I don't know if it is the new breed of users flowing into SuperUser (I haven't done comparisons yet between the sites), or I'm just clicking into the wrong questions, but it seems to me that an abnormally large amount of questions on Super User tend to get flagged as Wiki questions straight off the bat, or are immediately asked to turn to wiki questions because there is a shred of subjectivity in them.

To me this seems to go a bit against the model of what SuperUser was for. I was always under the impression that SuperUser was going to be the site where I could gain oodles of rep for my silly wallpaper of VeggieTales or for mentioning in passing that Peggle was the best iPod Touch game EVER. Having a large volume of wiki questions makes me a Sad Panda.

I'm fully aware that the community decides how everything works, but I just want to see what folks are thinking about SuperUser and if it is fitting with the model of SO and SF?

  • 1
    Sad Panda eh? I guess I'll go with that. I'm not trying to rant, just being a concerned netizen. 8^D
    – Dillie-O
    Jul 23, 2009 at 16:00
  • 1
    why isn't this question a wiki?
    – Jonathan C Dickinson
    Jul 23, 2009 at 17:22
  • 2
    I wish I could +1 an edit. Well played.
    – Eric
    Jul 23, 2009 at 18:36
  • I have been thinking of just writing a sister crapoverflow.com site, for all your polling needs where the only questions allowed are polls.
    – waffles
    Jul 27, 2009 at 8:28

5 Answers 5


I think SU opened up with a lot of "Must Have" and "Best Of" posts to get it populated by the lovely beta users. Remember that these users came from SO and SF, and are very much used to the poll questions being Wikis (as they should be). However, I expect to see more of the, "My bloody computer doesn't know how to stand by, wtf?" questions as the site grows out.

SU was never meant to be (and shouldn't be) a computer-related discussion site. At its heart, it's still Q&A. This engine just doesn't do discussion very well, but it does do Q&A remarkably.

  • 4
    I agree. People wanted to try it out but couldn't think of any actual problems they were having, so they came up with wiki questions. Also, all of those wiki questions are inevitable, so I'm sure many users thought to get them away or get the rep/badges before someone else did.
    – theycallmemorty
    Jul 23, 2009 at 15:49

asked to turn to wiki questions because there is a shred of subjectivity in them

Maybe its just me, but I consider "Best of" "Must have" type of questions to have just a bit more than a shred of subjectivity in them. Folks asking questions about posting wall papers and other things have more than a shred of subjectivity...

The reality is that unless the question is targeted towards getting a single best answer, it probably belongs a CW and treated like a poll. Take the iPhone must have apps question as an example... That seems to make perfect us of CW.

Take this question for example, is it possible that there is more than one right answer, sure... Is it fair to say there is subjectivity to it, sure... Should this be CW? NO.

The reality is that SU is a place for questions related to computers. If you compare what related to computers means to related to programming on SO, obviously questions on programmer jokes and programming careers seem to be OK, so shouldn't those questions on computers be OK as well? SO is no longer just for how do I solve X with this code block, and the other sites are following in the SO footsteps.


I think the fact that there is already a fairly sizable outrage over the numerous CW-style posts on SuperUser gives a good indicator of how the community is going to react to these questions when they start getting the rep to actually vote to close.

I have been pretty lenient as far as what is allowed and what isn't and there have only been several instances where things are just outright not allowed (like questions relating specifically to games) because Jeff's original vision was for something more open-ended than the other sites.

I've given my own opinions on what I like and what I would like to see SuperUser grow into on some other questions and answers and they all appear to have gotten very good community response judging by the votes.

All I can say is that if you find something in there that needs to be CW or needs to be gone, or whatever, make sure you flag it or send me an email (my contact details are located on my SuperUser profile) or get in touch with me some other way and I can make every attempt to clean it up if it is deemed necessary.

  • 1
    I'm glad that you are a mod on the site. You seem to be doing a good job...
    – Chester
    Jul 23, 2009 at 15:54

Even I, the anti-community-wiki-police person, think that SU has attracted all the worst questions.

But maybe thats it's place in the universe.

  • I was hoping for more like "I can't find an application do to X." questions and "If I do Y, my computer does Z. How do I fix it?" questions. The questions there...well...suck.
    – Thomas Owens
    Jul 23, 2009 at 15:43
  • Yes, I completely agree with you, hopefully more users and more time will improve things, though it'll take a lot of handholding and monitoring to get there.
    – Lance Roberts
    Jul 23, 2009 at 15:46
  • Questions are starting to improve little by little. However, last I looked at the 'newest' questions view, there were at least 2 on "new features of Windows 7" topics.
    – jtimberman
    Jul 29, 2009 at 9:32

I am under the impression that on SU we at the moment have mostly people coming from SO, some from SF. They are professionals with little questions like "I don't know how to do that..." that would not belong on either SO or SF. And they are experienced with SO and SF, having a model for wiki in their head that for SU is highly influenced by and only little loosened from their home trilogy page.

I do expect that when "real users" become the majority on SU, the type of questions will change as well as the policies. Because then the superuser community will "police" and form the site. So far I do think that we are doing what we often do: we pros (professional programmers and IT technicians) tell the users what's right and appropriate.

  • Very simple, yet excellent explanation and observation IMO. +1
    – kastermester
    Jul 27, 2009 at 9:09

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