For new users like me it is very difficult to understand the point of the community wiki and difference in purpose to the normal questions. Only after finding and searching the meta.stackexchange I arrived at some information that said more than "You don't get rep for CW posts".

From what I've gathered the wiki is supposed to contain discussions, lists and other kinds of questions where consensus has to be reached or collaboration is required to arrive at a satisfying answer.

Seeing how the fight against "game-rec"s and similar questions approaches Jihad levels I think it would be better to educate people to move this kind of stuff into the CW than to hit everything with the "close"-stick.

  1. My first suggestions is to add/expand the faq section about the community wiki and what belongs there.
  2. suggestion is to change the submission form to better explain why they should choose that CW checkbox. How about two radio buttons instead that say something like
    1. This question/problem has one specific answer/solution
    2. This question asks for a list or discussion.
  3. And finally we should allow some limited reputation to be gained from CW posts. I.e multiple answers can be marked as a part of the accepted solution and gain some limited rep.

Maybe instead of just discussion what we do and do not want on this site we should include our reasons. Maybe that would help in better formulating the criteria for accepted posts.

In my opinion it should be more important how useful a piece of information is to the community than how it was obtained. Purely social inquiries in other member's preferences definitely do not provide any benefit to the community. Similarly, stating one's own preferences and asking for matching items may help the OP but the probability of a second member having those exact preferences is negligible. But an open question that may not be ultimately answerable may still attract enough information to be of use to a broader audience.

For Efficiency's sake I suggest to move the discussion about the reasons for what is off topic to Grace Note's thread. This way this thread can return to the original topic.

3 Answers 3


A lot of people seem to confuse "being useful to a gamer" as the only criterium necessary to make a question valid on this website. A lot of people also confuse the difference between polls, discussions, and questions which can have multiple answers. I wrote some detail on the subject of "single correct answers" and questions over here, but deleted my answer because I was tangential (and I also implied that there is a "correct" answer to a game recommendation, which I do not consider to be true anymore). Here's a quote:

Even "real" questions that aren't polls at all can end up with multiple answers that are "correct". Consider some question asking about the strategy for facing a particular boss. Rarely is there only one correct answer to this question, as multiple different strategies might have succeeded at the task.

The conclusion being that the "accepted answer" is whatever works for the author of the question, while upvotes indicate what strategies succeeded. What is the difference between these kinds of questions and discussions? The question has a goal in being answered with something that is correct. Discussions and polls have a goal in getting answers that have no measure of correctness.

A question is asked because there is an issue, problem, or concern that needs to be addressed. There might be more than one solution, as indeed, many problems can be solved in more than one method. But what is important is that they are actually solving something. When you are asking for opinions on how to solve an issue, your interest is getting something that will solve the issue. The presence of individuals who agree with the answer, as well as other answers, are a welcome accessory. Comparatively, polls and discussions are hosted, not to get content, but to survey public opinion. When you are asking for opinions on a subject matter, your interest is on what each individual thinks and how many people agree with them. A conclusion is drawn not by what is correct, but by the majority vote. This is the core of what makes them unsuitable for this site.

If you want to sit around and chat about what's the latest and greatest, that is what a forum is designed for. This website is for Q&A - and it will always be for questions that have a correct answer. It may not be the only answer - but the ultimate criteria is that it is correct.


No, Community Wiki questions are not supposed to contain discussions and lists. All questions should be answerable.

They are like regular questions (and answers) just that more people can (and should) edit them to improve them and make them the question and answer on the subject.

Marking a discussion or list question wiki might keep it open long enough to be "accepted", but it's not what they should be used for.

  • To me you're both saying Yes and No to the same things. You are assuming that for every question there is an ultimate expert who can nail down the SCA down to the smallest detail. This assumption is unrealistic and overly restrictive.
    – Kempeth
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 12:27
  • @Kempeth - perhaps it's coming from Stack Overflow and Super User where there is the expectation that questions have one correct answer. However, I assumed that the sort of question that would be encouraged would be "How do I get into the secret level?" or "What's the technique for beating the Big Bad Boss?". Though see @Grace's answer for more information on that.
    – ChrisF
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 15:31

Did you have a look at this FAQ question and a similar question at meta.SO?

  • 2
    No, which is exactly my point. We should not assume that every member of this platform has extensive knowledge about the workings of SE sites. It should not be necessary to search other sites for questions about this one.
    – Kempeth
    Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 12:15
  • @Kempeth The assumption is born from most of the starting members of the community having been members of those sites. Commented Jul 21, 2010 at 13:31
  • @Kempeth: There is no use in rewriting this general part of the FAQ for each proposal separately, but you're right that it should be easier to be found from here.
    – Zommuter
    Commented Jul 22, 2010 at 8:31

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