Please note that this question is neither about community wiki nor reputation, rather about acceptable moderation, (to stress that I've made it community wiki in itself). Therefore I need to summarize the chain of events to provide some context, please excuse the resulting length of this post (you might skip ahead to Incident eventually and refer to Background only if need be):


Some users (code poet in particular) have been submitting so called dev-tip posts for quite some time to document proper usage of specific API facets and/or the respective libraries dealing with them. This is an extremely welcome effort to make up for the general lack of documentation for the API itself and a great opportunity to establish an evolving documentation style for the diverse set of client technologies.

As such, the posts do exhibit somewhat different characteristics then regular questions, which the community realized by itself and started a discussion on how to deal with that accordingly.

Kevin Montrose added the following suggestion to this discussion:

The one thing I would suggest is to cwiki all of them, there's an air of rep farming that could really get out of control as more people start using StackApps. [emphasis mine]

The community (me in this case) has reacted open to this suggestion and asked politely for an explanation of the subject matter in a comment:

interesting point, I've added it as question 5. I don't see right now how adding valuable information as @code poet and others did e.g. for How to format reputation numbers similar to Stack Exchange sites. could be misread as reputation farming one day? But as mentioned I'm not into the respective meta discussions and couldn't find a good description of the issue immediately, so could you please elaborate a little or reference a good post regarding this? Thanks! [emphasis mine]

In addition I added my point of view (i.e. a well considered argument) regarding this suggestion accordingly:

I'm aware and in favor of the community wiki concept in general and think this would make sense for the question immediately indeed. However, this would turn all answers into cwiki automatically too, which wouldn't properly honor/motivate the effort put into posting a code snippet for another programming language for example. So this is a bit difficult [...] couldn't this get sorted over time [...]?

Kevin has chosen not to answer either of this, so I went ahead and concluded that we don't need to do this immediately, because:

nobody except Kevin seems to see this issue at the moment and he didn't provide any further reference or explanation for why he is suggesting this in particular


Now, weeks later, code-poet has added a couple of interesting use cases (incidentally related to the recently introduced reputation leagues) to test the expressive power, ease of use and versatility of existing libraries.

Only a couple of hours later Kevin used his moderation power and made all these community wiki, clearly overruling, without any explanation whatsoever, what has been an open, friendly and community driven self-regulation in progress, that is, until this point ...


This arbitrary expression of moderator power triggers lots of questions, probably best submitted separately as time permits, but to name just a few inline already:

For even more questions I'd like to quote Jeffs Theory of Moderation:

Moderators are human exception handlers, there to deal with those (hopefully rare) exceptional conditions that should not normally happen, but when they do, they can bring your entire program to a screaming halt […].

  • What exactly is so exceptional about submitting substantive illustrative guidance regarding real world API use cases?

  • How could this possibly bring your entire program to a screaming halt?

  • Does Kevin respect Respect your fellow community members at all times here?

  • Does he demonstrate fairness and impartiality in your actions?

Well, as obvious, I don't think so at all - rather, and isn't that ironic, by offending the community with such arbitrariness, Kevin is actually triggering the very problem a sensible moderator is supposed to prevent ...

1 Answer 1


Poll style question have long been made "Community Wiki" on our sites. Note that the [dev-tip] questions changed were all of the form "Post your solution to X," a poll question. We had let this slide in the past, but the recent rash of (I'm sure, innocuous) posts brought the issue back to the forefront.

Furthermore, there's already a place for your [library] docs... the [library] question.

Consider it a policy, posting example code not in response to an explicit question should be Community Wiki. Answering a question, posting an [app] or [library], suggesting a feature, or similar should remain "owned."

This is the policy.

It is totally in harmony with the way all the other sites are moderated.

If you do not or cannot agree with this policy, then perhaps this particular community is not the right place for you.

  • 2
    I don't always agree with everything the powers that be have to say, but this one I totally agree with. Plus, this has to be THE most specific, narrow SE site of them all, with the fewest active participants, where rep means even less than other sites. So what's the big deal? Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 22:40
  • I never stated that I can't accept this policy, to the contrary, I stated that we'd even supported applying it, if this had been moderated properly in the first place, and the latter is all this question is about, as clearly stated upfront. I realize that you interpret your theory of moderation differently depending on context and this being a lost case for me therefore, hence will keep it at that. Please note that I didn't downvote, because your answer is actually useful in resolving this (indeed) meta topic by meta moderator decision - please don't expect me to accept your answer though ;) Commented Aug 23, 2010 at 23:00
  • @Farseeker - sorry, hadn't realized your comment in the heat of the moment. Please note that this post hasn't been about reputation, rather about acceptable moderation. I've just read my question again and still think this cannot be misinterpreted, but it might simply be too long or nobody cares in the first place. Either way, the policy Jeff is now quoting had not been in existence when we (voluntarily) started to discuss how to deal with dev-tip posts in order to actually come up with such a policy - [continued in next comment ...] Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 17:35
  • 1
    [... continued from previous comment] - while I'm aware of Ignorance is no excuse in law it is damn hard to comply to a policy that is introduced after the fact, even more so when politely asking the moderator in charge for guidance regarding the subject matter (as raised by him) without getting any answer at all. Anyway, as obvious, and stated in my response to Jeff already, moderating the moderators is a very delicate issue I'm not inclined to morph into Don Quixote for, hence may the case R.I.P. ;) Commented Aug 24, 2010 at 17:38

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