \$\endgroup\$ – F. Randall Farmer Dec 14 '11 at 1:17

Well, so let's see. I understand Pat's action. I haven't closed a lot of the old ones I run across, mainly when they are a legitimate question that was CW-ed because people were CW-happy back in the day and you can't un-CW a question. I don't think we should close an existing one (and likely open a new one) in that case - may as well have the legit question that just isn't giving anyone rep; I don't really care that much about rep in general.

A bad question, old or not, CW or not, should be closed. But the close should be like any other close - we should be seeing if something can be salvaged out of it. Keeping in mind @AceCalhoon's wise admonition about not invalidating answers. We do allow game-rec questions, and I think this specific question can be retooled without affecting the answers to a site-acceptable question. I'll try to do that now.

In the end, I believe CW-ness is irrelevant and should not drive action. Good question or bad question should drive action. For a good question, we should all be voting it up and contributing to it. For a bad question, we should be trying to make it better, or closing it permanently if unsalvageable.

"Front page" isn't technically a criterion, but obviously if stuff pops up it gets some eyeball review. I see no need to go do aggressive historical revisionism, but as stuff comes up, may as well fix it, for the various options of fixing. There's no grandfather clause per se, though I would certainly edge less towards action if it is a well-participated question with lots of quality answers.

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    \$\begingroup\$ I'm going to go with "Fix them if you can, close them if you can't, CW shouldn't be the primary driver", which seems to be what you're getting at here. \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Dec 15 '11 at 15:57

At this point, the mods' position is that we'll review old CW posts as they come to our attention (which usually means "make the front page"). None of us have the time or interest to go through the full backlog of CW posts.

So what does happen when we become aware of one of these legacy posts? I generally look at a few criteria before deciding whether or not to act:

  • Is it a blatant clash with current standards? Some of the old CW questions are actually perfectly acceptable non-CW at this time. Most of them aren't.

  • What are the quality of the answers? Personally, I'll give a pass to a bad, ancient question if it has high quality answers.

  • Does it have recent activity? If it looks like a question is going to continue to generate low-quality answers over time, I'm inclined to close it to stop the bleeding (and to indicate what's currently acceptable).

Regarding that specific question: Note that even back when we were cool with CW posts, people thought that it was a bad question.

Old posts and you:

If you do find an old post and want to do something about it, you have several tools at your disposal. Flagging it, with an explanation as to why it should be closed let's us know your thought. You can also vote to close yourself, although you'll probably need to do some work in meta and chat to get others to look at it within the window.

Please don't flag every dodgy question, though... Constantly updating the entire question base to current standards probably isn't that great of an idea. Keep it to a few of the worst offenders (like the question linked above).

I would strongly advise against trying to fix old questions through editing. If you DO edit, make sure that your edits don't invalidate the existing answers. Having an old question that no longer fits its answers doesn't help anyone (this causes problems even for still "living" questions)... You're better off posting the new version of the question (if you're interested in a more modern answer, or think it's a great question), with a note to help ward off "close as dup."


Attempting to generalize from one action taken isn't wise.

That said, any CW question that ends up on the front page is far more likely to receive scrutiny to see if it currently matches the StackExchange community standards and our FAQ.

Just because a question was acceptable a year ago does not mean that it continues to be so. The StackExchange platform and this site evolve continually. Every user is part of this evolution. If you do not agree with an action taken, vote/comment/flag/etc.

From that blog post it does seem that a little cleaning may be in order though:

a site should never have more than one community wiki question for every hundred questions.

We have 77 Community Wiki questions out of a total of 2271 questions as I write this. About triple the number we should have by those standards. Does that mean I'm going to go out and close 50 CW questions? Not right away, and not willy-nilly. My time is limited as are the other mods and there is a lot of work to do around here. Examining that many questions is time consuming and other activities here are usually more rewarding.

For me, my line in the sand is the front page. I will look at CW questions on the front page and decide whether to close or not.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I don't particularly agree with that one, because there are lots of good answers which fit with the old definition of community wiki. However, I asked this question because I'm curious if we are planning on offing CW even with old questions. \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Dec 13 '11 at 19:01
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cthos - there are also a ton of crappy answers on that question. New answers, even great ones, stand little hope of getting enough upvotes to make a difference. \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Dec 13 '11 at 19:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ I assume by "Ton of crappy answers" you mean the ones that were downvoted into oblivion. Why not delete those instead of creating another thing on the front page with a [Closed] sticker on them? Because that would be more work, or because large list questions are not worth salvaging. If I had to guess, 85% of those CW questions are lists, and by current standards should be closed. Because you don't have the time to do it doesn't mean you shouldn't have a position on what should happen to them, does it? \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Dec 13 '11 at 19:12
  • \$\begingroup\$ @cthos Having a universal position would require us to review all of the old CW questions. Which gets into the effort vs. benefit ("not enough time") issue. Some of them are good, but were consigned to CW because it was easy to do so. Most of them are things we're uneasy with. \$\endgroup\$ – AceCalhoon Dec 13 '11 at 19:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @AceCalhoon - Methinks, that should also be an answer. I didn't ask the question to be confrontational, just "Hey, I wonder what's going to happen to the rest of them", and I happen to think that particular one has at least some value. \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Dec 13 '11 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Cthos - new answers appear above answers standing at -1 or below, so that isn't it. I felt the question was poor all by itself. I told you what my position was, tried to be as open as I could. Feel free to use your own votes and flags to make your opinion known. \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Dec 13 '11 at 19:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PatLudwig - And I have. That however, doesn't mean I can't ask what the fate of the older list questions which may-or-may-not-have-value-depending-on-who-you-ask-on-rpg.stackexchange might be. \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Dec 13 '11 at 19:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Cthos - I assure you there is no overarching master plot for much of anything related to this site. And that include CW posts. All I can tell you are my opinions. \$\endgroup\$ – Pat Ludwig Dec 13 '11 at 19:28
  • \$\begingroup\$ @PatLudwig - Didn't mean to suggest that there was, only that opinions tend to vary wildly. \$\endgroup\$ – Cthos Dec 13 '11 at 19:39

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