Why is this locked? Should it be unlocked? There is no apparent reason or explanation for locking it.

SU: What are some “must have” Windows programs?

The fact that no new answers can be added sucks (see this before saying locking doesn't do that), and will decrease the usefulness of the question over time. (Aren't new Windows programs still being written and released, with some occasionally becoming popular?)

Yes, unlocking would mean 1) even more duplicate answers (slightly annoying, but those get voted down to the bottom quickly or deleted by observant posters after it's been pointed out), 2) the question might get closed and reopened occasionally, and 3) it might gather some more comments too. Still, all these are much lesser evils compared to stopping the community wiki from fully evolving and keeping up-to-date.

Disclaimer/rant: I know there is a sentiment among some against all these "must-have software" questions, or against CW polls with huge number of answers in general. But in the end of the day, doesn't it weigh more that the community overwhelmingly considers this question useful, as attested by its current score of +142 and 198 users having bookmarked it?

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migrated from meta.stackoverflow.com Jul 22 '10 at 18:02

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It's currently undergoing some much needed paring. –  random Mar 27 '10 at 17:43
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My biggest problem with the question is that it's scope is sooo broad it ranges from multimedia to desktop management to programming stuff. Furthermore, often the answers doesn't supply a reason why you should be using it, which makes some of the answers more like free ads than anything useful... –  Ivo Flipse Mar 29 '10 at 8:48

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Ultimately what should happen is that an answer should be created that is the sum total of everything that has been posted; and that answer should be marked as the Accepted answer. That way if someone has something new, they add it to the accepted answer, instead of having pages and pages of new answers.

Regarding @Jonik's "Mess" Comment:

Not true, take this for example. If people want to see votes, they can always link the answer in the compiled thread to its place on the thread, just so people can see the votes if they really want to. But if you're collecting information, it's superfluous.

Using the Stack Overflow engine for polls fails.

It shouldn't be used for Polls. Here's why:

  1. Anytime anyone votes for more than one (but not all) they skew the poll. "Your Favorite" implies they should vote for one, but that doesn't stop anyone from voting for more than one. The poll isn't accurate.

  2. Anytime anyone games the system by randomly voting up and down certain posts (for whatever reason), the voting is skewed. There's nothing in place to stop that from happening.

Bottom line: If you're using numbers next to a post to indicate worthiness, that's not as accurate as you may think. Not to mention: What if people are voting it up because it's already voted up? That's possible (Look at the FGITW syndrome).

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This is what community wiki was originally intended to be, but no one seems to like editing an existing response. I guess they are too wedded to seeing their own name next to a particular answer. –  Ether Mar 27 '10 at 18:50
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That way one would not be able to tell which is most popular. (But on the other hand: more recent answers probably have less votes than earlier answers, even if they would be more popular.) –  Arjan Mar 27 '10 at 19:05
    
Yes, for many questions that approach would arguably be the best. However, I'm convinced that for "polls" like the one in question (another example: stackoverflow.com/questions/38210/… & all other must-have SU questions) using separate answers and the voting system is a far better way to keep it organised & up-to-date. As Arjan pointed out, with single answer we'd end up it a huge semi-randomly ordered list, i.e. mess. –  Jonik Mar 27 '10 at 19:45
    
@Arjan, agreed. But about the second point: don't be so sure (that this is a problem). I've often seen recent answers (good ones, that is!) climb relatively quickly high up to the first page in these huge & long-lived SO/SU polls. (I can give examples if needed.) –  Jonik Mar 27 '10 at 19:55
    
@jonik Re: Mess: Not true, take this for example: stackoverflow.com/questions/391523/… Oh, and guess what? You can always link the answer in the compiled thread to its place on the thread, just so people can see the votes if they really want to. But if you're collecting information, it's superfluous. –  George Stocker Mar 28 '10 at 12:44
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@George: Ok, agreed, the result can be really useful if a good editor or few come by. (Creating a categorisation that actually works is often problematic though.) Still, the notion of popularity is (mostly) lost, and in polls such as the one I'm talking about, it's arguably the most important aspect. And even if you re-arranged such list manually to reflect changing scores (which would be silly), that wouldn't work for new entries, as new answers cannot be added if the question is locked (which is why I posted this meta question!). –  Jonik Mar 28 '10 at 13:17
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@George: Regarding your example: as useful as the compiled list is, it would be better if it somehow also directly showed which of e.g. the ~30 "Language Agnostic" books the community considers the most readworthy and which perhaps have just an upvote or two. I like separate answers & the voting system because that "automatically" provides a dynamic, up-to-date list. –  Jonik Mar 28 '10 at 13:32
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The problem with Polls Jonik is that it forces everyone to vote up their favorite. The first time someone votes up or down randomly or votes not according to your preconceptions, it screws up the poll. In fact, I do this from time to time, just because people somehow think that you can have a poll without system implemented rules and have it be accurate. –  George Stocker Mar 28 '10 at 16:28
    
Found a great example of a well-implemented poll on SF: serverfault.com/questions/3780/… It has a combined list which links to answers with more details. (Also pls note that it is not locked or closed :-P) –  Jonik Mar 29 '10 at 10:53
    
@George: Hmm, I don't understand your last point at all, especially that you try to screw up polls on purpose to prove something. Over time and with lots of users things will work ok, because most people do not want to game the system or screw it up. It's a form of en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Approval_voting (except not just one winner), and nobody is saying anything about accurate. –  Jonik Mar 29 '10 at 10:59

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