SharePointer Barb Mosher ruminates in this recent piece about the SharePoint community, discussing why it is important, what Microsoft does and does not do for the community, and things of that nature.
Deep in the second page of the article, she says she favors the construction of a central site for SharePoint information, controlled, I would assume, by folks who have the answers. So, she likes the fact that Microsoft, which created the software, doesn’t try to control the community, but instead supports an information clearinghouse that apparently would vet contributions before they could be shared on that site. In effect, whoever would be chosen to monitor those contributions would be controlling the dialogue and flow of information into the community.
Part of what makes the SharePoint community great is its fluidity. I have seen at our SPTechCon event speakers sitting in on classes given by other speakers, to learn more than they already know. And I’ve seen SharePoint professionals taking these classes correcting the presenters on certain points they’re making. And let’s not forget the third-party software providers, who perhaps more than most understand SharePoint and its flaws, and have figured out some pretty clever ways to work around its shortcomings. Would they get to be a part of this clearinghouse?
It’d be great if there were a website someplace that was the definitive SharePoint point of reference, that could answer every conceivable use (or misuse) of the software, lay down best practices, offer tips such as when to develop customizations or when to roll out another server farm. But it won’t be done in my lifetime, I can tell you that. (And, I’m not that old, I tell ya, despite the white hair!)
One, there’s no money in it for the amount of work required. And two, there’s no money in it for the amount of work required.
People looking for solid SharePoint information can certainly start at Microsoft’s home page for the software and follow links to blogs and other resources. Or, they can hang out on Twitter, monitoring the #sharepoint threads to learn which community members are most trustworthy in terms of the information they dispense. Or, they can visit the websites of more than 60 software suppliers to learn how to extend and enhance SharePoint.
Barb is 100% right. The information is out there. Finding answers in different places is part of the very fabric of the community. Without that, we’re no longer a community—we’re marching to the beat of this “panel of experts” who would be telling us what’s right and what’s not. And that’s not right.