Why is this question ... [ Which TLD would be suited to a personal site? ] ... community Wiki?

I don't understand the rationale. And I am often frustrated seeing questions turned into Community Wiki without a good explanation, little discussion, and no mechanism to "revert" from Community Wiki status.

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    +1 I agree, it's very frustrating! Commented Aug 14, 2010 at 13:59

6 Answers 6


While the question of what should constitute a community wiki remains open to debate, I do think that maybe the process should be a little more democratic. It seems to me, and I may be wrong, that moderators have marked certain questions as a community wiki very early on, in some cases even before the question had any answers.

In my opinion, this serves as a disincentive for other users to answer the question and could actually hurt the original poster by preventing them from getting answers they would otherwise have gotten if the question wasn't marked community wiki. (In fact, I would be very interested to see a comparison of the average number of answers a question marked community wiki early on receives versus a non-community wiki question.)

Yes, community wiki questions do still earn badges, but badges have decreased importance and visibility in comparison to reputation points. While a subtle difference, the first thing that I think most people will look at is the reputation number rather than the number of badges. The reputation is listed first for all profile snippets. Even on the user profile page itself, reputation is large and prominent at the top, while the badges are relegated to the very bottom of the profile. Reputation, not gaining badges, is also the key that unlocks more privileges across the site. Most importantly, users are ranked by reputation by default, not the number of badges. Ranking by the number of badges isn't even an option, thereby minimizing their weight in terms of social proof.

As it stands, reputation, not the number or type of badges, is the chief currency of social proof on all StackExchange sites.

Here's what I would suggest:

  1. Moderators, don't be too quick to mark a question as community wiki, especially while we're in beta. Leave a comment suggesting that the question should be a community wiki first and see how many votes you get on the comment or if the original poster is willing to mark it as such or edit the question to make it more specific. If the comment gets 5+ votes, then mark it a community wiki if it has not been already. An exception to this would be questions that are obviously posted with the sole intention of gaining reputation, questions like, "What's your favorite version of Flash?".
  2. Feature request: We vote on closing questions, reopening them, and marking a question as spam or offensive. Why not vote on whether or not a question should be community wiki as well? I would suggest a one-way vote, otherwise people who have answered already will automatically vote to un-wikify the question.
  3. Feature request: Allow for the ranking by the number of badges on the leaderboard. This will give users more incentive to answer community wiki questions.
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    – artlung
    Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 13:31

The main issue as I see it with that question is that there's not just "more than one right answer" there's officially NO right answer.

Now, there are certain TLDs set aside for "personal" use, and if the OP had asked "Is there a personal TLD set aside for use by people in country [x]" then that's a legit and valid question with a correct answer.

As it is, it's still a valid question, but one with absolutally no way of giving a correct answer.

For example, your answer (currently at +2) does a very good job of outlining the differences in the three examples that the op provided. But then there's other peoples answers that include valuable domain names that weren't in your answer. That doesn't make your answer less correct, and it doesn't make the other answers more correct.

The only fair thing to do in such a situation is go CW.

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    Yes, but given that votes on such questions don't have any effect on reputation, why would I vote on anything community wiki? And so, no value is given or gained from answering CW questions. I tend to think of CW questions as inconsequential. I think I am not the only one.
    – artlung
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 21:57
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    You vote on things that are community wiki because you feel they are good answers. I vote on CW questions all the time. I know that the votes don't count for rep but they do count for badges and giving people the information they need is important to me. Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 12:17
  • Also, if it was all about reputation then people wouldn't use the Meta sites, except for meta.stackoverflow.com and people certainly wouldn't vote on things in this meta, which I see 9 votes on already. Commented Aug 17, 2010 at 12:19

Community wiki questions and answers are not in any way second class citizens. Someone asking the same question will find the answers every bit as valuable as any other answer that solves their problem or in this case, helps them make a decision.

Keep in mind, you also earn normal (not tag, but normal) badges from community wiki questions and answers. Since these questions are very easy for other users to vote on, those badges tend to roll in much faster than they would on other questions. There is no part of participating in the site that is not (eventually) rewarded in some way.

The overwhelming majority of questions on Pro Webmasters come from people who have very specific problems to solve that require some degree of knowledge and skill to answer. While we can't solve the problem of rare knowledge being under rewarded, we can help to balance it by ensuring that answers to polls, list of, or best (something) questions are not over rewarded.

You could conceivably garner thousands of reputation points over a month by simply answering "Joomla" to "What is an ideal CMS", or ".com, people think it's professional" to "What TLD should I use" if they were not community wiki. The votes you gain basically say "I agree" vs "Yes, this was the best solution to the problem". That is a major difference in the context of our site.

Keep in mind, also, that we are still working on our ground rules and discussions like this are extremely important. I'm merely explaining why I made this particular question CW. I plan to open a combined discussion of this question and several others to reach a consensus that leads to greater detail in our FAQ.


First off, this post on meta.SO should explain what a community wiki is supposed to be. The best answer came up with this specifically as what kind of questions should be community wiki:

A question should not be marked CW if it is possible to write valid, helpful and knowledgeable answers which contribute to SO.

Even if there is more than one valid answer (in open-ended questions), individual answers may still have value, and so they deserve the rep gain when they're upvoted. Marking such a question CW just discourages people from putting any effort into their answers.

I think the most important part of that comment in this case is "valid answer". That means answers should be correct in that they solve the issue the asker has and if another user comes along and has the same question, the answer solves their issue/problem as well. The opposite of those kinds of questions should then be community wiki. Meaning questions that have no definitive answer(s) should be wiki.

On to the question at hand. In the question, the user specifically asked:

I'd appreciate remarks on the differences between these options, and suggestion on which would be suitable for my need.

When a user uses phrases like "best answer", "remarks", or "suggestions" the question infers that there is no definitive answer(s) and that all answers are subjective to some extent.

Taking it a step further, if you look at the spirit of the question, it is I need help with how should do X which is subjective. If the spirit of the question was I need help solving X because X is broken then it would not be community wiki.

I think the main point is subjectivity. With the way the question is currently asked there will be no answers that are for sure correct unless someone is able to pull out statistical research on peoples TLD preferences and what they hold true in this specific case.

My concern with this is having Pro Webmasters turn into a site where questions like "What is the best web server?" or "Should I use Linux or Windows to host my website?" become flash point questions and give users a great deal of reputation for asking a popular question that does not benefit the entire PWM community simply because a voting equivalent of a flame war occurs.

  • 1
    You seem to be making the case that unless there is a single correct possible answer, a question must be community wiki. This is a bizarre claim, and I implore you not to force questions to be community wiki so quickly. I saw no risk of a flamewar in that question, so I'm not sure what the applicability of your final comment is. What I see is a lot of disincentivizing participation on a site that needs more and better participation. If the participation is negative, I trust it'll get voted down. Destroying the vote feedback mechanism screws up what works about StackExchange sites.
    – artlung
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 20:42
  • @artlung my last comment was my overall concern and not specific to this question. Also, throughout what I said, I used (s) to state that there can be many correct answers and that is OK and in fact a good thing. When I look at the question we are discussing though, it doesn't seem possible to have any correct answer(s). What I mean by that is I doubt any answers could be given that would be correct and based off of solid fact. What are your thoughts? Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 20:52
  • Many answers are subjective. I think striving for one correct answer in complex situations, and that questions without one correct answer are community wiki goes against what has worked so well on StackOverflow. So here's a question: webmasters.stackexchange.com/questions/2141/… -- there are MANY possible ways to address this issue. Would you say that because there is not a correct answer, it should be community wiki?
    – artlung
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 20:59
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    I agree striving for 1 answer is complex. The example you gave though proves my point in my opinion. Jeff stated "What's the official, blessed Google way to use Google Analytics if you're a "whale" website with lots of hits per day?" The question is asking for answers that gives a definitive source, Google, and not just opinion based on personal preference. If Jeff had asked "What's your opinion on the best way to use Google Analytics if you're a "whale" website with lots of hits per day?" I would have asked for it to become a CW because that is an entirely different question. Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 21:17
  • He also added "Or, are there other analytics services that would be more appropriate for very large websites?" A perfectly valid answer could be, GA /can/ handle you, but there's a better solution. In that extra bit of question, he changed it to be open-ended and not definitive. I think people should not be penalized for seeking comment.
    – artlung
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 21:32
  • True then technically that should have been 2 questions or maybe it should have been a community wiki. I am interested to hear what others say. The deeper I get into this the more gray it sounds. Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 21:34
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    It's very gray. I think all CW ends up doing is removing any incentive to give a damn. I think that's a shame.
    – artlung
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 21:59
  • I don't think CW removes incentive. People want to discuss and talk about things. Looking at SO many Wiki questions have thousands of views, dozens of answers, and hundreds of accumulated up votes. Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 22:12
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    Many subjective questions, even when they're not flame bait, are polarizing and attract voting far out of proportion to the value of the answers compared to other non-subjective questions on the site. I would far rather have this site be a valuable answer site than a recommendation/opinion site.
    – JasonBirch
    Commented Aug 13, 2010 at 22:32
  • @JasonBirch: SEO can be almost only "recommendation/opinions", there is no science behind it. So if you don't want "recommendation/opinion" in this site you should remove the "SEO experts" words in this site description. Commented Aug 14, 2010 at 22:51
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    @Marco Demaio: I understand that SEO has some amount of recommendation/opinion involved. Google and others do give guidelines and general rules. Other companies and groups have enough experience that they may not be able to give absolute answers but they can give answers based off of experience and not based off of their favorite or preferred way to do things. Look at how many SEO questions are on PWM that aren't CW, I think you will find non-CW SEO questions will far outnumber CW SEO questions. Commented Aug 15, 2010 at 22:57

OP here (of the question under discussion). It's unfortunate that this happened, that what I thought was a question with a good chance of a real answer has been considered otherwise. For what it's worth, I've selected the answer that worked for me. That answer provided the information I needed, explaining the intent of each of the TLDs I mentioned initially, and it recommended the suitable TLD for my criteria.

I probably should have put a bit more thought into the question, since looking back at it suggests it wasn't as clear as it could have been. What I meant by my request for "remarks" was the differences between the options listed, not necessarily opinion-based feedback. Which I got from the accepted answer.

Again, for what it's worth, I hadn't intended the question to be subjective. I would have reworded it earlier if it had been suggested, before it became a wiki.

  • 1
    Personally I believe that this is a discussion that has to be had - it most likely is happening on every other SE site as well (if not now, then in the past or the future). It brings to light that perhaps there's some work to be done convincing the community that a CW question is no less valued by the community. Commented Aug 14, 2010 at 4:57
  • Farseeker, that's a good point. I wonder if scoring on community wiki posts could contribute in some other way. There are lots of mechanisms that could be use - perhaps moderation tools (what they would be I don't know) or perhaps a different class of badges (community participation badges?) Or somehow score them along a different metric (flag as "excellent community contribution") or something. Lots to chew on. I do understand the need to remove the incentive for karma on some posts, but I really, still don't understand the reasoning as it is applied.
    – artlung
    Commented Aug 14, 2010 at 14:35
  • @artlung - There are rewards from the system (i.e. badges) that are still earned from CW questions and answers. See my answer.
    – Tim Post
    Commented Aug 14, 2010 at 21:44
  • I think an important take away on this is that even though your question was marked CW, you still got the answer you needed. The goal of the site is to get the answers you need to your questions. So the only "downside" to your question being CW is you missed out on a couple of rep and the people answering did as well. The people who answered obviously didn't care though since they answered anyways. Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 14:09
  • @RandomBen Yes, I did get the answer I wanted. I'm not fussed about the rep, but the fact the question was made CW though it didn't need to be. I honestly think the intent behind the question - perhaps not articulated enough originally - was to get a concrete response. Commented Aug 16, 2010 at 17:44

The reason it has been made a CW is probably that every answer is equally valid, and there isn't a right answer; somebody could suggest you to use "domain-name.me," somebody else would suggest to use "domain-name.it," and somebody else could suggest using "domain-name.ws." None of them would give you any quantifiable advantage, and choosing one or the other is just a matter of preferences.

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