I have read many meta posts on Community Wiki's in this forum and stackoverflow's meta and I was curious as to why this post had been flagged within seconds of its post and the following ones haven't.

Similar Questions:
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Alternative cartographic software programs?
How do various JavaScript mapping libraries compare?, which wasn't made a community wiki till 5 days later due to edits.
free GIS software that can orthorectify?

I am interested in what the differences are in the first post and the following ones. To make a long story short why is that first post a community wiki and the following ones not?

  • 2
    Actually, a strong case can be made (and has) that most of these threads should be closed. They are marginal at best.
    – whuber
    Commented Aug 2, 2011 at 18:26

3 Answers 3


List of Map Service Software was clearly a "list X" type of question.

Questions should be manually converted to community wiki when they are marginal fits or 'list of X' questions that contain enough value to avoid deletion.

If similar questions haven't been converted to wiki, just leave a comment there. Most likely (we) moderators just missed it or were uncertain.

  • Thanks for the clarification.
    – dkroy
    Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 23:31
  • and to be clear, "list of X" can work, but the primary pitfalls include a) infinite, ever growing list of answers and b) short, throwaway answers that are glorified "this is my favorite color" entries. We just have to be careful, many of the guidelines in blog.stackoverflow.com/2010/09/good-subjective-bad-subjective do apply Commented Jul 24, 2011 at 9:28
  • 1
    I'm probably missing something obvious here, but is there a link I can click to see all questions that have been flagged as community wiki? Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 17:33

When a post is unlikely to have a best answer, it's a good candidate for CW. The post in question doesn't ask for one answer at all: it is building a list. That's just the kind of thing the CW mechanism is good for.


We have provided some additional guidance at the blog:


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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