A few days ago, it's been pointed how a post, containing some incompatible form of HTML was having some conflict with the Markdown engine of this site.

So a mod suggested to convert the HTML tags in Markdown, which was nor completely appreciated by the original author of the post itself. Still, it's impossible to see the review history of that, while anyone can edit: the result is that it's impossible to check the correctness of edits and eventually roll-back.

Another issue: it was suggested to split the list in multiple posts, so than it was possible to sort them with the voting system; what's the conclusion?

I would also like to know the opinion of Olin, who spent quite some time in creating that post.


I have given up on that post. I am OK with your edit after you put the numbers back. I put those there deliberately to make it easy to talk about specific points. However, this whole community wiki thing has taught me not to spend time on something like this again.

The people managing this site have failed to think about this from a content author's point of view. Think about why people are here answering questions. No, it's not to help others with their silly-ass problems. There is no such thing. Everybody does things for reasons for themselves. Those that appear to give something freely to others are doing it for a reason, like possibly to feel good about themselves, to satisfy a inner moral standard, or whatever.

The same goes for people answering questions here. I do it because sometimes there are interesting problems, but a lot of it has to do with reputation and looking like the smart guy in the room. By reputation I mean the intellectual kind, not the numerical values we earn on this web site. The numerical reputation has no intrinsic value, except that high numerical reputation enhances intellectual reputation, which does have value. Since I am primarily a consultant, intellectual repuation and respsect from peers is not just for ego stroking, but can make a real business difference. I have been here less than a year, but at least one job I got was a direct result of looking like a smart guy here.

Writing the piece on schematic drawing had been in the back of my mind for a while. After writing two separate answers to similar questions and then Kortuk suggesting a more comprehensive writeup, I decided to do it. Anyone who has written similar things before knows it takes longer than it looks. It took a number of hours to collect the thoughts in a presentable form, write them up, make some drawings, go over everything several times, etc. In other words, such things take real work, which people aren't going to do unless they think there will be some return. It's sortof like writing a research paper. You don't get paid for that, but you expect some intellectual credit and reputation in return.

Community wiki negates that. From a author's point of view, it takes but doesn't give anything back, so why bother? Other people can edit and add to your "paper", so nobody gets clear credit for their work. Worse, you could end up looking like you said something you don't agree with, although that didn't happen in this case. On top of that, you can't even earn numerical reputation points after it's converted to community wiki. Seriously, what do I get out of it? Spending effort on a paper that effectively gets taken away from you is pointless.

I had plans to expand on that post periodically, but that's not going to happen as things are now.

  • \$\begingroup\$ I share your point of view, and I think that the CW thing (in the way it's designed) should be started by the author himself or when there is a very good reason. In this case I think the purpose was to make a very important topic as detailed as possible, getting advantage by all experienced users. But since there was a lot of work on it (really, I've realized it) the credit should be yours. Anyway, if this could be a relief, in your profile it's still on your most valuable posts, and I think that this is the important thing (as you said, reputation is just a number). \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Mar 26 '12 at 19:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ I also am here for personal reasons (learning and reinforcing what I already know), even though I like if I'm able to help people. And I understand that being a respected used here, though this community is still small, can be professionally valuable. I would also be able one day to link it in my review. About you, I think that your (real) reputation is evident for anybody looking to your profile, and your post's score too - note that in a few days it became your second most rated answer. \$\endgroup\$ – clabacchio Mar 26 '12 at 19:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ Two things: Your name still appears as the main author for that answer even though your photo is gone, and you can still get a "Good Answer" badge for the answer, even though you don't get rep points. So you still get "intellectual reputation" even if you don't get SE points. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Mar 27 '12 at 23:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ @thephoton: My name is there for now. I believe it will dissappear as others make more edits. Badges are pretty useless around here. I don't think they enhance your intellectual reputation much at all. \$\endgroup\$ – Olin Lathrop Mar 28 '12 at 23:55
  • \$\begingroup\$ @OlinLathrop, well, a silver badge and $2 is enough to buy a cup of coffee around here. \$\endgroup\$ – The Photon Mar 29 '12 at 1:17

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