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I have noticed that when I write a post there is a "Community Wiki" check box I can select. I have also noticed that sometimes questions will be converted to community wiki if they are deemed "off topic" (according to the rules of the FAQ).

How exactly does a community wiki question work and how should it be used? Also, why are some "off topic" questions converted to community wiki?

I could add that the description of the "Cast close and reopen votes" privilege don't mention community wiki.

  • Okay, well now I've gone and done it. I asked a question knowing full well that it was community wiki material: money.stackexchange.com/questions/8478/… Was that bad form? I really want some answers to the question, its not like I'm seeding. And now I'm wondering if I should have made this a question instead of a comment ... or edited my question. I'm probably breaking all kinds of rules here. Oops. – Stainsor May 18 '11 at 16:39
  • That's weird. It looks like I originally asked this question May 2 at 14:57 and then edited it May 2 at 17:45. I'm all kinds of confused right now. – Stainsor May 18 '11 at 16:40
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This FAQ question on MSO explains community wiki.

how should it be used?

That is still up for debate on many a Stack Exchange site. That is likely among the reasons that this option has been removed for questions. That is, users can no longer create Community Wiki questions, just designate an answer as Community Wiki.

Poll style questions, though generally discouraged, are almost universally changed to Community Wiki. The reason being that users should not get reputation for simply being first to provide an poll option that turned out to be popular. This type of question is generally discouraged because it adds little value.

  • in general it should not be used. The only time to use it now is if you are writing an answer intended to be edited collaboratively in some larger way. – Jeff Atwood May 5 '11 at 7:05
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We have provided some additional guidance at the blog:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com/2011/08/the-future-of-community-wiki/

TL;DR version

Most of the time, you should be asking yourself “How can I improve this post so that community wiki isn’t needed?” Community wiki is like a cheese knife: it is a specialized tool to be used sparingly, and only in very specific circumstances.

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