I've heard of community wiki posts on Ask Ubuntu, but there seems to be something else called the community wiki, the community help wiki, or Ubuntu community wiki.

This is confusing. What's the difference?

This is related to Why do some questions have "community wiki" over the user's name?. (Please read that!) But this is different.
This question is specifically to address some confusion I've seen over the past few weeks about CW posts and Ubuntu docs.

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"Community wiki" posts on Ask Ubuntu are completely unrelated to the coincidentally named Ubuntu community help wiki. This is sometimes a source of confusion.

"Community Wiki" Posts Here

Community wiki posts on Stack Exchange sites (including Ask Ubuntu) are a special kind of post where:

  • They belong more to the whole community, than to any individual author.
  • More easily edited: Only 100 reputation is required to edit it without approval.
  • Authors don't gain or lose any reputation (since they don't really "own" the post in the usual way).

For more information, see:

How to Tell If a Post Is Community Wiki

The bottom of a normal (non-CW) post looks like:

bottom of a non-CW post showing one author

Or if the non-CW post was last edited by someone other than its original author, it looks like this:

bottom of a non-CW post showing two authors

This appears under a community wiki (CW) post, instead:

bottom of a CW post

The CW post de-emphasizes its authors (as it is more owned by the whole community, see above), and says community wiki.

The Ubuntu Community Help/Documentation Wiki

There are two wikis on Ubuntu.com:

The latter is often called:

  • [Ubuntu] community documentation wiki
  • [Ubuntu] community help wiki
  • [Ubuntu] community wiki
  • [Ubuntu] community documentation
  • [Ubuntu] help wiki
  • [Ubuntu] community docs
  • UserDocumentation (rarely used in prose — this is its main page's wikified title)

(Where [Ubuntu] is sometimes included and other times omitted.)

While none of those names for it are wrong, I recommend avoiding calling it anything with "community wiki" in its name (without any intermediate words between them).

Ask Ubuntu and the Help Wiki: Similarities and Differences

While CW posts on Ask Ubuntu are unrelated to the Ubuntu community help wiki, the commmunity help wiki does overlap Ask Ubuntu as a whole, in purpose.

Ask Ubuntu is a wiki--not just the community wiki posts, but everything.

The community help wiki also exists to provide reusable documentation about Ubuntu. However, it is more of a classic wiki. It consists of traditional-style articles on topics within Ubuntu, rather than questions and answers.

Sharing Content

User-contributed content on Ask Ubuntu is published under the CC-BY-SA 3.0 license (full legal code).

This is true of user-contributed content on other Stack Exchange sites too.

Both wiki.ubuntu.com and the Ubuntu community documentation wiki (i.e., the help wiki) are licensed CC-BY-SA 3.0 as well.

This means that with proper attribution, content from any of these sources may be reused in the others. See the Ubuntu wikis' attribution requirements, as well as those for Stack Exchange sites.

  • CC-BY-SA 3.0 gives substantial (albeit limited) power to authors to dictate how their content should be cited when republished or integrated into another work, and it is important to abide by the license terms.
  • It's a good idea to take a look at the actual license, especially if you're unsure of anything, and to err on the side of making it perfectly clear what sources you've used, who wrote them, and where they can be found.
  • By the way, I'm not a laywer, and nothing in this post is legal advice!

A (mostly) free (as in freedom) operating system deserves free documentation, and Ubuntu has it. The official, Canonical Ltd. endorsed documentation is also (unless indicated otherwise) licensed CC-BY-SA 3.0.

However, not all Ubuntu resources are necessarily licensed so as to allow content to be taken from or integrated into Ask Ubuntu questions and answers.

For example, the "Ubuntu Guide" is offered under a different Creative Commons license (CC-NC-SA 3.0), which does not allow commerical redistribution. Since CC-BY-SA 3.0 does allow this, without permission from the author(s), CC-BY-SA content may not relicensed CC-NC-SA, nor CC-NC-SA content relicensed CC-BY-SA.

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