I ended up doing a heavy rewrite of my answer on center-commutator subgroup duality because I was unsatisfied with the flow of it. This pushed the answer beyond the 10 edit limit which turned it into a community-wiki question.

I know there are reason for the automatic community-wikifying. Some of the reasons for not allowing to go back from community wiki (to prevent "gaming the system") though, seem like should not apply to a question that became a community wiki through a long series of edits. This is especially true of a long answer that is likely to end up with lots of edits, beyond the 10 edit limit.

Seems like moderators ought to be able to undo certain kinds of community-wikifying in some limited instances (e.g., if a moderator decides something "should" be community wiki, then is convinced otherwise; or an answer such as this that became community wiki through edits that, I hope, did nothing but improve it).

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As far as I know, moderators can't de-wikify things (or I would be happy to do so in the case above). I'm not sure I see the rationale for this. –  Akhil Mathew Mar 11 '11 at 18:49
    
@Arturo: currently, once you go CW, you can't go back. I think there have been pleanty of discussion (some here, some on Meta.SO) about this policy. As far as I can tell this is something unlikely to be changed. I'm tempted to tell you to ask on meta.SO as this has to do with the SE enging, but it is likely to be closed as a duplicate of one of the previous discussions. –  Willie Wong Mar 11 '11 at 19:14
    
@Akhil, @Willie: I knew that nobody could de-community-wikify; hence [feature-request]. Oh, well. –  Arturo Magidin Mar 11 '11 at 19:25
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@Arturo, you could post a dummy answer that we could upvote instead. –  Rasmus Mar 12 '11 at 0:17
    
@Arturo: evidently I misunderstood your "ought". Apologies. –  Willie Wong Mar 12 '11 at 1:58
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@Arturo: I too abhor this "feature". It doesn't make any sense for an answer to become CW in these circumstances. I've wasted much valuable time having to schedule coalesced edits in order to avoid CW (and avoid captchas - though they seem to be less frequent nowadays - thanks @Jeff Atwood). –  Bill Dubuque Mar 12 '11 at 7:06
    
@Arturo: Dear Arturo, as promised, the answer is now de-wikified (cf. meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1518/…) –  Akhil Mathew Mar 16 '11 at 4:21
    
@Akhil: Dear Akhil: Thanks! Could you post this as an answer so I can accept it? –  Arturo Magidin Mar 16 '11 at 4:24
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@Akhil: Dear Akhil: You've been beaten to it. Thanks for the heads up! –  Arturo Magidin Mar 16 '11 at 5:03
    
Not so long ago it was announced that posts will be no longer automatically turn into CW. –  Martin Sleziak May 14 at 16:23

3 Answers 3

up vote 24 down vote accepted

We have added a feature that can be invoked by moderators to transform a question or an answer from community wiki back to personal ownership. Once this is done the post will become immune from the automatic wiki assignment due to edits.

This function is moderator only; when you feel a post should be immune from automatic community wikification, use the "flag for moderator attention" function on a post to let your community moderators know about it.

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As I said elsewhere: thank you very much for the feature. I think it is a good improvement. –  Arturo Magidin Mar 16 '11 at 5:03

So, to clarify and be able to indicate support:

It seems to me that there ought to be a way (there should be a way; it would be a good feature to add to have a way) for moderators to "de-community wiki" under certain circumstances (maybe a quorum of moderators might be required, much like a quorum of users is required to close down a question?). Two such circumstances might be:

  • A post that is automatically community-wikified due to multiple editing; especially if the history reflects that this was not done to "game the system", and was done in a relatively short period of time; e.g., my long post described above hit 8 edits just by me trying to tidy it up and clarify things, even before I made the big rewrite that put it over the top.

  • A post that gets community-wikified prematurely by a moderator who later changes his or her mind.

Again, I can understand that the "no recovering from community-wiki" has a reason to be; but perhaps requiring several moderators to agree to recover it might be a way to keep a door open slightly ajar without opening it up to wholesale abuse.

Added. I guess my main proposal is this: give moderators an opportunity to exercise some judgement. I would suggest implementing the ability to de-community-wikify a post during some specified short window after it becomes a community-wiki (a few hours, a day, something appropriate), along the following lines: author must actively request and justify the request (through a flag-like request, or a flag itself, perhaps) and one/two/three/an appropriate number of moderators would have to acquiesce to the request (much like we need multiple non-moderators voting to close a question before it is closed). I don't really care much what would then happen to reputation for up-votes received in the interim (between it becoming a CW and it being de-CW-ified through this process).

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we agree that this is best left to the judgment of your community moderators, so it is now on their moderator menu for a question. –  Jeff Atwood Mar 16 '11 at 6:51

We can increase the threshold on this setting on a per-site level beyond 10 -- but how many times has this been an issue?

The main concern is that you could keep editing a question forever and bumping to to the front page indefinitely for the purposes of reputation gaming.

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Perhaps a good solution is to allow indefinite editing for the first hour? –  Asaf Karagila Mar 12 '11 at 18:00
    
@asaf we could, but I don't think that would cover the situation described by the OP –  Jeff Atwood Mar 12 '11 at 19:41
    
@Jeff, then perhaps grouping the edits by the time they were made, and then if you make several edits within the same hour they count as one. That should cover it... –  Asaf Karagila Mar 12 '11 at 19:45
    
The first 4 edits were in the first hour in Arturo's example. –  Jonas Meyer Mar 12 '11 at 19:46
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Perhaps counting the number of days (or hours) on (in) which the post was edited, rather than number of edits? –  Isaac Mar 12 '11 at 19:50
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@Jeff: Perhaps for 10/20k+ users CWify could be disabled (or the threshold raised). Surely (hopefully) most if not all users in that category have more interest in improving their answers than in gaming the system. This is especially important if we do implement here closings based on more abstract measure of "duplicate", since this may imply much editing of prior answers to ensure that they are sufficiently universal to include all special cases. –  Bill Dubuque Mar 12 '11 at 21:08
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@Jeff: I understand that there are valid reasons behind the automatic c-w-fication; I'm certainly not asking you to get rid of it. If the main concern is "bumping", then it seems a time+edit threshold would be a reasonable thing to take into account. But assuming bumping is only one of the concerns, and that this doesn't happen all that often (I suspect it does not), is precisely why I suggest the possibility of giving moderators the ability to use judgement. If you were to require, say, two or three mods to act on an active request to "de-c-w-fication", wouldn't that help prevent abuse? –  Arturo Magidin Mar 12 '11 at 22:09
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@Jeff: By "active request" I mean, the user would have to specifically request to de-community-wiki, and give reasons (say, by flagging the post), and then you would need (more than one might be approrpriate) moderator(s) to approve the request for it to happen (and you could even place time limits after it becomes c-w until such a de-c-w can occur...) –  Arturo Magidin Mar 12 '11 at 22:11
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@Jeff: Dear Jeff, I think @Arturo's suggestion is a very good one. –  Akhil Mathew Mar 12 '11 at 22:56
    
@Asaf Edits are already grouped by the time they are made. At the moment, the window is 5 minutes, which is long enough to proof read a short post, but certainly too short for long answers, such as Arturo's linked post. –  Alex B. Mar 13 '11 at 1:39
    
I suspect that I edit my prior posts more than any other user. Why? Because I often link to prior posts to provide examples, generalizations, analogies, etc. When making the link I review the prior post, fix errors, massage it be general enough to handle the new special case, insert a link back to the new question, etc. Since some of these posts apply to very frequently asked questions they've been edited many times over long periods. Viewing the site as an evolving body of math knowledge, it is essential to organize it so to better cope with the complexity. Why not have a no-bump option? –  Bill Dubuque Mar 13 '11 at 18:11
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@Bill: Because bumping is what provides notice that there are changes, so as to facilitate community review of those changes. –  Isaac Mar 13 '11 at 19:35
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@Jeff: Thanks for approving the unCW capability. –  Bill Dubuque Mar 16 '11 at 6:23

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