# How should we use Community Wiki? [duplicate]

After reading How much subjectiveness is OK? and specifically Richard JP Le Guen's answer, I thought I would start the discussion about how we want to use Community Wiki.

• For those of us (maybe just me) not familiar with this format, what is Community Wiki? – Numenetics Aug 21 '10 at 2:02
• @Numenetics Community Wiki questions and answers can be edited by the entire community and do not earn the original poster any reputation. You can choose to make your own question or answer Community Wiki. A question or answer can also be changed to Community Wiki by continual editing by the original poster or moderators. Because a Community Wiki question or answer does not earn the poster any reputation some of the sites have been more forgiving of them though not everyone agrees with that stance. – Eric Weilnau Aug 21 '10 at 2:50
• +1 Because what I say goes :P – LeguRi Aug 21 '10 at 15:46
• +1 because we need to have this discussion. In fact, cannot +1 hard enough. – John Rudy Aug 21 '10 at 23:40
• @yhw42 - Valid point; I too vote to close, but feel there should be a simple "what does Community Wiki mean?" question to replace it. – LeguRi Dec 21 '10 at 0:33
• @LeguRi: good idea: the CW questions should all be closed as a dupe of one that explains current usage... but I haven't found a good dupe candidate yet. – yhw42 Dec 21 '10 at 22:36
• @yhw42 - Then we should ask just it, and close them as duplicates once we're done with the new question. – LeguRi Dec 22 '10 at 3:49
• @yhw42 - See the question I asked. – LeguRi Dec 22 '10 at 3:58
• This guidance is outdated, see newer posts about CW. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Oct 7 '16 at 13:19

Kicking this around again now that we have another week of experience. How about the following simple rule:

"If your question is intended to gather a list of equally relevant answers, and you don't expect one answer to be the most applicable, it should be a community wiki."

Note the plural for answers: if I ask for a list of Shadowrun editions, I'm expecting one answer to be comprehensive, so that's not community wiki. If I ask for a list of cyberpunk-themed RPGs, that's community wiki. if I ask what's a good cyberpunk-themed RPG is for a game with this and that specific feel and requirements, that's not community wiki.

And we avoid "best," for reasons noted in other excellent answers in this thread.

• As long as for the cases where if I ask what's a good cyberpunk-themed RPG is for a game with this and that specific feel and requirements, we are rigorous about demanding reasons. – anon186 Sep 3 '10 at 14:45
• Watching this till the end of the day; if it gains a reasonable number of upvotes I'll copy this answer over to the placeholder in the FAQ thread. – Bryant Sep 3 '10 at 15:24

Repeating what I said in the other thread, I've found that the questions which should be CW tend to be those which are more about listing people's experiences and ideas.

For example:

• What house rules do you used?
• What custom equipment/spells have you used?
• What are your experiences with dice-less games?
• I agree with this, and I think I'm going to flip some of my questions to wiki, but I'm curious: is the non-earning of reputation retroactive? I probably shouldn't worry about it, but I hate to "take" peoples reputation that they received for some really helpful thoughts. – Numenetics Aug 21 '10 at 16:07
• No, the non-earning of rep is not retroactive, and flipping a question CW after the fact does not flip the answers -- unless a moderator does it. See also this meta post for the main trilogy – John Rudy Aug 21 '10 at 23:43

The biggest issue is that community wiki questions don't earn the asker/answerers any points. Since there's many questions out there that have no single/correct answer the community wiki would seem to be the best route to take, but those that like to answer questions in hopes of reputation may be less likely to provide input. As has been stated in a few other questions/answers already, there's going to be a lot of semi-subjective content that's going to be posted.

It would almost be better for this community if the emphasis on number of questions that a person has marked an accepted answer for isn't visible in their "badge". Along with this, lowering the required reputation to edit others posts. So that way the community still votes on the response that they feel are correct and the asker/answerers still get points. If the percentage doesn't show as part of the user's "badge" on the question it will won't deter people from answering in hopes of getting an accepted answer.

• People who don't participate because they don't get rep don't get the purpose nor understand the mechanics of a Stack Exchange site. We shouldn't jimmy our rules to accommodate them. – LeguRi Aug 21 '10 at 16:17
• Not necessarily. Everybody is driven from a reward system of one form or another. For some, simply being able to provide advice for others that they might find useful is its own reward and thus community wikis get answers and people participate in adding comments. For others some external reward system is needed and thus they are driven off of the reputation. Think about why XBox achievements and PS3 trophies are so popular. It's recognition of the work you've put in. – Agent_9191 Aug 21 '10 at 18:29
• (cont.) I can spend all day answering dozens and dozens of insightful community wiki questions with answers that get upvoted, but when you look at my little badge next to my question/answer does it reflect that? no. You would probably think I'm someone who doesn't participate very much on the site because I have low rep. That's the purpose of having the rep score right there, to show who the community "experts" are and who doesn't necessarily know what they're talking about. – Agent_9191 Aug 21 '10 at 18:40
• @Richard: My disagreement with the statement, at least in the early stages, is simpler: How else will you get to a critical mass of editors, closers and deleters (AKA, junior janitors) if people do not accumulate enough to receive those powers? People are motivated, if not by the number itself, the power said number gives them. I know that, while in beta, those numbers tend to be relaxed (I can close vote now, I just can't edit non-CW). – John Rudy Aug 21 '10 at 23:47
• @John Rudy - Could you elaborate a little? I'm having a wee bit of trouble telling if you disagree with my statement or his. – LeguRi Aug 22 '10 at 1:13
• @Richard: Sorry, yours, at least regarding what's commonly called rep whoring. People do tend to work with as a motivation, and part of that motivation is "moving up the ladder" with capabilities on the site, so to speak. Additionally, in retrospect, jimmying "our rules" is (to me) something of a misnomer -- the rules about what is and is not acceptable are very different across different SE sites. (For examples, compare Photography, Gaming, RPGs, Super User and Stack Overflow itself.) – John Rudy Aug 22 '10 at 1:27
• Definitely agree with @John Rudy. As the communities grow they figure out what does and doesn't work for them. That's how Stack Exchange has come to be anyways. Stack Overflow started off in a very simplistic format because Jeff/Joel didn't fully know what the community would actually need in the site or how the users would utilize it. The same is happening for SE2.0 sites now, we're figuring out as a community what does and doesn't work for us. We're still utilizing the system as it was built, just customizing it to fit our specific needs. – Agent_9191 Aug 22 '10 at 2:12

I think there's a need for a definitions list as part of the wiki; there's a big list of questions already up that are just asking "what is a..." indie rpg, death spiral, railroading, whatnot. That stuff should be in CW. Sure, it doesn't get as much rep, but ideally after the initial gold rush, people will stop being rep whores and just contribute to help out.

• I disagree; a definition is concrete and provable. It's exactly the sort of thing one should get reputation for. – LeguRi Aug 21 '10 at 16:05
• What happened to "People who don't participate because they don't get rep don't get the purpose nor understand the mechanics of a Stack Exchange site. We shouldn't jimmy our rules to accommodate them. " – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Aug 21 '10 at 17:31
• To be fair, @mxyzplk, that statement's context was with regard to pure motivation, not a statement that rep shouldn't exist or people should not ever receive it. – John Rudy Aug 21 '10 at 23:45
• Fine, but rep aside, I think CW should be used for lists and whatnot - it should NOT be a dumping ground for bad questions, which seems to be the impression I'm starting to get from people using the term on the main site - "Oh maybe this is a bad question or subjective, how about I make it a CW". Other SE sites tend to use them for a) definitive lists and b) group collaborative answers - NOT a ghetto forum discussion. See meta.stackexchange.com/questions/2656/…, I like the idea of "lists" should always be one per answer to facilitate vote-sorting. – mxyzplk - SE stop being evil Aug 22 '10 at 4:40
• On that we're 100% agreed. CW is, IMHO, not a "get-out-of-closure-free" card. Bad questions are bad questions. But I do think each SE site will have to define (and refine) their own definitions of "bad questions," subjectivity, list acceptance, etc. – John Rudy Aug 22 '10 at 5:18

Based on my favorite use of the Community Wiki on StackOverflow, Hidden Features of X, I think that we should use this feature to create community lists of bests. For example, I would like to see a question about the best published adventures/modules with each answer providing a description, link, and unique features of a single adventure/module. Voting would show which ones are most popular with the community. I feel that these lists would be great for finding resources for a game. They could be especially useful for less experienced gamers.

• Careful with phrasing of "What is the best..." though; we don't want it to seem too argumentative so as to lead to flaming. – LeguRi Aug 21 '10 at 16:00
• ... I think polling for experiences would be better than asking for "the best". Either way, people vote on the answers and one comes out on top. But if there are "the best" questions they're definitely candidates for CW, because no one should lose Rep because they like something and suggested it's good. – LeguRi Aug 21 '10 at 16:09
• @Richard JP Le Guen I agree with you but am having trouble coming up with the right wording. Perhaps "What are some good modules for D&D 4e?" or "What game systems are currently being published?" – Eric Weilnau Aug 21 '10 at 20:15
• @Richard: Absolutely correct; "best" is highly flammable. The "correct" wording will eventually sort itself out. – John Rudy Aug 21 '10 at 23:48
• @Eric Weilnau - Personally, I like "What are some good modules for D&D 4e?". – LeguRi Aug 22 '10 at 1:11
• Replace "the best" with "your favourite" and I think such CW questions would be unproblematic. – SevenSidedDie Sep 4 '10 at 1:48

I have been wondering about this problem myself. Until today I didn't actually know what a community wiki was because on SO I prefer questions that have definite answers. I might read CW questions but it's not why I visit SO.

As I see it this is almost the polar opposite of that. I would prefer to see more questions with a CW bias because I don't think that in the world of RPGs there often are hard and fast answers. I noticed there's been a bit of a fuss about a perceived D&D 4e bias on this site and I think, actually, the issues are related.

D&D style RPGs are handy to ask and answer questions about on a site like this because there often are hard and fast answers to questions about D&D and systems like D&D. As soon as an RPG becomes more narrative then a greater number of possible answers to possible questions become moot so several, even contradictory, answers could be of merit depending on your perspective.

The problem is that if you just CW all of these "floppy" questions in the traditional sense you could have absolute masters of narrative gaming, such as myself, getting no reputation because all of their questions and answers are CW and hence attract none, whereas this site's super high rep scoring mods are all experts on crunchy systems where Qs and As can have hard and fast answers.

It just seems like a bias built into the way the system operates. Of course in a software developer's Q&A that's not going to happen because definitive answers are almost always preferable. Here I would say that in the case of "crunchy" systems (so therefore mostly D&D) definitive answers are going to be preferable. But in the case of subjective systems or practice you always want it to be a more CW approach, or at least I do.

• The CW option has actually been removed as a user choice (see meta.rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/630/…). So ask your questions! – yhw42 Dec 20 '10 at 14:04
• Well, that's all fine but I think that the distinction between Qs with a definite A and Qs with many possible As need to be distinguished. But that the "rules" of CW are less relevant in a field such as RPGs so I'm not really comfortable with anyone having the option to CW my question given the current definition of the term... but yeah, that helps. – One Monkey Dec 20 '10 at 15:13
• Mods can CW it if you ask, otherwise it'll auto-CW if it's heavily edited or gets >30 answers (and a couple of other triggers). The best is to make sure you are asking good subjective questions and keeping any fightin' words and inflammatory comments out. (And in no way am I suggesting you've ever done that! Just pointing out what I've seen cause problems...) – yhw42 Dec 20 '10 at 15:43
• Cool. I'll see how it goes. :) – One Monkey Dec 20 '10 at 15:58
• BTW: if you use @yhw42 in your comment, I'll be notified that you replied. (You get notified automatically of comments on your own posts like this one.) – yhw42 Dec 20 '10 at 19:06
• @yhw42 I never knew that! I've been using these sites for years it's kind of odd that no one's ever addressed me directly except on my own posts before... Thanks. – One Monkey Dec 21 '10 at 10:13