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I noticed this question:

http://meta.math.stackexchange.com/questions/1697/community-wiki-questions

Which I responded to on Stack Overflow Meta

So I was wondering:

What kind of questions does the math community think "belong" that should/must be asked as CW?

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  • $\begingroup$ Isn't this question abstract, as one can no longer ask a question in CW mode? $\endgroup$ – Mariano Suárez-Álvarez Feb 24 '11 at 1:59
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    $\begingroup$ People were asking for a feature, I was wondering why? $\endgroup$ – Sam Saffron Feb 24 '11 at 2:10
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To start with, the following situations:

  • The question is asking for a list of examples. In this case I think it makes sense to use the voting system as a way to rank the answers, and it's easier to do this if the question is CW because then votes do not affect reputation, so they are more honestly judgments of the answer than of the answerer. Questions of this kind also often have the property that it makes sense to lower the edit barrier since different answers will correspond to different examples of some thing, and multiple users might want to contribute information about example X in the answer corresponding to example X rather than starting a new answer.
  • The question is "soft" or otherwise impossible to answer decisively. This one is debatable; I guess people feel like it doesn't make sense to gain reputation on a "soft" question.
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  • $\begingroup$ To me, both sound like questions that do not belong and should not be asked in the first place. Our engine was not designed for polling (with the exception of elections) ... soft and vague questions are really "not a real question" $\endgroup$ – Sam Saffron Feb 24 '11 at 20:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Sam: you asked for the community's opinion, so I gave it. The community's opinion (in my experience) is that these questions, in moderation, can be very valuable. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Feb 24 '11 at 20:30
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    $\begingroup$ @Qiaochu you run the site, not us. Were you around SO when the community wiki police was in full force? $\endgroup$ – Sam Saffron Feb 24 '11 at 20:35
  • $\begingroup$ @Sam: no, I'm not on SO and have no idea what that refers to. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Feb 24 '11 at 20:36
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    $\begingroup$ @Qiaochu see: meta.stackexchange.com/questions/392/… $\endgroup$ – Sam Saffron Feb 24 '11 at 20:38
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    $\begingroup$ @Sam: as far as I can remember we have not had such problems here. People are generally in agreement as to what constitutes a CW question. $\endgroup$ – Qiaochu Yuan Feb 24 '11 at 20:50
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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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