What are the roles and responsibilities of the site administrator?
The site adminstrator is responsible for ensuring the web site is cohesive, consistent and comprehensive. Their job is especially important in a collaborative site where, though many hands make light work, too many cooks may spoil the broth. The Site Administrator is the Head Chef who ensures that Web Site Soup is a delight to the senses and makes certain no-one gets indigestion.
The Site Administrator will also double up as doorman (ensuring safety and security) and janitor (cleaning up other people's mess). But let's begin with the good stuff.
(All site contributors should read the following information to see how they can make life easier for their Site Administrator)
Cohesive, consistent & comprehensive
As site administrator, you are the one who holds the entire structure of the web site in your head. Others will focus on their area of interest, but you alone see the grand plan. Site contributors must be aware that you will have to make changes to their pages from time to time, and see this as a Good Thing (TM). This may mean altering a few words here and there, breaking up text for readability, or moving pages wholesale.
The site administrator should:
Look out for and fix poorly chosen page names
Since page names and links are so closely related on our site, badly chosen names can cause frustration and/or broken links.
Try to name pages so their names tie up with the names of related pages. All the 'Dales' page names should look like 'DalesShops', 'DalesChurches', etc and specific events that are time-related should mention that: eg '!DalesRecipes2004' (so it won't have to be deleted when we put up next year's Dales Recipes info). This means that when others are trying to write pages and link to existing ones, they know that all 'Dales Recipes' pages have the same format, and will be able to guess the correct page name in most cases.
Choose links/page names that work well in different contexts (sentences) for linking, not just in the sentence you're currently writing. Don't be too specific - but too vague can be just as problematic!
Try to ensure all the pages 'feel' like they're part of one site. The visual elements of each page already try to convey this, but different contributors will write in different ways, so you may have to 'standardize' their work!
Break long chunks of text into shorter paragraphs. A web page is more like email than a piece of paper - more than four or five lines is difficult to read on-screen.
Add headings, sub-headings, etc between every few paragraphs (!, !! & !!!). As in a newspaper, these break up the text into manageable chunks and help visitors who are scanning for information rather than reading every word.
Add links where appropriate
Since you know the whole site, you should look out for opportunities to add links between pages where appropriate. You may need to reword text to fit in a Link Word link, or use a square bracket link around existing text. These extra links help visitors find informtion they are looking for.
BUT links are the salt of Web Site Soup - they add much to the enjoyment and usefulness of the page, but can be overpowering if sprinkled carelessly. Remember that the visitor can use the 'Pages that link to this page' link at the bottom of each page to explore further. Be creative with the 'Related: ' section at the bottom of the page - try to think where a potential visitor might wish to go next. Avoid vast cross-linked lists, as these are difficult to maintain when pages are added or removed.
Avoid (and/or reword) 'Click here' links
These are unhelpful since they do not indicate the actual content pointed to by the link. Naming links appropriately helps visitors 'drill down' to the information they're looking for help visually-impaired visitors whose browser may read link names aloud. Five 'Click here' links are less than useless, whilst five carefully named links allow rapid navigation.
The Link Word system goes a long way towards avoiding these problems since links automatically match the title of the destination page.
Look for holes
Site contributors add pages in isolation. The Site Administrator may need to add complementary pages on behalf of other sections to maintain balance, or suggest that the person responsible for that section may wish to add or update their page(s).
Staying safe and mopping up
As with any party, we want everyone to have a good time. Even if passwords are only given out to trusted parties, information can leak. The system works hard to avoid this being a problem, whilst maintaining its openness.
Everyone can help by being on the look-out for vandalism or other maliciousness. If you come across a page that looks like it may have been inappropriately 'altered', check the PageHistory. The site maintains a log of who changed what and when for every page. You can view the text of or revert to any recent version of any page. If something's wrong, fix it yourself, there and then.
NB. There are also other security mechanism in place which we won't talk about. Or they'd be less secure :)
Clean and tidy
The Site Administrator (and every contributor) should try to ensure that the underlying text of each page is written consistently. Although the system will know out what is meant if everything is squashed up, it will be far easier for the next editor if the raw text is laid out cleanly. Try to ensure:
Remember: Since we may well have different people editing pages there will inevitably be some tidying up to do!
For information on what should and shouldn't go on a web site, especially regarding photos of children, see the NGfL Superhighway Safety site
There are issues for us all to be aware of - follow the Site Guidelines and stay safe.
Related: Help, Site Backups
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