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Collaborative Editing

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Asynchronous editing enables multiple people to work on the same document.


People like to be able to work together on documents, encyclopedias, and software codebases.


Use this pattern when you wish to enable your site members to work together to curate their collective wisdom or document their share culture.


Provide a repository for hosting documents with version control. Give users a way to bring in additional collaborators with invite to participate.

The "invite to participate" pattern is used to enable people to invite collaborators to work together on a document.

Provide an Edit This Page directly on the document to be edited or enable uploading of incrementally updated versions of a stored document.

For direct editing, provide an edit box, much as in a blog or comment interface.

It doesn't get more meta than this: Here I am editing this very pattern in the collaborative wiki where it lives outside of the book.

Optionally, give contributors mechanisms for tracking changes, through notifications or with RSS feeds.


Collaborative editing is more "webby" than the alternative (emailing documents to multiple participants and then orchestrating proliferating multiple asynchronous updated copies of a document, with aspirational filenames ending in "finalFinalfinal."

Collaborative editing does away with multiple copies of files, irreconciled changes, and email overload.

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