There have been a number of comments and edits to the question Is there anything I should know or consider before giving a pet as a gift? . It originated as a suggest by @JoshDM in chat a day or two before it was posted. We all seem to agree that it is important to have the answer here.

How to write the question, has been the subject of much debate. The question has been closed, reopened, edited several times and had the comments cleaned up.

The goal of the question is to provide the answer NO for anyone searching for any answers related to giving pets as gifts (children in your house excepted).

I expected the question to get many more negative votes then it did, which is why I volunteered to post it, the rep hit does not bother me at all, the only important thing is that the Q&A are out there and shows up well on search engines.

I believe that it can be converted to a community owned question, and I think at this point it should be. @JohnCavan has suggested in the currently existing comments that question be closed & locked (but left in place) via discussion here or in chat.

What should happen to this Question and Answer? I will propose 3 answers. Suggestions for changing question or answer should be posted as unique answers as well.

  • "I expected the question to get many more negative votes then it did, which is why I volunteered to post it, the rep hit does not bother me at all," Potential negative feedback isn't why I didn't post it; in fact, I think it should get a ton of positive rep as it's a GOOD (read: IMPORTANT), albeit "misguided" question. At the time I proposed it in chat, I wasn't certain how to go about the series of holiday/gift proposals, and I don't want to "plant" too many questions.
    – JoshDM
    Dec 2, 2013 at 17:43
  • Also, I had hoped we'd (as a community) discuss it a little more in-depth in chat before the question appeared; I probably should have reiterated my idea here as a meta question.
    – JoshDM
    Dec 2, 2013 at 17:46
  • We seem to be reaching towards a consensus on this...
    – Joanne C
    Dec 2, 2013 at 19:18
  • Can we include discussion on pets.stackexchange.com/questions/400/… and pets.stackexchange.com/questions/202/…?? perhaps
    – user87
    Dec 3, 2013 at 1:21
  • 1
    I locked and then unlocked because I think we need to give some time for engines like Google to pick it up. I'll give it a couple of days before I lock it again.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 3, 2013 at 3:08
  • 1
    Is there a badge for having the most edited question? Dec 3, 2013 at 11:38
  • Only if you're the editor, I think.
    – JoshDM
    Dec 3, 2013 at 18:59
  • @JohnCavan do you expect a difference in search engine behavior based based on the lock status of the question? Dec 5, 2013 at 11:28
  • Locking for historical takes it off the visible pages, so I'm concerned it won't get picked up.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 5, 2013 at 11:30
  • Then maybe we should not lock it, as the whole idea is to keep it visible. It seems to have stabilized now, and is acceptable as is. Dec 5, 2013 at 11:35
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    @JamesJenkins - The problem is, it should be locked by it's very nature. I think, though, that it can wait until after Christmas as it stands.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 5, 2013 at 14:04
  • 2
    Or I could take Tim's suggestion an leave it alone unless it becomes an issue...
    – Joanne C
    Dec 5, 2013 at 14:42

6 Answers 6


I disagree with the idea of making this a community wiki (which is what I presume you mean by making it community owned).

Community Wiki (CW) is really only for one thing: providing comprehensive canonical answers to some of the most frequently asked question for a site.

While I think the existing answer to this question is good, CW is a mechanism whereby comprehensive answers can be periodically updated, as needed, by the community.

This answer shouldn't need to be significantly updated, especially on a fairly regular basis.

Additionally, while I agree that it is an important question, I don't believe it will be frequently enough asked to merit special status. In all honesty, I believe it's being looked at as an important question merely because those of us who are long-term pet enthusiasts better understand the trouble, abuse, and hardship that can fall upon a pet that is given to someone as an unsolicited gift. While I certainly sympathize with this, I don't believe it deserves special protected status.

I'd say it is sufficient to lock the question for "historical significance".

  • I generally agree with you, but I think we will find that people ask about this at various time or, at the very least, are thinking about it and so search online for some info.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 2, 2013 at 14:09
  • I'm not saying people won't ask this question (or variations of it) or search for it; quite the opposite, in fact, since I'm advocating locking instead of closure (closed questions eventually get purged, iirc). However, I suspect it won't be all that frequent, and almost certainly not enough to justify community wiki.
    – Beofett
    Dec 2, 2013 at 14:21
  • 2
    Yes, I agree, community wiki isn't appropriate.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 2, 2013 at 14:36
  • If we lock it for historical significance, then the information is there for people searching, which is good, I think.
    – user53
    Dec 2, 2013 at 17:35
  • So I guess the long and the short of it is: we won't really know what is going to be appropriate for CW until we've been around for longer.
    – user87
    Dec 3, 2013 at 1:38
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    @Skippy Generally speaking, CW is an artifact of days past. There are very few good uses for it under the current understanding of what does and does not work within SE communities, and its entirely possible that we'll never have a real need for it.
    – Beofett
    Dec 3, 2013 at 2:25
  • @Beofett hm I am wondering if Stack Exchange should remove or limit the use of it
    – user87
    Dec 3, 2013 at 2:42
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    @Beofett asked this meta.stackexchange.com/questions/209683/…
    – user87
    Dec 3, 2013 at 3:12
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    I agree with everything but locking - don't solve problems that you don't yet have. If it starts attracting more (likely redundant) answers then fine, it can be locked - but there's simply no need to do that right now. In fact, there's no need to do much of anything right now - it's just a canonical question and answer that's not likely to ever change.
    – user105
    Dec 4, 2013 at 15:02
  • @TimPost I wasn't looking at the possibility of more answers being problematic, but rather it existing as a broken window, that might be cited as justification for other questions of "what is the best x". I see locking it as "historic" as being proactive, rather than solving problems that don't exist yet, but I take your point.
    – Beofett
    Dec 4, 2013 at 15:10
  • Note that per @JohnCavan comment below the question locking may negatively impact the questions search-ability. Dec 6, 2013 at 11:59
  • @JamesJenkins It looks like that is a valid concern.
    – Beofett
    Dec 6, 2013 at 13:16

Change the question to remove asking what is the "Best" pet to give and any other "BAD SUBJECTIVE" questions included.

The only question that needs to be asked is:

Is there anything I should know or consider before giving a pet as a gift?

Anything else confuses the question. If you want to discuss in the question that it was spurred from a discussion about what the best pet to gift is, etc I think that would be fine though I do not think it is needed.

  • This is exactly why I changed the title to "Should I give a pet as a gift to someone?" The counter was that the now-changed question would be less likely to appear on a relevancy search.
    – JoshDM
    Dec 2, 2013 at 22:19
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    Which is why I said that the sub questions could be included in the discussion of what spurred this question. Then the questions will still show up in the text search but not make the question a broken window.
    – user9
    Dec 2, 2013 at 22:42
  • I personally like Chad's title better than JoshDM's title. But I do wish people would discuss the changes and get some concensus before making them. The goal is to have a question that will attract hits on a search engine, not to fit everyones personal preference for style. Dec 3, 2013 at 12:56

Leave the Question as is, in its current state, and close or freeze it (independent of ownership). In a couple of weeks, see how it shows up on search engines. If needed, discuss options for optimizing the question in meta before making changes.

  • 4
    Bear in mind, it can be unlocked by a moderator if needed. That can be raised in meta as it arises.
    – Joanne C
    Dec 2, 2013 at 14:12

Leave the Answer as is, it provides the correct answer to the question, regardless of how the question is rephrased.


This answer only touches upon part of the concept of this question, as I see a valid issue arising from this.

In terms of editing questions that have up voted and/or accepted answers, we must be mindful not to edit the question to a point where the answer/s is/are then disjointed and not actually answering the question.

In this case, I am happy to edit the answer I posted to suit the communities' needs, but in most cases, it would not be appropriate to bring a question on the main site to meta and actually propose editing the question to a point of being too different.

I would suggest that if a question (with answers) requires too much editing to get it on topic, perhaps it is best left closed and another more suitable question posted.


Remove James Jenkins as the owner of the question and make it a community wiki question.

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