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Essential Editing Tips

by admin last modified Jul 09, 2011 07:23 PM
Some important special features of editing in this shared space.

Authority to view

In fact, not everyone has the authority to view everything! Access to some things on the site is reserved to members, so that we can share sensitive information like contact information without having to worry about it being abused by miscreants like spammers and worse. For almost all documents we use the model of combination public/private internet, where documents are published for public view or for internal view. When logged-in, you can see the publication State to the upper right side of the content area, typically one of two states:

  • Internally Published - documents accessible only to members
  • Externally Visible - documents visible to all visitors

Internally Published documents effectively do not exist for visitors that are not logged in. The don't show in any site navigation, they don't show up in searches, etc. If you use the links to those documents will show up, but attempts to follow those links will lead to a prompt for login.

(Since this Guides section is particularly aimed at member-oriented activities, the containing folder is in the Internally Published state, so it doesn't clutter the main navigation bar for non-member visitors. The individual sections and pages are Externally Visible, though, so they can be linked and searched for everyone to find.)

Since editing a document almost always requires being logged in, it can be hard to notice when a document you intend for access by everyone is restricted only to logged-in members (ie, Internally Published). So it's important to double check the publication status of any document you've edited, to be sure it has the visibility you intend.

Authority to Edit

Most things are editable by organizers, and some things are editable by members. Members have personal folders where they can add stuff for sharing with others. Editing is not the only way to contribute to documentation on the site - many documents allow commenting, at the bottom, where logged-in members can leave notes with feedback, questions, etc.

Find tips for actually editing documents with the on-site visual editor in several of the subsequent guide documents in this section.

Automatic "Locking"

When you hit the Edit tab to start editing the system notes it, and will warn anyone else trying to edit the same document until you finally Save or Cancel your editing session. The warning is actually a refusal with an offer to override your "Lock", at which point they can edit, potentially conflicting with your edits. If you elect to edit a document and then choose to abandon your edits, make sure to Cancel rather than just navigating to another page, so the lock is released and others wanting to edit the page are not deterred. (Locks time out after some duration, on the order of a day or two.)

See Page Drafts and Versions for more info.

Editing Checkout

The system provides the means to have a long-term editing session going on while the version of the document as it was before the session started remains visible to visitors. This is done via Checkout/Checkin options in the Actions menu for many documents.

When you Checkout a document a separate copy is created for you to edit, and other editors visiting the document are informed about this situation, so they can contact you if they need to edit, or, as with locking, checkout their own version anyway.

Once you're done you Checkin your edited version, and it replaces the original document, releasing your changes to the world.

See Page Drafts and Versions for more info.

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