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December 21, 2017

The Perils of Real-Time Collaboration

Filed under: Main — Tags: — admin @ 12:01 am

Online collaboration is a new feature in Microsoft Word, so new that it really doesn’t work yet. While Microsoft is trying, Google has done it properly with their Google Docs. The problem, of course, is that your collaborators may dive in and offer suggestions when you’re not quite ready.

For example, I create a document and begin to add some text. It’s a draft, of course, but it’s something sitting there ready for later, when I have time to work on it.

Along comes a collaborator and, feeling excited because some material is available, they dive in and critique the document as if it’s production-ready. At that point, I have to wade through the irrelevant comments and explain that, “it’s just a draft.” They immediately understand, of course, and back off until I’m ready.

As much as I enjoy grousing about this situation (and it happens frequently), I offer a suggestion:

Draft Mode

I wish the developer offered some way to keep a document shared, but yet hide it from others while I’m working on it. I call it Draft Mode, though it could be a “hide from view mode” or a “shy mode” or something similar. Allow me, as a content creator, the capability to work on a document, edit, re-write, mangle, adjust, and hone without a pop-up alert to all collaborators while I’m doing so.

Then, when I’m ready, I can pull back the curtain and let everyone have a dive at it. Until then, however, and as cool as online collaboration can be, a bit of respite and a warm cup of brew are all I want while I work on a shared document.

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