The Collective vs. the Individual

Is it that difficult to get along and agree to an idea? Probably not. What the hell am I talking about? The SharePoint community of course. No, there's no rebellion going on with some twisted and evil Sith Lord reigning supreme and the rest of us are just battling it out in the trenches, waiting for some rebel group to topple the regime and take down the Emperor. Oh, sorry. Had something on my mind. Okay, I'm back now.

A while ago I threw an idea out (I think it was through the newsgroups, which I've horribly been vacant from but will return shortly). The idea was that we (i.e. the more active SharePoint we) should put together a central resource for all stuff being SharePoint. Recently I've seen a lot of updates to tool lists, resource lists, lists of bloggers, you know, the usual. It seems like everybody and his brother have a list of bloggers, there are several (very good) lists of tools and resources, and almost everyone who's anyone will have a page of SharePoint resources with links to various places on the net.

I guess I'm just somewhat astonished at how difficult it is to get information sometimes. I mean, Google is my friend and the first place I turn to to find something if I don't have it on the top of my brain (and it's really embarassing when you google for an answer only to find your own blog entry to have it). However I just keep stumbling over multiple resources for the same thing. Is this a good thing? Maybe. The problem is that if I put my SharePoint newbie hat on and try to find info I sometimes can't see the forest for the trees. I looked at a few of the SharePoint blogger lists out there. Great resources but they're all individuals view of the world. Some have most of the MVPs, some don't; some have links to some really smart dudes, others don't. Again, a great resource but it's hit and miss for anyone looking for the best set of information.

Given that SharePoint is all about collaboration I just get torqued over the fact that we, as a community, can't do the same. I don't know why we can't agree to a single resource location so that a) it's consistent b) it's as complete as it can be and c) it's organic and not someone's page that unfortunately hasn't been updated because they don't have time or forgot they even had it. I believe the collective view of the SharePointVerse is a better thing, in any dimension, than one mans (or womans).

It's a pretty simple concept. An open system that follows the following principles:

  1. Anyone and everyone can contribute to it. Sure there needs to be a group of people that keep an eye out for dupes, malicious posts or spam but that can anyone with some time and passion.
  2. If you contribute something you should be responsible to keep it up to date. Like a good boy scout, clean up after yourself. 
  3. If you see something out of date, update it.
  4. If anyone asks about something that would be on the list (where can I find a list of SharePoint bloggers which gets asked a lot) you point them at the list. If it's not on the (and you know the answer) that would be a trigger to add it.

Doesn't seem that difficult however there were a few hurdles that never got this idea off the ground. First, nobody wanted it hosted by a single person (i.e. it shouldn't be say a site Bil runs, or Mike, or Patrick, or whomever). Second, nobody could seem to agree that a single resource is the right thing. Anyways, it may not be the "right" thing but in my meager mind, it's the correct thing.


  • So you are saying nobody has ever thought about a SharePoint wiki yet? :)

  • I know that this has been raised before and the general consensus was it would be very difficult to even get everyone to agree that a central repository would be a good idea - never mind about where, how etc.

    Bob's wiki as mentioned above has a lot of good info so maybe something like this should be taken as a starting point andthen publicised really well.

  • Bob's done an excellent job with his Wiki and it's coming along.

    The point of the post was the fact that there are many, many resources out there for SharePoint and most of them are very similar but everyone has their own collection. I was trying to get to the point of a central repository rather than dozens of disparate ones.

    I think the goal may be unobtainable. As Colin and Serge mentioned (ego's aside) it's very difficult to get everyone to agree to a single place, let alone even co-ordinate one.

    The idea of a SharePointForge would be good but again, how do you get everyone to give us their own lists and move what they have to one place? The first thing people will say is that they have their lists and maintaining it isn't any effort for them so they would rather keep it that way.

  • Although I'm one of his biggest fans, I actually see alot of the evit Sith Lord in Todd Beekler.

    I have to agree that the schema of SharePoint knowledge is frustrating to the new user. The tool does so much and so differently that previous technologies that get tot eh point of solution delivery is quite the challenge.

    In many respects, I return to where I get the best response. And is experts like you and Todd that are able to validate what we do so we can be confident as we take the next steps.



    Keep us posted.

  • Bil,

    My wiki is open to registered users now. Meaning, updates can be made by the registered community. It is a resource for the community, by the community.

    Bob Mixon

  • Hi Bil, it's a great idea, I'd be happy to help populate it.

    Take care,


  • Hey so what about one of you fine SharePoint MVPs contacting MSFT for some web space to start a SharePoint and even SharePoint-MCMS Resource site?

    Dude- I would be all over helping out in any way I could. In light of this post and mine that you eloquently replied to recently, it sounds like there needs to be an executive team of sorts to run the site. I would love to volunteer my time to something that would help the SharePoint community like that.

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