Gray site concept, helps the organization keep content updated!

What is more irritating then open a page or a site in the intranet and notice that the content is over 2 years old. This is a very common problem with intranet and webs but no one seems to take any action to solve the problem.
 I have seen real examples when decisions have been taken on information that where expired long ago. It can be considerable effects of that; customers could get wrong advices and in a medical business that I worked in, this just can’t happen. Patients could get the wrong treatments or worth, they could die!

In 2010 I was working on a concept to help content owners and editors to manage there content and in the same time help the readers by making sure that what they read is updated and can be trusted.

I call this solution “gray site concept” and I will tell you how it works and where it gained its name.

First of, this solution was made for SharePoint 2007, please have that in mind.

The content owners and editors don’t go looking for information that needs to be updated. Usually someone else in the organization sees the expired information and calls on the owners/editor and asks for updated information. But this is just in some rare occasions; normally no one notify the content owners.

So what I decide was to make a feature that reminds the owners and editors that their content needs to be updated. Normally that might not help either be cuss the notice e-mail will get lost in the inbox with all other 200 unread e-mails.

But I started with making a rule; all content needed at last two owners and one editor. The owners are the people in the SharePoint owners group and the editor is the person that last updated the content.

When the editor added or updated any content or pages they needed to choose a review day. In my case I had 3 month or 6 month. When the content came close to (a month from) the 3 or 6 month then the content owners and editor got an e-mail notice that the content needed review. A review is as easy as just go to the page and click publish again. My belief where that if they got to the page, then they done “half” of the job. Same e-mail notice went out when 2 weeks where left if no one had reviewed.

But not only an e-mail would be enough. I made a small panel in the header that showed a red icon with a number on it. The number representing how many pages/doc’s there was to review. Clicking on the red icon opened a dialog with URL’s to all pages.

But I didn’t stop there, I know we are lazy and stressed and need something more to do our job. So I created a gray site concept.

If the owners and the editor didn’t review the content before it expired then the page went gray (in my case white) so that the content couldn’t be read (just the content aria). On top of that I added the Owners and the editors picture and contact details. The heading on the page was “The page content has not been reviewed and is treated as expired”.

Content creation date and expire date was also part of the gray site as well as a small text that told the readers to contact the owners and editors to have the content updated.

Drastic as it sound, I hanged out the content owners and editors that didn’t do their job. If this is right or wrong in your organization I cant tell, but corporate communications and HR approved this where I where.

But you can be sure of one thing, no one want to stand out, not doing their job correctly.




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