The case of What are good online dictionaries for translation between German and English? is either not clearly asked or tagged wrong:

The question itself asks for good online dictionaries but has , this contradicts in my oppinion.

Additionally the question is community-wiki, making it possible to edit any answer for anybody, but one answer (dict.leo.org) is marked as "right" alias "the one and only truth".

I think it would be better to

  • remove , it's a list, okay, but not for the sake of having as many answers as possible
  • the accepted mark should be removed until somebody syndicates all answers into one.
  • 1
    I want to add that I disagree in my answer below but that does not mean that it is impossible to change my mind or that I am unwilling to adapt to the views of the majority. I will wait a couple of days for reaction here before doing anything in the thread, though.
    – Phira
    Jun 4, 2011 at 11:52

3 Answers 3


It doesn't ask for the best, only good. Thus, multiple answers are possible. That said, "good" was a bad, subjective wording for that question and should be revised. It is a question, since it is essentially asking for a list of dictionaries.

I agree that community wiki questions should not have accepted answers, but the feature is there, so I suppose that there's a big meta.SO discussion about it somewhere.

  • yeah community wikis have a long tradition of debates. They are an add to the original Q&A engine because of some (the minority!) very valueable lists (like the list of recommended books on great software engineering). Because of misuse for things like "which programming language do you hate the most?" they were even locked out completly of user will and only available as a mod's tool. I tend to oppose usage of community wikis. In this case I see the benefits, but then It should be used as a wiki and not as an Q&A tool anymore. Hence no "right" answer. Jun 4, 2011 at 9:20

Ok, as the author of the question I will explain my motivation:

  • big-list

I would use "big-list" for any question that actually asks for several answers. I feel that "little lists" are an automatic result of questions that ask for a single answer, anyway.

Note that the point of big-list is that people who think that list questions are counter to the idea of Stackexchange can ignore it. So it should be used on any question that runs counter to the "single answer"-rule. It does not indicate that I want "as many answers as possible".

  • good dictionary

I don't think that this is too subjective for dictionaries.

It is quite obvious that one wants no errors, comprehensiveness and additional features like pronunciation, conjugation or dialects. It is exactly the presence of the extra features that makes this a list question in the first place.

  • accepted answer

Well, yes, I could have accepted my own answer with the Austrian dialect site and pulled it to the top, but this is a critique on the software and not on the fact that I accepted the highest-voted answer. And I can accept strange answers on non-CW questions as well and pull them to the top. (And BTW, the critique on the software will lead nowhere because they will hardly change it for the few CW questions.)

The way the software is implemented does not just make it possible to accept an answer, it has consequences not to accept an answer: It will make the question float to the front page again and again.

I have to say that I do not understand that "people will not read on if there is an accepted answer"-issue. Well, if they are searching for a dialect dictionary, it is their own fault if they don't read on after LEO. And if they are just searching for a dictionary the accepted and the second-voted answers are just fine.

In addition, accepted answers can be switched, so this does not mean that you or I now write the cool summary answer and it will always stay below the accepted answer. You can even copy it into the accepted answer if you don't trust me to switch my accepted vote, but this would be ridiculous at the moment.

  • hint before I read through it: big-list will show the tag symbol Jun 4, 2011 at 9:57
  • 1) big-lists usually refer to real big lists, those with tens of pages, was this really your goal or did you want to have a list? big-list opens up for as much posts as possible and contradicts 2; 2) good quality in a mass is hard to have ;) 3) The highest voted question on SO, with nearly double the votes of the second and currently 269 answers remains until today unresolved .. Can there be a better example of how to do it? Jun 4, 2011 at 10:05
  • @Samuel If the goal is to collect votes, then yes, it is a good idea not to accept an answer to let the question float to the top all the time. I do not see this as a goal.
    – Phira
    Jun 4, 2011 at 10:20
  • @Samuel I think that you are wrong to compare this to SO, the traffic is not comparable, and in particular, you did not offer an alternative tag that can be ignored by people who don't want to see lists.
    – Phira
    Jun 4, 2011 at 10:22
  • @thei community wiki is meant to be reedited by the community for a long time. So of course this is a goal. If a source begins lacking (e.g. LEO gehts bought by Microsoft and they integrate it in Skype and you have to dial to them to get an answer than you need to have people active enough to downvote or delete it. If I remember it correctly cw was originally meant for long existing posts so community could take over ownership after people left the platform or lost interest in their answer. Jun 4, 2011 at 10:23
  • @Samuel: I really don't get it. Why don't you just write a good summary post and ask me to switch my accept vote to it instead of complaining about it?
    – Phira
    Jun 4, 2011 at 10:29
  • @thei Because somebody would need to take care of the accepted post. Instead let the flow of the community decide whats on top. Thats everything I want you to understand as a possibility we should discuss about. Jun 4, 2011 at 10:32

Big-list questions always have been a problem in all Stack Exchange sites. As the lists grow there is more and more clutter and reading becomes increasingly time consuming if impossible.

There is no way other than making these question community wiki or close them.

The question in your example however is a question that is needed for reference. Over time the "best" question will evolve from community votes. That is a very precise and democratic process. If an answer is marked accepted or not to my opinion plays a minor role in the face of votes.

The advantage of a community wiki is that we all can improve questions and answers thus making them really good. If you feel that tags are inappropriate just discuss this here and re-tag the question. This is what community wiki is all about.

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    I fear people will stop reading downwards and voting if there is an answer marked correct. That's why I'm opposing using this. Jun 4, 2011 at 9:21
  • 1
    Also, it isn't really a community wiki if one user has a super vote that pulls any answer to the top.
    – Tim
    Jun 4, 2011 at 9:24
  • @Tim N: See my answer: You are complaining that community wikis are not really community wikis on stackexchange. This is not really an issue for meta.german, much less for this particular question.
    – Phira
    Jun 4, 2011 at 10:01
  • 1
    I do feel that it is a good idea to discuss this before changing tags, though.
    – Phira
    Jun 4, 2011 at 10:02

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