Workflow: The MMI Editorial Process

Introduction

The workflow is the way documents are managed as they are created, reviewed and published. The workflow engine uses the user role, existing content state and workflow rules to determine acceptable changes in the content state. The user role describes what a user can do. The existing content state characterizes where the content is in the publication process. Workflow rules are descriptions of who can make which changes to the workflow state of the content.

An overarching goal for the workflow is to make it as simple as possible while meeting the needs of the site. The workflow must support a typical editorial process of write, review and rewrite, often multiple times, before content is published.

Workflow States

Each piece of content on the MMI site has only one workflow state at any given time. This state characterizes where the content is in the editorial process. Workflow states are originally assigned by default, or by the user that creates content. After a review is requested, the workflow state is assigned by the reviewer.

Each workflow state presents two types of information about the item:

  • Visibility
  • Characterization of publication state

The following sections describe the workflow states supported by the site. Depending on your user role, not all workflow states will be available.

Visible only to me, Maintain as a draft

This state characterizes "draft" content that is available only to the content creator (not other members or the general public). This state is not typically used on the site, because it is important that other site and community members have some idea what is taking place on the site.

Visible to members, Maintain as a draft

This state characterizes "draft" content that is available to logged in users, but is not being proposed as final, published site content. In general, this state will be used for content that is still being developed by the author (and possibly others) prior to submission for publication. MMI members can save their content in this state, return to it, and modify as needed before submitting for publication. This allows other members to review the content and provide input, or validate current content.

Visible to members, Request review

This state characterizes content that is believe ready for final publication, needing only a review by a content reviewer. By selecting "Visible to members", the content creator allows only members to view the content while it undergoes review.

Visible to anyone, Request review

This state characterizes content that is ready for review and publication. By selecting "Visible to anyone", the content creator allows the content to be public while it undergoes review. This option is available only to trusted members of the site, who have enough experience with the site and its policies to know what content is appropriate to make public without being reviewed first.

Invisible, Request review

Content that is submitted by an individual who is not logged in will not be visible to members or the public while it undergoes the review process. During the editorial review, an author might be assigned and the content may be made more accessible.

Invisible, Request deletion

This workflow state is reserved for content that is intended for deletion; the content is not visible to anonymous users or site members. . Content may be given this state by site content managers and trusted editors, indicating it is no longer worthy of maintenance on the site. Wherever possible, content should be edited rather than deleted; deletion is used only if the content can not be corrected. All content with this state will be deleted in a separate process that first double-checks for possible references to the content.

Public

Public material has been drafted, reviewed, modified as needed, and formally released on the site for the public to see.

Quarantined

Quarantined content flagged as questionable by a reviewer, trusted member, or content manager, and is now hidden from everyone other than site managers. Quarantined content is content that is objectionable, and it is only maintained on the site in this state to allow investigation, evaluation, or troubleshooting. (It is typically content that has been put on the site by malicious humans or computers.)

Typical Editorial Process

When a member creates new content, s/he may work on it for a while as a draft, without requesting a review. This draft content can be reviewed and modified as the visibility state allows.

Once the creator deems the content ready for publication, they request a review. The request for review in the workflow triggers a formal evaluation by an MMI member who has reviewer status. The reviewer will work with the creator as needed to formally prepare the content for publication. Reviewers are delegated editorial authority to read, modify, update, and return content to its creator, and to assign maintainers to content.

When the reviewer considers the content ready for publication, the reviewer sets the document state to "Public."

Process for Reviewing Content Pending Review or Deletion

When content is placed in a workflow state that requires action be taken, generally that a review or deletion has been requested by a user, automated notification takes place and the content appears in special views that have been crafted to manage content approval and deletion. The views are available at the following URLs:

The views at these URLs support bulk actions so that multiple nodes can be operated on at the same time using the same action. To perform an action, select it from the drop-down list and click "Execute". The view will require you to set more configuration options and/or confirm your request and will then perform the action on all of the selected nodes. Generally, you will be using the "Delete node" or "Change workflow state of post to new state" actions from this list. Other actions, including changing the author of a post or re-generating the path alias, are available as needed.

Automated Email Notification

Users in several roles on the MMI site will get automated notification when content is placed in a requested review or delete state. Emails are sent using the following rules:

  • Reviewer role members will receive an email any time a piece of content is placed into a Visible to members, request review or Visible to anyone, request review workflow state.
  • Trashman role members will receive an email any time a piece of content is placed into a Invisible, request deletion workflow state.
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