(This is unrelated to my ongoing Thing about community wiki for subjective questions. I promise!)

Specifically, I'm talking about What tools are available for RAW image processing in Linux?. I went to update this with the news that Bibble is no more (although some future product from Corel will include the technology and they say it will support Linux, having been down that road with Corel I am not holding my breath).

I found that there's three different CW answers which mention bibble, two of which also talk about Lightzone — a program which abruptly vanished in September 2011 — and a third which says "another vote for bibble". The top answer, which points to Rawtherapee, was updated by its original author in March of this year, but is now out of date. The other answers about other software aren't in much better shape.

In short, this question is not making the internet better. It's making the internet worse, because one gets better results with a Google search for "Linux RAW" (and that's not saying much, because the top hit is unrelated to photography and the second goes to a dead wikidot site).

I don't think this kind of resource is necessarily bad to have on the site, if it would work. But it only works if the answers follow the right discipline (no personal opinion, one item per answer), and there's no software or mechanical discipline to either encourage or enforce that.

So, the question is, basically: Gahhhhh.

  • I'm unclear how information being out of date is a problem specific to community wiki Qs? – rfusca Jan 7 '12 at 3:07
  • It isn't unique that information gets out of date, although arguably the kinds of topics like lists of blogs, books, and software are particularly prone to going out of date in a way that a question about, say, shutter speed will not. But... – mattdm Jan 7 '12 at 3:18
  • ...beyond that, it's hard to update these in a coherent way, when the existing answers are all over the place. Unlike a real wiki page, one can change the answers but not actually do anything about the structure. (If Wikipedia had a list of Linux RAW software and it was all wrong, I could rewrite and reorganize the whole thing.) Here, that can't be done, because there's existing entries with votes already. – mattdm Jan 7 '12 at 3:18
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    So, I edited the answers to the specific question which prompted the complaint. But if you look, you can see that it's still really a big mess. – mattdm Jan 11 '12 at 0:16

They are community wikis, so there is nothing to stop answers being edited (and no affect on reputation either) -- perhaps it would've been better to edit these back "long ago" to remove bits like the "another vote for...".

Similarly, answers could be updated to reflect when products are bought out/discontinued/etc.

Of course, there is the option to which you allude, of closing the question altogether (perhaps as "not constructive", as it "will likely solicit opinion, debate, arguments, polling, or extended discussion.").

There are some well thought out responses about how to make questions more specific, where people would rather keep the question open. The StackExchange system works best when there is a "right" answer, and as Lynda notes, struggles when you want to accept multiple answers; perhaps as a community, we could be doing more (including editing others' questions) to encourage less open ended debate (after all, we have a chat room for that)

  • I think in general, the community has gotten better about not doing CW. Most of our CW Q's are older now. – rfusca Jan 7 '12 at 23:41

This might be a separate question, but what's the best way to deal with an answer which was appropriate at the time but is now just plain wrong (references a product that doesn't exist, is now technically incorrect, etc).

Should we simply delete the answer? Leave it in place but replace the text with something like "Answer text deleted because it is no longer factually correct"? Leave the text in place and simply add a line at the top of the answer that it's no longer correct?

  • It might be a separate question, but my answer here could still apply -- edit the answer is possible, or add a comment and vote for deletion – Rowland Shaw Jan 9 '12 at 13:42

One approach is to start from a clean slate. Can we delete the answers to this question (to reset the votes), and edit the question itself to carefully ask for only one answer per post? That will not solve the problem of maintenance, and while there's no enforcement or incentive, there's at least a hope of it staying manageable this time around.

I'm not necessarily voting for this suggestion, but if a mod wants to do this, I'll be happy to create community wiki answers replacing all the existing information with at-least-as-good single-product answers.

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    If we're going to do that, why not ask a new question and close the original as a duplicate? We don't lose any of the history of the question, but anyone finding their way to the original question will get a link to the hopefully-up-to-date question. – user2910 Jan 8 '12 at 20:41
  • @drewbenn: sure, that'd work. – mattdm Jan 8 '12 at 20:47

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