The first question many ask is: “how do I prevent unwanted edits?” The answer is to use SharePoint’s built-in security to control who may create, edit and view wiki pages. Because a SharePoint wiki is simply a special-purpose document library, you can use the same library and item-level permissions that apply to any list. You may want to add a new permission level to allow some users to edit existing pages but not create new ones (more on this later), but otherwise you’ll use the out-of-the-box permissions.

Another built-in SharePoint feature is content approval. You can use this feature to have SharePoint notify an approver when new or edited content is submitted and require an approval prior to making the content generally available. For example, a senior partner with expertise in mergers and acquisitions might have responsibility for reviewing and approving edits to that area of the wiki.

Each version of a wiki page is automatically retained and may be reviewed and compared to its predecessors. It is a simple matter to restore an earlier version of a page if errors are discovered in a later version.

Alerts are another tool in your content control arsenal. Any wiki user may request an alert at the wiki or page level. Some may use this feature simply to be notified of new and potentially interesting content. Others may use alerts to warn them that new content needs review. Using alerts in this way is appropriate if you assume that most edits are valid, and it’s acceptable for potentially erroneous content to be made generally available prior to editorial review.

STRUCTURE FROM CHAOS

There are a range of options for controlling structure within a SharePoint wiki, such as:

  • limit the ability to create new pages;
  • limit the ability to edit existing pages;
  • combine wiki pages with reference materials (e.g., an exemplar document library

Limit the ability to create new pages

There may be situations where the structure of the wiki, as defined by a collection of topic pages, needs to be tightly controlled. For example, a partner may wish to define the topic areas a wiki will cover, and then have associates flesh out the corresponding pages. Although SharePoint does not ship with a permission level that allows for the editing of existing pages without the ability to create new pages, one can easily be added. To do so you must have administrative privileges, or obtain the assistance of someone who does. Here are the steps:

  1. Log on with an administrative account.
  2. From your wiki choose the “Site Actions > Site Settings” menu option.
  3. On the site collections page click on the “Go to top level site settings” option under the “Site Collection Administration” heading.
  4. Click on the “Advanced permissions” option under the “Users and Permissions” heading.
  5. Choose the “Settings > Permission Levels” menu option.
  6. Click on the “Contribute” permission level link.
  7. Scroll to the bottom of the page, and then click on the “Copy Permission Level” button.
  8. Give your new permission level a name such as “Contribute to existing pages.”
  9. Deselect the “Add Items” and “Delete Items” List Permission settings.
  10. Click the “Submit” button to save your new permission level.

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