I recently asked a question about the most productivity-enhancing keyboard shortcuts, which has elicited two totally different types of answers:

  • the first type are meta responses that point out the most useful shortcuts are the ones you use and recommend tools to help define them; these seem like classic SE answers, worth of reputation gained--and I'll probably accept one of these answers.
  • the second type lists common bindings and what they do, which seem like canonical community wiki material (and indeed I've already marked my own answer type-2 answer as a wiki).

Would it be appropriate to aggregate and combine all of the type-2, recommended binding answers into a single community wiki that would serve as a reference for people interested in increasing their productivity through learning standard shortcuts? (And leaving all type-1 answers as non-wiki, stand-alone answers.)

Makes sense to wiki it. – Jeanne Boyarsky Jul 26 '11 at 1:15
i thought you can only search for community-wiki tagged questionsl Cann you also search for tagged answers? How? When should i make my answer community-wiki? Looks very arbitrary to me, either you make the whole question CW or not? I thought this was/is the rule on other SE sites? – Hauser Jul 27 '11 at 11:18
@Jeanne: It does not make sense to wiki it; read my answer below to see why... – Tom Wijsman Aug 20 '11 at 16:57
up vote 4 down vote accepted

Community Wiki isn't meant to save questions that turned out of hand, let's get back to the roots...

Is that question constructive?

There is no point in turning something in a community wiki if it's not constructive in the first place.

What keyboard shortcuts provide the biggest productivity boost?

This is literally asking for keyboard shortcuts, which can be find wild-spread over the internet. While I do agree that there is an outstanding answer on AutoHotkey; there isn't really a way to determine whether some keyboard shortcuts provide a bigger productivity boost than others. Even better, this depends on the work that you do; you can imagine that in Excel other keyboard shortcuts can make you more productive than the once you use in word...

Hence, this question is not constructive; it is too simple in terms of finding them as a general reference and it is bad subjective in terms of determining what keyboard shortcuts provide a bigger productivity boost.

Can that question be made constructive?

You seem to have gotten two types of answers; of which, interestingly, the other types of answers (of which you accepted one) are constructive. I would thus suggest you to reshape your question to those answers for it to remain open, which shouldn't be very hard to do:

How do I get more productive from using keyboard shortcuts?

There are a lot of keyboard shortcuts available nowadays. How do I determine which ones are the most productive? So, that I could focus on using them more. How can I replace frequently used actions by keyboard shortcuts so that I can perform them more quickly?

This question has multiple benefits:

  • It's constructive, you won't get a canonical list of shortcuts you can obtain elsewhere.

  • It actually boosts your productivity, as you get more useful information out of it.

  • There isn't any subjectivity; you learn to objectively determine which ones make you the most productive, and you will get to learn how to get things that aren't accessible through a keyboard shortcut to be accessible to a keyboard shortcut.

  • You will get quality instead of quantity; answers that are clear, to the point and useful!

Does that question still have to be made community wiki?

Let me quote Jeff Atwood whom has quoted Grace Note:

Most of the time, you should be asking yourself “How can I improve this post so that community wiki isn’t needed?” Community wiki is like a cheese knife: it is a specialized tool to be used sparingly, and only in very specific circumstances.

Is the resulting question still a specific circumstance that requires Community Wiki? It doesn't seem so.

Remember, as Robert Cartaino often notes; we get the community we shape. Do we want a community filled with community wikis that contain canonical answers that do not make us productive; or do we want a community filled with quality questions and answers which do help make us productive?


We have provided some additional guidance at the blog:


TL;DR version

Most of the time, you should be asking yourself “How can I improve this post so that community wiki isn’t needed?” Community wiki is like a cheese knife: it is a specialized tool to be used sparingly, and only in very specific circumstances.


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