I've noticed that community wiki status is sometimes applied forcibly to posts that moderators judge are not quite a good fit for this site -- too broad, too open-ended, or too likely to attract multiple answers, or for whatever other reason having some defect.
I understand the motivations behind this and sympathize to some extent, but I'd like to propose a change to this policy. I propose a different policy:
Moderators should avoid forcibly applying community wiki status, if the author didn't request it, except for big-list questions.
Big-list questions are arguably special and should be discussed separately. But for questions that are not asking for a big list of X:
If the question meets the criteria for closure (e.g., too broad, too subjective, off-topic), the question should be closed. If the question does not meet the criteria for closure, it should be left open and should not be forcibly converted to community wiki. Community wiki should not be used for questions that are somehow in the middle -- make a decision, either it meets the criteria for closure, or it doesn't.
If the question is attracting poor-quality answers, moderators and the community should curate the answers (e.g., by deleting lower quality answers and answers that are redundant and do not add anything).
Forcible conversion to community wiki should not be used as 'closure lite' or as a way to deny reputation to users.
If the question should be closed, close it (put it on hold). Putting a question on hold is not permanent. It acts a signal to encourage people to edit the question, and puts a pause on answers until the question is improved so it meets site standards. In the long run this will lead to higher-quality questions.
The current c.w. policy risks discouraging answers. Reputation is a core part of the system; using community wiki denies people from receiving reputation for excellent answers, which may mean we don't get as much higher-quality answers.
Also, converting an question to community wiki after some answers have been posted leaves a bad taste in the mouth. It violates the implicit contract with answerers that if they post a good answer they will receive reputation for people who upvote their answers -- and does so retroactively in a way that the answerer could not have anticipated, and after the answerer put in effort (possibly in an expectation that if others judge their effort valuable they will receive the reputation benefit). This won't matter to everyone, but it may matter for some answerers. Before you reject this because it doesn't matter to you, consider that others may feel differently.
Personally, I also find the current policy discouraging from the perspective of a reader, because it means my votes do not translate into any reward for the person who took the time to answer.
In short: the current policy interferes with the incentive system that underlies StackExchange sites.
CrossValidated is out of sync with the rest of StackExchange policies. Standard policies on StackExchange strongly discourage use of community wiki in this way. See, e.g., the following:
- Stop using community wiki as a reputation denial mechanism
- https://meta.stackexchange.com/a/55997/160917 (excerpt: "A question should not be marked CW if it is possible to write valid, helpful and knowledgeable answers which contribute to SO.")
The StackExchange views on community wiki have evolved, based on experience with it. I suggest that this site evolve its views similarly.
A recent example where this came up (but it's not the only one): What's a real-world example of "overfitting"?
What do you think? Do you agree with my suggested policy, or do you like the current approach better? Or would you suggest something else entirely?