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Here is a recent example. Can we get rid of automatic conversion of questions to CW?

https://cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/19222/constant-factor-approximation-of-hypergraph-maxdicut

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  • $\begingroup$ Hmm. this is a weird case when the same user did a frantic series of updates triggering the CW mechanism. $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '13 at 18:11
  • $\begingroup$ @Suresh, yes, it is. ps: see also meta.mathoverflow.net/questions/871 $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Oct 1 '13 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ so we can (and should) remove CW status from that question ? $\endgroup$ Oct 1 '13 at 21:44
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    $\begingroup$ @Suresh, I don't know. I have avoided doing it so far and would prefer if this is fixed in place of us unCWing posts. Since the CWization questions is now a mod only action it seems strange that they have kept this relic feature. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Oct 1 '13 at 22:11
  • $\begingroup$ Is there a typo in the linked question? Clicking on it takes me to a "page not found" error". $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Oct 2 '13 at 4:57
  • $\begingroup$ @D.W. the link is correct. Its author has deleted the question. $\endgroup$
    – Kaveh
    Oct 2 '13 at 5:17
  • $\begingroup$ Ahh, gotcha. Thanks. Do you think we lost that content because the author was frustrated over the auto-CW conversion, or do you think the deletion was unrelated? (I realize there's probably no way to know. Please feel free to ignore my curiousity if it's inappropriate.) $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Oct 2 '13 at 6:07
  • $\begingroup$ As Kaveh points out, CW is now a mod-only feature, so auto-conversion makes no sense anymore. Moreover, I think editing a post to bump it to the top of the activity page is likely to make people want to remove their upvotes in irritation, and the updates will allow them to do so. $\endgroup$ Oct 14 '13 at 10:10
  • $\begingroup$ For another example, this question cstheory.stackexchange.com/questions/19626/… was made CW after a series of updates. $\endgroup$
    – Vijay D
    Nov 25 '13 at 1:26
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TL;DR: This is an excellent suggestion -- one that I think there is sadly no chance of being implemented, alas. The only way to fix this is to rely upon our moderators to un-CW such questions (you'll have to flag it for their attention). I'd certainly hope our moderators would be glad to do that.


In more detail: I agree with you. I too would like to see automatic conversion to community wiki disabled. I think it's a lousy feature; it disincentives improvements to questions and answers.

Unfortunately it has been suggested previously on Meta.Stackoverflow many times over the past 4 years, and it looks very unlikely that it will be changed:

Apparently, the rationale given for the existing auto-CW-conversion behavior is that the site designers were worried that people would continually edit their question to bump it to the front page of the site. I personally don't think the current behavior is the best solution to that problem, but whatever: it's clear that the site developers have a different view, that they have thought about this, they do have reasons for the current behavior, and ultimately, this is unlikely to change (at least, not in the foreseeable future).

For now, no changes seem likely to come our way. Instead, the standard workaround seems to be: if you notice that a question/answer was auto-converted to CW inappropriately, flag it for a moderator (flag as "needs moderator attention"), and ask the moderator to please reverse the community wiki status. Moderators have that ability. Apparently, many moderators have stated that they do routinely grant these requests (absent concrete reasons not to), and it is considered legitimate to ask the moderators to do so. See, e.g.,

Unfortunately, you'll still lose any rep that was accumulated between when the answer was auto-converted to CW and when the moderator reverts the CW status.


My proposal: Our moderators should routinely and gladly grant such flag requests, as long as there has not been any signs of abuse. We should be grateful to anyone who takes the time to improve their questions or answers, as long as they're not abusing the feature to try to bump their question/answer to the front page. I don't think our moderators should refuse to grant such flags (e.g., on the basis that they're going to wait for this behavior to be changed -- as it's pretty clear this behavior is not going to be changed any time soon). That just penalizes people who put extra time and energy into improving their questions/answers.

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  • $\begingroup$ Your rationale is only partially correct. The premise was that if enough people are constantly editing and adding to a post, that shared collaboration becomes a "wiki" owned by the community. The most common use case when one user is constantly updating their post, is when they are maintaining a summary answer from a lot of contributions below. I'm not fond of the feature itself, but the automation works the majority of the time. But when it doesn't, it's a simple matter for a Moderator♦ to correct and inadvertent changeover like that. That's why we call them "exception handlers." $\endgroup$ Oct 10 '13 at 23:24
  • $\begingroup$ @RobertCartaino, yeah, I've seen that argument before. Just one comment. You write that, when an author's repeated updates triggers auto-conversion to CW, the most common cause is that the author is maintaining a summary answer based upon contributions from others in the comments. Well, that's not my personal experience (though others' experience may vary). Anyway, I agree the solution is to ask a Moderator to un-CW affected posts. I hope your note will encourage the moderators to be open to do so, where appropriate. $\endgroup$
    – D.W.
    Oct 11 '13 at 3:04

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