Locked Content & Trusted Revisions

    General discussion

  • There have been some calls for TechNet Wiki to 'lock' certain content from being edited.

    This is generally being asked for 'official' or 'supported' content not to be edited, which could cause it to lose its accuracy. For example, a product group within Microsoft could post white papers, instructions, documentation, and various other hints and tips on the wiki; but they would be locked to prevent them being changed by anyone unofficial.

    The suggestion is not to prevent users from editing existing wiki content, nor would it prevent users from creating similar user-created content. It would mean incorporating other types of page into the wiki, to keep it within the same navigation structure, as part of this wiki, but not let those articles be edited.

    The benefits of this are that and are that the product teams would be more willing to contribute content to the wiki instead of other locations, so it puts a lot of great content on this wiki. It also aims to maintain the accuracy of this content, whilst providing some opportunity for suggesting improvements or alternative articles or versions.

    The arguments against locking are that it defeats the purpose of having a wiki if people can't edit it - and that official uneditable content should be somewhere else (such as TechNet, MSDN, blogs etc). The question is whether having locked content in addition to normal wiki pages would affect the mission and reduce the trust/confidence of the readership. It is worth noting that currently no wiki content is officially supported by Microsoft, and this would be unlikely to change - the content would have to be on an official site for this, so why lock it if unofficial edits won't affect supportability?

    Alternative suggestions include that certain trusted people could 'approve' or 'certify' a version/revision of an article as 'working' or 'tested'. The article could continue to be edited, but only that historical version would be shown as approved. Ideally, the article would have a link to "show approved versions" - which could just link to the page history with badges next to certified versions.

    The suggestions so far are as follows:
    1. Allow product teams to add official content to the wiki but this would be locked and not editable by wiki users. Wiki users could create a parallel article (based on the original) that they edit and improve.
    2. Allow product teams to mark certain versions of articles as 'trusted', 'tested' or 'approved', which have a badge to show they are approved. Whilst anyone can edit them, only the approved revision would have the badge.
    3. Allow product teams to 'certify' or 'approve' certain versions of articles, which then take precedence over later revisions. The latest certified version of the page is shown, but editors can continue to edit and hope that a later version is certified and takes over.
    4. Allow teams of trusted users to 'patrol' every edit, removing any obvious vandalism but not vouching for the accuracy of content
    5. Allow any user to flag the contents of an article/revision as 'not working', so that other users know to think carefully before attempting the instructions
    6. Allow any user to vote articles/revisions as 'works for me' or 'didn't work for me', producing a score such as "This works for 95% of voters"
    7. In addition to some of the above, allow comments on versions to explain what does/doesn't work
    8. Don't allow any locked content, and just link to official blocks, knowledgebase articles etc to validate as much of the wiki content as possible.

    This is an important decision for TechNet Wiki and the Community Council, and it is only one we will make when the community has had input and ideally a consensus or compromise has been reached.  It is not the goal of the Council to prescribe rules, but to implement the reasonable will of the community wherever possible.
    Saturday, May 22, 2010 11:09 AM

All replies

  • I would much rather like something that doesn't block user contribution to the page.  Perhaps something that either accepts modifications, but requires a moderator to merge them into the article, or a way to mark a certain revision of an article as "approved", while allowing subsequent versions to also exist so that a reader can read both the approved version and any additional modifications that haven't been accepted as "approved".
    Friday, June 25, 2010 6:49 PM