I see from this search:


We are apparently now adding faux wikipedia style editorial messages to answers that don't contain citations or references:

This post does not cite any references or sources. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (Aug 2011)

I am not sure I agree with that, but that's not the point of this question.

Why are we also converting these posts to community wiki? That feels very passive aggressive and punitive to me -- using community wiki as a flat out reputation denial tool -- and I don't agree with it at all.


2 Answers 2


(I understand you don't agree with our rule. I understand I should be expecting a new SEN policy any moment now, and I look forward to reading it. But, perhaps just for the record, here is the answer to your question.)

We have a documented Skeptics.SE policy that the mods are following: Guidelines for Inadequately Referenced Answers

If [... adding a banner ...] is performed by a mod, they may choose to make the answer "community wiki". This allows more people to fix it, reduces the cost of the downvotes to the author, and makes it cheaper for others downvote.

That is the "official" answer to your question.

To expand: we could either ignore the broken window, delete it outright or add the banner and hope. While I would vastly prefer to delete it outright, the community spoke on the matter and preferred banners to deletion.

The banners are harsher to reputation than deletion: they are practically a call-to-arms for the item to be downvoted. (Yes, the question might be saved in response to the banner, but in practice this seems uncommon.) Under such circumstances, this is less a "reputation denial" mechanism, and more a reputation preserving mechanism.

I hope this demonstrates that these actions aren't mods being petty or "passive-aggressive". Our treatment of banners was discussed between the Skeptics mods, with the community on Meta, with an SEN employee and with fellow mods of other SEs, before we started uses them in the field. We are trying to toe the line between network policy, what the community wants, and keeping the quality of the answers high enough to attract more experts.

  • 1
    for now, deletion for the worst 25% plus comments for all really should be sufficient. Within 6 weeks there should be support for proper metadata annotations on posts. Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 7:19
  • (also this meta Q was really about the conversion to community wiki, not what your answer addresses...) Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 7:20
  • I agree my answer moves on to discuss banners (which were the motivation of the CW changes), but I think it directly addresses the question "Why are we also converting these posts to community wiki?" Where is the 'worst 25%' rule from - I don't recall seeing it before. Look forward to the new features in 6 (to 8) weeks :-)
    – Oddthinking Mod
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 7:37
  • 1
    @jef: the two are intertwined as we only used CW on bannered posts...
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 17, 2011 at 8:52

They are only applied to abandoned posts that need community attention, eg posts that are clearly not being fixed by the owners.

If you have something against that, can you expand your question so that it's a bit more constructive and we don't have to double guess your meaning?

Since reputation here should be earned or lost based on quite specific parameters, I personally don't think it's fair to ask people to do all the hard work (finding references) and then awarding the rep to an original author that doesn't want to do it themselves. It's just not going to happen.

We are not talking about fixing a typo here, but doing the bulk of the work in answering.

  • 3
    really? this post from YESTERDAY is "abandoned"? skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/5734/… Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 10:09
  • The op completely ignored the request for citations, while being active on the comments, so yeah, I don't think the author was interested in fixing his post. Furthermore, his history on this site is one of never using references, so I think he was not going to fix it. Abandoned also means this.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 10:20
  • 6
    A one-day waiting period for this is absurdly strict, regardless of history, and the first comment was not explicit about what was needed. Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 10:27
  • The link was quite explicit. Did you read it? Do you disagree with the policies? Fine. But my job is also upholding them.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 10:32
  • 7
    and we have network policies as well that I also must enforce. One of those is, "no abusive 'notices' at the top of posts", and a second is "don't abuse community wiki as a reputation denial tool". Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 10:40
  • 3
    Ok, funnily enough, the notices stayed in limbo for a long time until Shog9, also from SEN, started using them... So where can we find these "network wide" policies written in a clear format? Because it frankly looks like there's no clear agreement. Also, regarding the CW option, it was discussed and suggested in teacher's lounge. Maybe you should make these policies much much clearer, because they are all news to me and many other mods.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 10:46
  • they will be made absolutely crystal clear without a doubt. I am backfilling changes to the database now to rewrite history. Stand by... complete. Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 10:50
  • 1
    Still waiting here :-)
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Aug 14, 2011 at 16:10
  • this is now complete -- see meta.stackexchange.com/questions/102363/support-for-banners Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 21:25
  • @JeffAtwood thanks 1 million.
    – Sklivvz
    Commented Sep 23, 2011 at 21:31

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