The Cooking blog has two admins (I am one of them) and lots of contributors. A contributor writes a post, then the first admin edits it, then the second admin edits it, then we two admins talk about possible differences (contradictory comments turned out to confuse the author :P) then it goes back to the original author, who is supposed to implement, accept or reject our edit suggestions (which can be changes directly in the text, or comments describing what is wrong). The whole cycle is repeated 2-3 times until a post is finalized. We have found no way to do this in Wordpress.
Currently, we receive the draft in a format the contributor finds convenient (directly in Wordpress, as a .doc file, in an email body, shared in Google docs). The only tool we have which has a "track changes" functionality is a full-blown word processor, so we copy it there and return it that way to the contributor. When the editing process is finalized, we transfer the text to Wordpress, manually adjusting all the formatting. This is a time-intensive process, and in the end it can happen that the contributor is unhappy with some formatting details, so they have to go over the post again and ask us to change it.
During this process, everybody has to actively message the others that he has just made some changes and it is "their turn". This is failure-prone, as we have had cases where two people were editing in parallel without noticing, and cases where a planned task didn't get done because everybody thought somebody else is currently doing it. Besides, for longer-term posts we forget at which stage they are/whose "turn" it is and have to search through chat transcripts and hope that the message we have found reflects the current situation.
A perfect solution would allow us to move the whole workflow to WordPress. Specifically, we need:
- a "track changes" function
- a function for leaving comments related to a specific place in the text
- a system for tracking the current "status" of a blog. In a perfect world, that would include a custom list of stati, such as "waiting for edit by rumtscho", but even a cruder system ("waiting for a review by and editor") would be better than nothing.
- active messaging which automatically notifies everybody associated with the post of a change in status, for example by sending an email. (Not something which is visible only when that person is logged in, because this is a side project for all of us and we don't visit the dashboard often).
- a schedule. Not just the simple "schedule for publishing on $date" thing for posts, but a calender accessible to authors and contributors, where events can be linked to existing posts and drafts.
It is probably wishful thinking to hope that all of this will be present in some way. But are there solutions which at least come close in some way, or which offer other good ways to solve our problems and create a working process out of this chaos?