These are specifically asking for recommendations for multiple types of systems with pros and cons. Doesn't that mean they should be CW?

2 Answers 2


I can understand where you're seeing wiki-ness in these questions. They are vague and discussion-y and just not terribly good questions. Two of the links ask different questions than the title and the other is a brand/shopping recommendation. Bleh.

In a more general sense, questions that ask users to contribute to a collection/list of answers (opinions, recommendations, best practices, favorite, etc) are inherently community wiki.

But if a user asks a specific question that may have multiple approaches or multiple answers, that does not necessarily make it community wiki. There's a somewhat fuzzy line between a question that simply has multiple answers versus one where the value of the question is in having multiple answers (i.e. a poll).

I would prefer to see better, more specific questions asked, rather than using wiki as a no-rep-no-harm bandage to gloss over the issue.

  • Thanks for you feedback. Good to see a mod around these parts. Jul 23, 2010 at 19:45
  • I was under the impression that questions which are vague and discussiony and solicit lists of answers don't belong here at all. Can you point to any guidelines about when these types of questions are ok?
    – Brad Mace
    Jul 30, 2012 at 4:56
  • 1
    @bemace Yes, that is a much more current guideline. If a question looks like it should be community wiki, it's much more likely it isn't a very good fit for the site. See: blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/08/the-future-of-community-wiki Jul 30, 2012 at 21:14

If I understand correctly, the community wiki flag only has the following effects:

  1. Posts can be edited by people with lower rep threshold
  2. Question and answers receive no rep gain from votes

I think CW is appropriate for community-building questions like Tools that every do-it-yourselfer must own because they are basically polls and would otherwise lead to large rep gain just for being the first to suggest a cordless drill, without solving anyone's problems.

But I don't understand why something should be CW just because there is not a single, clear, objective best answer. Questions of the form "I want to do X, but I haven't done it before and don't know where to start, what advice would you offer a beginner?" are completely fair and useful to many. They can become a great collection of advice, judgment, and experience, even though the questioner didn't know enough to ask a more specific question.

For the questions you quoted, I would expect that a few good answers receive many votes and that some other bad/wrong/useless answers receive fewer votes. The questioner may accept one of the best ones, or may decided not to accept any and instead just vote up all the good ones.

  • CW is not about community building. It is explicitly for questions that solicit multiple right answers. The question you use as an example is not a community building question, it is a poll. Jul 23, 2010 at 18:39
  • If you look at the one answer to: diy.stackexchange.com/questions/384/… you can already see that it's shaping up to be a question that has CW style answers. Jul 23, 2010 at 18:41

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