There's been a recent batch of marking various questions and answers as community wiki, e.g.

I personally don't see much reason for these CW markings. One mod declined my request to reverse one such marking with the comment:

Whether a post should be community wiki is mostly up to the original poster. I see no reason to revert the CW status, feel free to raise it on meta if you have a compelling reason.

Should posts be tagged CW depending mostly on the whim of the poster, or should there be some kind of guideline for this?

(I see there is only one substantive discussion on such a matter here on this meta, under this tag. And the suggestion to use CW in that use case [for answers changing over time, e.g. "what is the latest X"] was basically rejected. On the other hand, there is a non-CW-tagged meta-question about incomplete lists where this approach was suggested. However the three posts I listed above don't quite seem to be lists--of two of them I'm pretty sure--I mean numbering your paragraphs in an answer doesn't make it a list except at a very superficial level; the last one [about slavery worldwide] is more debatable, but it was quickly closed by another mod as too broad after one mod tagged it CW.)

  • I've asked this a single Q, but if you think questions and answers are substantially different in this regard, let me know, and I'll split this Q in two. Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 9:02
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    I was curious about this myself, especially since the user who's doing it appears to be doing so for the express purpose of avoiding rep loss from downvotes.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 9:50
  • One of the answers you linked was made a wiki by the poster.
    – Joe W
    Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 11:08
  • Btw, it’s called needs more focus now, not too broad :) Commented Oct 15, 2021 at 13:37
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    Relevant FAQ on the RPG.SE Meta: How should we use Community Wiki, Part III. Since suggested edits are a thing on mainsite, making a community-wiki post is rarely necessary/beneficial, IMO - the only real benefit is for posts that will need to be frequently edited or collaborated on, to skip the process of suggesting edits to a post and needing to review them before making further edits to the post. (The CW functionality could be more useful for collaboration on per-site Meta posts, since you can't suggest edits on those Meta sites.)
    – V2Blast
    Commented Oct 28, 2021 at 20:07

3 Answers 3


Should posts be tagged CW depending mostly on the whim of the poster, or should there be some kind of guideline for this?

I turned a few posts into community wiki posts at the request of the original poster and I declined one of your flags to revert those.

As I understand it, users are free to decide whether they want the post linked to their account in the normal way or as a community wiki answer. In some cases the community may decide that posts should be made community wiki, for example through meta deliberation for specific types of questions. That does not apply here since the community wiki label was added at the request of the poster.

I can see two concerns, the first was already raised in a comment under your question.

The first concern is that the user does not receive -2 rep when their post is downvoted. Of course this also works the other way, they don't get rep increases for upvotes either. Furthermore, community members don't get rep penalty for downvoting community wiki answers. Considering all this, I don't think the community loses out by the rep mechanics surrounding community wiki posts.

Of course these rep mechanics are no excuse for posting many low quality posts. If that's the concern then I think the focus should be on post quality, regardless of who owns the post. To address this you can use down votes, delete votes and NAA or VLQ flags as you normally would.

The second concern is that answers to a community wiki question are also community wiki. I think this part may have more of an impact on other users. For example, some might be less inclined to answer knowing that they won't receive rep from upvotes on their answer.

I see now that users cannot turn their question into community wiki posts themselves. From a 2011 Stack Overflow Blog:

If we haven’t said this enough already, questions rarely, if ever, need community wiki. What about answers? We removed the ability for users to make a question community wiki, but left the ability for users to make an answer wiki.

As such, the bar for making a community wiki question seems higher. My conclusion is that users are free to post community wiki answers. They are also free to flag their own post requesting they be turned into community wiki answers.* For questions, it's a different matter and I think mods should not accept such requests for questions without a compelling reason why the specific question should be made a community wiki post.

* As Ekadh Singh - Reinstate Monica pointed out in a comment, users can turn their own answers into community wiki posts when editing. As such, requests to turn a post into community wiki should not be flagged for moderator attention. Instead, users can label their own answers as community wiki posts as they see fit.

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    I don’t think people should flag asking for their answers to be CW, because they can do it themselves already. Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 21:02
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    @EkadhSingh-ReinstateMonica you're right, I didn't realize the option is available when editing your own posts. Thanks for pointing it out. :)
    – JJJ Mod
    Commented Oct 16, 2021 at 21:03

I think that community wiki should be used for answers where you would like to invite other users to add more information. It's useful for answers where the original author only has partial information and would like to invite other users to fill in the gaps. Or for "list-style" answers with a list of examples where the author would like to invite others to add more examples they could think of.

The three answers mentioned here are not examples of answers which would make good community wikis, in my opinion. They are self-contained and don't seem to have any obvious gaps for other users to fill in. And they appear to reflect the personal views of the author, so rewriting those would conflict with the original intent of the author (too much personal opinion is another, unrelated problem with these answers). So I don't see how the community would want to collaborate on these answers.


(This answer will only cover CW answers, as CW questions are normally far less common since they can only be created by mods)

CW answers should only be created when it’s really difficult to fully answer a question, so you create a partial answer that others can easily contribute too. One fairly recent example of this is this answer.

Some citations to back this up:

This (slightly dated) blog post by a member of SE staff

This chat message by a active user and moderator on MSE who still thinks that specific blog post is relevant

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