This issue came up in comments to Are there any open mathematical puzzles? which asks for a list of such "puzzles". Due to the big-list nature I thought it would naturally have better been marked Community Wiki, so that one can post and up-vote (or down-vote) answers without affecting reputation. This seems reasonable especially since answers are not particularly associated to the person who happens to cite a particular example first. However OP of the cited question disagrees.

I would be nice to have a clear-cut opinion about whether such questions should be CW. And if there is consensus about this, maybe the tag-wiki for [big-list] should mention this so that posters of such questions are made aware.

I this particular case the question was also tagged [soft-question] which for me points even more in the direction of CW, but I don't want to make my current question dependent on that coincidence.

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    $\begingroup$ As one of the potentially concerned answerers I don't care about making that post CW. Actually I think such questions indeed should be made CW at some point. A side remark though, as you seem to worry about reputation of other users: with daily upper bound equal to 200 and practically all upvotes coming in 1-2 days CW or not CW does not change anything. I would rather be worrying about why some exceptionally good answers often receive 1-2 upvotes or even no upvotes at all. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2013 at 1:58
  • $\begingroup$ I left the following comments were at this question: (1) Shouldn't this question have been Community Wiki? I thought big-list questions usually were. (2) See meta.math.stackexchange.com/a/147/18880 and meta.math.stackexchange.com/a/2939/18880 but I must admit I had expected to find more definite indication on the meta. (3) See also meta.math.stackexchange.com/q/445/18880 and meta.math.stackexchange.com/a/2797/18880; to me it is pretty clear that such questions for lists should be CW. But I'll post on meta anyway. (end of enumeration) I'm removing them now by OP's request. $\endgroup$ Oct 23, 2013 at 9:25

2 Answers 2


I'm the OP of the question on main. This was the formulation of my disagreement.

You could ask on meta. (Where I took a peek.) My tentative answer is no. 1) The community has chosen to place each puzzle in one separate answer (as opposed to listing all puzzles in one answer). 2) The answers are also not opinions, favourites, etc. As such the rep system seems to work fine to encourage great answers. 3) I'm perfectly comfortable "owning" (in the sense described on meta) this question. But, if you still wonder: please ask on meta, not here.

To add further complications, please note that I didn't add the tag. It was added by another user. I had the impression that questions are asking for one answer containing a list that could then be added to by other users. In that case the CW makes a lot more sense. (But then my question should not have been tagged in the first place.)

Also, the question has now been made CW by a moderator. I don't care about my rep, but I do like the idea that people answering my question are given rep and rep-incentive for their answers.

The only thing that I saw that came close to answering the above question on meta alluded to the presumed rep-hunting by the OP of a question or the rep-incentive to ask questions. Well, as I said, I don't care about the rep, but I cannot deny that such rep-incentive might attract apparently unwanted questions.

Edit: On second viewing I also saw an argument that these fun questions attract too much attention away from (answering) regular questions, thus undermining the purpose of the site. That seems reasonable (is it quantifiable?), but I'm not sure if CW would mitigate that much.

So, I agree with the OP that this should be made clear on meta.

Also, I'd like to draw your attention to the demonstrable negative effects of the CW:

enter image description here enter image description here

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    $\begingroup$ Concerning the edit: I can’t speak for anyone else, but big-list questions definitely don’t attract my attention. I tend to find them relatively uninteresting. $\endgroup$ Oct 22, 2013 at 0:26

I feel that, with very few exceptions, something that should be tagged should also be community-wiki.

Basically, I think non-CW questions should be things the OP can reasonably choose an answer for, ideally something like "the explanation I preferred out of the valid proofs/explanations".

For a usual question*, the answers together will make a list which may or may not be compiled in the question post. And while the OP may have a favorite, good answers aren't all proofs of the same thing, etc. Since every answer is about something different, it makes sense to encourage the community to collaboratively edit such posts to make each one the best version of the answer it could be, because many separate competing answers with the same basic idea would be too cluttered for a question.

*As opposed to a hypothetical question like "What are all the Johnson Solids?"

  • $\begingroup$ There seem to be some comments on the question (and on other things) from people who agree with me (or perhaps the same conclusion for a different reason) but have neither expressed themselves by voting nor posting a different answer. No doubt there are people who agree with @Transmission from and haven't voted on that answer either, but as it stands I have no real idea how the community feels about this issue... $\endgroup$
    – Mark S.
    Dec 1, 2013 at 16:35

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