The key tasks of collaborative editing
Ryan says, “I believe that there are several different roles people must play in order for a seminar discussion to be productive. When you are collaborating in a team on a shared document, like notes for instance, there are also several distinct kinds of things you can do”:
- Add a thought, even a germ of an idea.
- Ask someone a question about what they said. Extend what someone wrote. Add details. Explain further. Add an example. (The number-one rule of collaborative editing is the same as in improv: “Yes, and.”)
- Find new scholarly and primary sources and add them to a shared bibliography.
- Link it to something new. (In the editing interface, you can use the link tool on the right-hand side of the page [or below in small screens] to insert a link to a page that does not exist yet.)
- Suggest a change by making a constructive comment or criticism.
- Do some clean-up, e.g. revise, proofread, add or correct citations to sources and add references, or move bits around for a better overall flow.
- Say thank you, pay a compliment, give a thumbs-up.
Let’s try to practice doing all these things when we work on a shared knowledge base for the class.
There are also some important things not to do:
- Copy from another source without attribution.
- Speak on behalf of someone else, instead of allowing that person to speak for themselves.
- Delete things without adding new things.
- Avoid taking risks; it’s ok to be wrong, and it’s ok to start with an undeveloped idea.
- Copy from these collaboratively-written documents without attribution.
- Let other people do everything.
And then there’s at least one thing that Ryan is not sure about right now:
- Can you say “I” in a collaboratively authored and edited document? When?