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This question came up in a conversation on Slack where we were debating the use of the Community Wiki on a recent meta question. Out of that came an interesting conversation that I found would better lend itself to the Q&A format of the meta site, which could also be beneficial for other Stack Exchange participants to see.

The question is: When is it appropriate for me to use a community wiki?

Some questions, depending on both how it's asked and the subject matter seem to lend itself to one format over another. For instance this question: If you feel the answer to this question is best served as a wiki, feel free to do so. Otherwise, feel free to provide your own input.

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When is it appropriate for me to use a community wiki?

Virtually never. The feature has been almost completely deprecated.

The Future of Community Wiki

Marking an entire thread Community Wiki is no longer supported, and using Community Wiki to lower the reputation needed to edit a "community post" has been replaced by the 'suggested edit' feature — so the use of Community Wiki is no longer recommended.

Before it comes up, here are a few other issues to consider about using the Community Wiki setting:

  • Community Wiki should never be used to deprive a user of reputation
    e.g. "You don't deserve reputation for this, so we're going to make it Community Wiki."
  • Community Wiki should never be used to "tolerate" a post that otherwise would not be allowed
    e.g. "We don't generally allow questions like this, but if we make it Community Wiki, it should be okay."
  • Community Wiki isn't a way to forgo the reputation system
    Users should own their words in Q&A (incidentally, opinions expressed in meta do not generate reputation). If a users has the habit of posting and then disassociating themselves from the residual impact of what they say, they may no longer be allowed to participate.
  • If your post has been forced to Community Wiki (by the system or by a Moderator), simply 'flag' it for Moderator attention and the ownership/reputation should be restored without hesitation.

Incidentally, there really shouldn't be any more automatic Wiki-conversion triggers left in the system, so I don't suspect this will actually apply here.

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  • Very interesting. – Pete Navarra Oct 25 '16 at 17:28
  • Thank you for the timely reply! Could you please give your thoughts on some examples of community wiki usage on Sitecore Stack Exchange, as well as this Meta site? example 1, example 2, example 3. – Dmytro Shevchenko Oct 25 '16 at 17:29
  • Is it the intention of Stack Exchange to deprecate? Or has this been an organic deprecation based off of usage and analytics? – Pete Navarra Oct 25 '16 at 17:31
  • @PeteNavarra The feature has been intentionally deprecated but the functionality has not been physically removed mostly for legacy reasons. – Robert Cartaino Oct 25 '16 at 17:59
  • @DmytroShevchenko In my opinion, pilling a list of disparate ideas into one giant answer makes it effectively dysfunctional as a Stack Exchange-style post. Consider these issues — what are folks voting on? Which idea is best? Are all parts guaranteed correct and complete? Which are more relevant? Which have fallen out of boarder use? Where do you suggest improvements or errata for an entry? A wiki-edited "directory" doesn't take advantage of the vetting and sorting that makes compiling this stuff in Stack Exchange worthwhile. It doesn't have that same community-built, community-vetted appeal. – Robert Cartaino Oct 25 '16 at 18:06
  • Thanks for the feedback. Good to know. Is there an expected "End of Life" date on the community wiki feature overall when it will be removed? – Pete Navarra Oct 25 '16 at 18:14
  • @PeteNavarra Not that I have heard. – Robert Cartaino Oct 25 '16 at 18:15
  • @RobertCartaino Do you think it would be better to split that long answer into several answers of the same question? – Dmytro Shevchenko Oct 26 '16 at 6:57
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    @DmytroShevchenko Hard to say; it will probably be fine as-is. The problem comes if the list falls into disrepair and the directory becomes outdated as a whole. You lose that granularity of individual entries where voting might have indication which are more relevant, while folks are much less likely to vote (or say) "this resource no longer exists" or add/elevate new entries as they evolve. You also lose the propensity for folks to add any detail or commentary on any given entry. It doesn't really have that crowd-sourced appeal. I guess it depends on the purpose of the directory as a whole. – Robert Cartaino Oct 26 '16 at 14:44
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Right. As we discussed on Slack - here's my take away from that conversation.

Wikis should not substitute real answers or try and collate multiple answers into one "answer all" answer. We want the diversity of multiple questions. We also want the gamification aspect of adding new valuable input to an already answered question - and being rewarded for doing so.

That said, CWs are appropriate when

  1. The subject matter is unreasonably large to compile for any one person. A community effort is required.
  2. The subject matter is "dynamic" in nature. Like information that updates often, and preferably should be a community collaborative effort to maintain.

As an experiment (and to try and broaden our scope), I added 2 CWs this week. Both have been very well received by the community - lots of Tweets and so on. The first moreso than the second, but I believe this boils down to "not enough good information in the wiki" for that one. (personal opinion)

How can I connect with the Sitecore Community?

How can I get started learning Sitecore?

I think we agreed (at least on the first one) that this is exemplary for, when a CW is appropriate. No one person should be expected to keep the list of UGs up to date, for instance. Also the "Community Resources" will expand over time.

I think I captured the gist our conversation here. Else throw a comment if I omitted or got something wrong :-)

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