We broke SharePoint

This morning saw a lively workshop of TASCers learning how to use SharePoint. Just the basics – how to get there, how to contribute a document or discussion. And then we broke it. That’s right, we broke SharePoint. Or, at least the TASC SharePoint site. It started with an innocent question (I won’t name names, Rex, so don’t worry): How do I restrict permissions to a document to a handful of people when the whole of TASC has “owner” permissions. In retrospect, the clear answer is that when the permissions are set up (or later edited) the document should NOT inherit the permissions from the parent site. That way you can allow users/contributors on an individual basis. But did we do that? Noooooo. And it’s really not his fault, though I’d like to say it is. I stood over him while he deleted the TASC owners, urging him on. Go ahead, do it. All your friends are doing it. *sigh* And suddenly we were all shut out. Even my technical contact. In a day or so we’ll likely have access back, but in the meantime we have learned a valuable lesson about restricting permissions on a document by deleting groups: you’re not just deleting them from that document, you’re deleting them from the whole site.

All that reminds me of my days leading K-12 teachers into their first-time computer or Internet experience. They were so afraid they would “break” something they couldn’t bring themselves to try anything that wasn’t strictly guided. Now I don’t advocate breaking stuff, you understand, but when it happens it is often not the end of the world, and it serves as a teaching moment. (My eight-year-old is still not convinced that errors on tests teach him anything, but we know as adults we often learn more from our mistakes than our successes.) So, we broke it and we learned. And it will (likely) be fixed … and I hope the fixer is still friendly to me after the fact.

Our next goal: Set up University of KY Island in Second Life and completely shut down the grid. Yes.

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3 Responses

  1. Great ~ if anybody can do it, TASC folks should have done it first! Hip, hip, hooray!

  2. I noticed during the training session that accessing a document required my authentication for each document. So, not only do i need to authenticate to the workstation, not only do I need to authenticate to sharepoint, but further must authenticate to each document. It seems to me that requiring multiple layers of authentication will discourage use of Sharepoint, as would any stumbling block.

  3. You make a good point, Scott. It can be frustrating. Perhaps that is a bit of feedback that can be provided as SharePoint continues to develop. Thanks! -Patsy

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