Harald Schirmer - es kommt nicht nur darauf an, was wir tun, sondern WIE wir es tun!

Collaborative writing – appreciation and lessons learned

I am officially flashed!

In the spirit of social collaboration, I asked my network to review, extend, criticize and challenge my draft for an article. Before I will consolidate the great input to one fluent document I would like to say a big THANKYOU to all the thoughts and work, which the contributors shared.



By the way I am really questioning myself, if my consolidation is the best way to value the great input, or if going back to a single author article is not a fall-back?

I want to share my learnings of former, similar experiments and my experience of this public one – after showing you the hero’s of my network: (and believe me – group editing of a long text is not just fun“)

3f37e65Guido Bosbach 308e4a0Frank Edelkraut 28591e6Winfried Felser
0f92abbBernd Gewehr AAEAAQAAAAAAAAVRAAAAJDAzMTYyMjcyLTFjMWYtNGNiOS1hNWE0LTZhMGY1ZGU1ODY4OALukas Fütterer 09271a6Frank Kleinert
yh9n4ie0y1qcq837aks9_400x400Samuel Treiber AAEAAQAAAAAAAAPnAAAAJDdhN2IyODJjLTkwZGYtNDE3ZS1iYTlhLTkwZDU3MzdiNzY5OQKerstin Schinck AAEAAQAAAAAAAAbyAAAAJGQ3OTRmMmI2LTMxN2EtNDQ0Yy1iZGE4LThkNGRiNzdhYjJjMQRoland Panter

+ 4 anonymous

 It is not very common, to write an article with multiple authors (22). Here are some lessons I learned so far:


  • There are various types of contributions within the collaborative document to expect:
    • spelling and grammar (English is not my native language 😉
    • smaller additions, fragments
    • bigger  parts, new sentences even complete blocks
    • questions which enrich the text (and could remain)
    • questions to the author or the others (asking for opinion, permission…)
    • comments (to be published or to give additional hints)
    • discussions (I agree with…)
    • appreciation or expressing agreement or denial
    • short thought journeys (could be this, or maybe that…)
    • links to valuable sources
    • advice to do things different
  • There are additional sources to keep an eye on:
    • I received eMails with additional information, thoughts and feedback
    • We had parallel discussions on Facebook and various Messengers
    • We shared experience on video-calls and via phone
  • ensure enough time for the network – my first invitation was for 1 week, the reminder was sent 2 days before end (weekend is not a good idea – family time!)
  • as in all collaborative projects, expect the most activity right after publishing and at or even after the deadline 😉
  • Diversity means not only a variety of thoughts and input:
    • There are different expectations on a „good“ storyline (visionary, strategy, pragmatic, philosophic, general, specific)
    • Same is for the writing style (scientific, personal, generic, advising, reviewing, promoting, explaining…)
  • What’s the goal of the collaborative article?
    • Creating a multi-perspective knowledge consolidation
    • Displaying the collaborative work style
    • Offering a complex but rich reading experience (which might be hard to read)
    • Strengthening networks, promoting experts, demonstrating „it works“ or just showing off
  • Don’t just delegate work – the list part in my article had the option to be enriched with links and explanations
  • Expect promotion of own content, websites, articles, products, services (it did not really happen here and it is not always bad)
  • Etherpad is not helpful for bigger groups (see some screenshots at the end) – next time I try Google Docs
    • coloring is very limited – more than 5 contributors are hard to distinguish
    • I have no idea to find out who wrote what (if I could change the colors of the authors would help a lot, or a mouse over, who is behind the color, once you scroll down)
    • The authors are only visible in the time slider mode, which takes forever to load
    • the sidebar did not work at all – chatting was never used, since there was no indication of anyone being „online“




stay tuned for the article…




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  1. […] Collaborative writing – appreciation and lessons learned […]

  2. […] Du hast kürzlich über Dein Blog ein kollaboratives Projekt gestartet – wo Du mit Mitstreitern versucht hast, die Frage “Worum […]

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