The idea occurred to me when I answered this question, specifically asking for resources for a D&D campaign focused in Amn.

I'm fairly new to RPG.SE (and SE in general), but a quick search for "resource" and "source" showed that there are dozens of these types of questions, which seem best suited to an answer in explanatory list form. For example,

  1. 1st (re)source - explanation
  2. 2nd (re)source - explanation
  3. 3rd, etc.

From what little I know of Community Wiki (CW), this seems to be the perfect way to answer (re)source-based questions since a single "regular" answer rarely covers all or, at times, even a majority of the possibilities and the best answer is usually a collection or compilation of multiple responses, including comments. CW would let everyone add their piece of knowledge into one complete, cohesive response rather than force readers to read all answers and comments to make sure they didn't miss something.

I saw that CW was overhauled a couple of years ago, but have yet to see an actual CW answer, so maybe I'm missing something (other than people not earning reputation)?

  • \$\begingroup\$ A question that calls for a list answer is often (usually?) a bad question. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Dec 31, 2014 at 4:10
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman So I've read here on meta RPG.SE, yet there are dozens of questions (see "resource" and "source" links in post above) that have high up-votes. The questions ask for (re)sources and it seems that the most effective way to answer this is in a CW explanatory list format. Let me know if you think I should ask that as a separate question: Are (re)source-based questions bad (list-esque) questions? \$\endgroup\$
    – sadaqah
    Dec 31, 2014 at 4:13

1 Answer 1


No, resource questions—that aren't inherently too broad—should be normal, non-CW questions and their answers should almost always be normal, non-CW answers.

We're actually okay with lists—so long as they are closed lists of reasonable length, such that one expert user could compile an answer that will stay good for a long time. The Amn question is a good example of this—there will be no more 4e material printed for Amn, and that makes it a static list; the amount of 4e material dealing with Amn is limited, making for a list short enough that one (good) answer could catch it all or nearly all in one try.

We don't like open-ended lists, because they never end. Votes on an answer that is never "finished" stop being meaningful, and having to constantly fix the answer by adding new items (or cleaning up the mess of other people adding to it) makes for a maintenance headache.

Headache plus meaningless equals banned.

Community Wiki seems like it might be good for list-like questions, but it really adds no utility:

  • For "good" lists, CW isn't very useful because the best answer is the one that's already complete from the first edit; once that answer is written, it either needs no additions, or only minor additions that comments and normal edits can easily handle.

    An expert is also more likely to write this kind of best answer when the reward of reputation is there, and CW takes that incentive away. Even when that expert is yourself, it makes a difference—CWs make it easy to be slightly lazier and not write one's best. In light of this drawback, it's even rarer for a CW to be better than a normal post.

  • For "bad" lists, CW solves none of their problems: they're still unmaintainable and infinitely growing. The only thing CW adds is making it easier for answers to become a mess, and "bad" lists don't need more of that.

In general, CW isn't very useful. Network–wide their usage has dropped off as the "Stack Way" has become clearer and better understood. There are rare uses for them, but they're quite rare.

  • \$\begingroup\$ How (quickly) should comments be added to answers? Sticking with my Amn example, when should I add @HeyICanChan's comment about Dragon #334? Did I need to wait until he said it was ok, or could I add it minutes after he made it? (Obviously giving credit.) I don't want to steal anyone's rep. If these should be new questions, please let me know. \$\endgroup\$
    – sadaqah
    Dec 31, 2014 at 5:00
  • \$\begingroup\$ @sadaqah Take it as a given that commenting grants permission. (Suggesting changes is one of the main reasons comments exist!) If someone wants the rep, they'll make their own answer—if someone just wants to see an answer polished into its best form, they'll leave a comment (or make an edit, but a comment is seen as slightly more polite). Add it as soon as you like. :) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 31, 2014 at 5:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ Aside, on meta it's much more normal to have discussions like this in comments, rather than splitting everything up into fresh questions. \$\endgroup\$ Dec 31, 2014 at 5:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks. I'm (obviously) still feeling out the format. \$\endgroup\$
    – sadaqah
    Dec 31, 2014 at 5:07
  • 1
    \$\begingroup\$ @sadaqah That's good! Nobody here knew the format naturally. Better to be obviously paying careful attention and learning, than blundering around carelessly and not learning. :) \$\endgroup\$ Dec 31, 2014 at 5:18

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