Stale Page RSS Feed

by Eric M. Burke

We've all seen the typical Wiki system or content management system that provides an RSS feed for recently modified content. These feeds are great because you can stay abreast of recent activity and stay "in the loop" with new developments.

What I have not seen, however, is a good system for preventing stale documentation. The concept is pretty simple. Provide an RSS feed for the least recently modified pages on your web site. Or maybe configure several parameters such as how many page views pages get, how many people link to those pages, etc.

Every week or so you could review the list of "stale" pages and make educated decisions. If the pages are still valid, just click a checkbox saying "reviewed, OK". Or, update the page or even delete it.

This seems like a good idea to me. It helps you keep your documentation lean and mean. In my opinion, a small amount of relevant, concise, up-to-date documentation is superior to lots of stale, obsolete documents that become hard to find.

Is this a completely new concept, or does such as system already exist? Do any Wikis implement something similar to help you find and eliminate stale pages?


2004-03-15 21:49:28
Good Idea
How about an RSS feed that is the top ten misspelled documents? Or a feed that lists the pages with the most grammar errors? Too many projects talk about a lack of good documentation, maybe it is a problem because it isn't visible "broken window".
2004-03-17 05:38:33
I did this on a wiki I wrote a few years back for knowledge sharing in a Systems Admin team, though not as RSS. Anything older than 3 months was listed, rather than "the oldest pages", since this format turned it into a list of tasks to be cleared off.

There was no approval mechanism, all you did to get a page off the list was to re-save it or delete it (hey, its a wiki). In some ways this is better than a checkbox as it forces you to actually look at the page before its marked as up-to-date.

The other thing we had to stop wikirot was an orphaned pages page. This wasn't just pages that arent linked to, but pages that arent reachable the index page (similarly to garbage collectors). This could have been done a bit better, as it listed all orphans rather than some kind of minimal set, but it did the job.