When I write blog posts, I generally make an effort to define any technical or SharePoint-specific terms as I flesh out my drafts. Unfortunately this can take up a lot of space in a post.
I don’t like linking outside of my site to other sites (unless it’s an official Microsoft source) for terms/concepts on the off chance that resource/link dies at some point and I don’t have the ability to replace it (or even know it died).
That’s why you’ll notice that many of my links point back and forth between my own blog posts. At least with that content I can confirm its relevance and timeliness.
But there’s an easy way to combat all this. I’ve just been aiming to build some good content here on the blog first.
Time to manage some knowledge
The world has already proven the insane usefulness of wikis (the tool) and crowdsourcing (the process/resource) with Wikipedia and the thousands of wikis over at Wikia/Fandom. (Seriously, mankind may have documented more about the fantasy universe of Star Wars—canon or not—than its own.)
The knowledge management field jumped all over wikis starting in the mid- to late-2000s and never really turned back. Content management tools responded: for example, Microsoft introduced wikis in SharePoint 2007 and they remain in SharePoint today.
Well, I’ve seen no good resource out there that simply defines and explains what many of the concepts, words, phrases, tools, etc. are for everyday SharePoint users trying to understand their work ecosystem. We need to change that. And I’m looking to do so by creating a SharePoint encyclopedia and glossary using a wiki.
The icansharepoint wiki
Today I’m introducing the new icansharepoint wiki as a tool that can help keep blog posts on this site clean and readable, plus provide additional context to everyday SharePoint users when they’re looking stuff up or when other authors elsewhere don’t care to spend the time explaining the jargon they use. Anyone’s free to link to this resource.
A wiki is also a great example of practicing what I preach: as a knowledge management professional (among other things), showing you the positive use of a wiki is simply another great example of using an online tool in a way you could replicate at your workplace.
You can do the same thing with SharePoint for your communities of practice, your knowledge bases, almost anything. Once you type it out, it’s available, searchable, relatable, organized. Wikis are great for acronym dictionaries, technical glossaries, and generally centralizing proprietary concepts and topics.
I really like Wikipedia and its software, MediaWiki. (Also, notably, it’s free.) So I’ve built the new wiki on that. It looks and feels like Wikipedia, but it’s built in my website at icansharepoint.com/wiki. That takes you to a home page which gives you a little overview of how it works.
Join in on the fun
The best part of a good wiki is it’s collaborative. Feel free to create an account and add your own content to the wiki. If you think an article is lacking or just plain missing, add to or create it. Start writing. Even if you’re not an expert.
As Wikipedia has shown, good articles come from someone making a statement, and others reviewing the content, improving it, correcting it, or just fixing grammar and the like. My experience has shown me that nothing proves for better knowledge sharing than someone going out on a limb and publicly stating something they think is correct. Humans seem to love telling someone when they’re wrong, and making this point starts discussion, builds content, and provides nuance. So if you’ve got the courage to stick your neck out, it’ll help the SharePoint community build that much more knowledge.
Just make sure to keep things simple, stick to out-of-the-box options (no code/low code with a preference for no code), and remember who your audience is: the everyday worker just trying to get their stuff done without getting bogged down in technical jargon.
I’m hoping you’ll find this new wiki helpful. And maybe you’ll even pay back the favor of this free information by providing a little of your knowledge as well. I’d like it to become the central resource that everyday SharePoint users go to by default when they’re confused, unsure, or simply want to know more about a word or concept related to SharePoint.
The wiki is basic now. But as it grows, I’ll get into more advanced items like a taxonomy for articles and community building. But for now, I just want to provide general-guidance information on everyday SharePoint use for anyone who uses the software. No longer should you be confused as to what a “Site Owner” is, why an “index” is important, or why we constantly talk about “waffles” in Office 365.
Check it out. And note that one of those articles listed just above doesn’t exist yet (at time of this publishing). Why not create it?