Potential Problems in Developing a Content Management Glossary
Problems in search of resolutions…
The Wikipedia Problem
How do we reconcile our glossary with all the existing content/definitions on the web? What do we do when Wikipedia, for instance, contains a perfectly good explanation for a term/concept that we cannot improve or expand upon?
The Dissent Problem
What do we do when there is legitimate, solid disagreement over the usage of a term in the industry? What about edge cases, where a small (but statistically significant) group uses a different definition? Do we provide multiple definitions? What about terms that have become “loaded” by a particular vendor (“taxonomy” by Drupal, for instance).
The Nomenclature Problem
What do we do when there are multiple names for the same concept among both vendors and implementors? Do we attempt to establish an accepted name?
The POV Problem
Do we ever refer to the creators of the glossary as “we”? Do we ever express an opinion and qualify it with a POV? “We feel that…” Do the authors of the glossary have a voice?
The Turtle Problem
How far “backwards” do we define terms? What happens when, in the process of defining a term, we determine that the definition has given birth to X other terms that must now be defined? For those, how do we determine which merit inclusion in this glossary, which are adequately defined elsewhere (do we link/refer to these definitions), and which we should just assume the visitor understands?
The Discipline Boundary Problem
How do we avoid drifting across discipline boundaries into terms that are not content management-specific? How do we avoid drifting into information architecture, content strategy, or general development terms?
The Gatekeeper Problem
How do we decide what terms to include? By what process does a term become selected for definition? Do we only define transcendent, conceptual terms (“content”), or do we define functional, colloquial terms (“COPE”) as well?
The Internal Debate Problem
How do we manage the debate among members of the term over the initial definition of a term (prior to even a rough/first draft)? How do we determine when this debate is completed? How do we determine when this debate has become unproductive and should end? Who arbitrates this debate and makes the final decision?
The Transparency Problem
To what level is internal team debate and project governance open to the public? How far can the public “lift the curtain”?
The Bias Problem
How do we ensure that term inclusion and definition suffer no bias among the different flavors of content management? (Specifically WCM bias.)
The Logistical/Process/Collaboration Problem
How do we manage the editorial/logistical/lifecycle problem of a term definition. How does it move from submission –> selection –> definition –> approval —> publishing? What is the lifecycle for term definition?
The Governance Problem
What governance structures do we set up to manage the process? Who is in charge, and what reporting lines exist?
The Structure Problem
How is a definition structured? Just a narrative? An “other names” section? Related terms? Attribution? Do we need to wireframe a definition?
The Conceptual Problem
How do we avoid getting bogged down in concepts and instruction, rather than simple term definition?
The Tone/Syntax Problem
How do we ensure a consistent tone and syntax among entries?
The Authoritative Editor Problem
Do we have an overall editor? Who has final approval over each entry?
The Attribution Problem
How do we attribute contributions? What information do we provide about authors? How do we manage their reference links? What is the longevity of attribution? If a term has been revised eight times, do the original authors still receive attribution for it? What about authors/editors actively removed from the project for some reason?
The Frequency Problem
How fast do we release terms? How often do we review existing terms for re-definition?
The Platform Problem
What CMS platform do we run this from? What platform do we use for internal collaboration and project management?
The Audience Problem
Who is our target audience? To what level do we assume they understand content management? Do we assume they are a practitioner?
The Authority Problem
How do we encourage this project to be regarded with some authority, rather than it just being the pet project of a handful of people? Beyond the organizational weight of CM Pros (if it has much), what do we do to promote adoption and reference?
The Public Relations Problem
How do we promote/publicize this effort? How do we get the word out that we’re selecting members of the initial team? How do we announce information about the project, such as the first release, or the publication/revision of terms? What is the “official” communication channel for the project?
The Funding Problem
Should we need funding, how do we raise that? Do we raise it for this project specifically, or do we raise it for CM Pros generally, then turn around and fund this effort with it? Do we take donations of value, if necessary (CMS licenses, hosting, etc.)?
The Monetization Problem
Do we ever attempt to monetize the glossary? If so, to whom do those funds go?
The Legal/Licensing Problem
How do we ensure that submissions and creative works from authors are adequately licensed to the glossary in such a way that we do not have to revisit licensing in the event we decide to monetize it in some form? How do we avoid any legal claims or IP issues?
The Staffing Problem
How do we select the team, avoid offending the unselected, and manage to include a valid cross-section of the CMS community? Does each term get its own team? Is this team selected for their expertise around a specific term?
The Management Problem
How do we handle management of poorly-performing members of the team? What processes exist to remove them from the team if they become more of a hindrance than help? What level of appeal do they receive? If they are removed, how do we handle existing attribution?
The Feedback Problem
How do we manage feedback? If someone takes issue with a definition, how do we collect that feedback? If this feedback exists somewhere on the Internet (a critical blog post, for instance), how do we ensure synthesis among team members? What process do we have for evaluating and acting on this feedback? What level of response do we need to give the author of the feedback? How do we ensure they feel they’ve been heard and understood? How do we handle feedback/criticism that is legitimate and alters how we perceive our own definition of the term?
The Endgame Problem
What is the ultimate goal? Is the project ever completed? When will we have exited the “prototype” stage and actually have something we consider valuable/notable? What is our timeline for reaching viability?
The Planning Problem
How do we discuss, debate, answer, record, and publish the answers for all the questions in this document?