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I noticed that this question was changed to "community-wiki" mode, not by the original poster, but by a moderator.

Since wiki-izing a post means the poster won't gain any more reputation ... is it appropriate for moderators to take this action? If the answer is yes, when is it not appropriate?

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The community wiki option is not available to the question author, so it HAS to be done by a moderator.

And the user asked explicitly that their question be made Community Wiki:

This is not a question that has a single correct answer, so it should be a community wiki.

… which was entirely an appropriate application for community wiki, even if they hadn't asked.

The author wasn't asking for a specific answer to a problem. The author was asking for a list of suggestions. As such, no one answer is expected to be better than any other. The "value" of the question is in the entire list of answers, which makes it entirely appropriate (and expected) that the list be made a community collaboration. That's what community wiki is.

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  • Ah, I see now that they asked for it. However, why is that option not available to authors? Is it possible to make a question community-wiki when first asked? Is this something that could be configured by administrators so all users could wiki-ize their own posts? – Justin Standard Apr 7 '11 at 5:44
  • Yep, I asked for CW because I couldn't find a checkbox for it in the question. Only in the answer form. That was odd. Even odder, we gained rep for the answers until the question was changed to CW; that doesn't seem fair. A checkbox in the question would seem reasonable. I haven't looked in other meta sites yet for an explanation though. – Torben Gundtofte-Bruun Apr 7 '11 at 6:13
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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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I think this kind of action by moderators is heavy handed and should be avoided. SE style sites like this one already have a recourse to allow trusted users (those with high reputation) to edit others posts.

It should be up the original poster whether they want to allow any user to modify what they've written here.

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    In an early site, there are no higher-reputation users, so it is appropriate (and expected) that moderators take a more hands-on, proactive approach to keeping the site on track while the community is still forming. As a matter of fact, we've found early moderation to be CRUCIAL to a site's success. I discuss this more thoroughly here: meta.skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/166/… – Robert Cartaino Apr 6 '11 at 23:49
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    And your premise of edit-by-permission-only goes against the very nature of this site. Take a look at the FAQ, near the bottom where it says "Other people can edit my stuff?!" -- parenting.stackexchange.com/faq#editing – Robert Cartaino Apr 6 '11 at 23:53
  • What concerned me was not so much that people could edit, but the knowledge that (at least it used to be the case) on most SE sites once a question is community-wiki, the poster no longer gains reputation. I want users to gain reputation for their good questions, and therefore gain more power to moderate the rest of the site... I want the community to scale along with the site... – Justin Standard Apr 7 '11 at 5:46

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