End the tyranny of arbitrary sort-order! Now!

Technical content providers have a constant problem:what is the best way to present a list of stuff? For example:

  • Troubleshooters might appreciate the order in “fastest –solution-first, slowest-solution last.”
  • Shoppers might appreciated “least-expensive to most-expensive option”” order
  • Forensics likes the time-tested LIFO (Last In First Out) order so prevalent on blogs
  • Students and inquisitive minds appreciate the “most-important-thing-first” sort order
  • Perf specialists might like to see “most-resource-intensive-first”
  • …and so on

However, you are usually stuck with Alphabetical (in English), which is the least risky choice (as judged by English-language editors and library scientists), though clearly not the most useful to the largest number of users.

You have been stuck with one sort-order. Until now.

On the TechNet wiki, if you don’t like the sort order for some list of info – you can change it! You can either choose to Edit the doc directly and change the order, or, you can start another topic with the same info, but now in the sort order *you* prefer.

Wiki examples:

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However, wiki user Pronichkin has a different (more compact, more useful) sort of some of the same info in his topic List of Hyper-V Packages Updated After the Release of Windows Server 2008 R2 Service Pack 1 (SP1) 

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The point: on the wiki, you can make the list in the sort order you like.

Wiki Survival Guides are particularly fertile experiments in crowd-sourcing and sort-ordering.

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Notice how this tagged list is in blog-ish LIFO order? Wouldn’t it be cool if you could get it in “most-read” or “most-edited” order?

Leave feedback on this blog post and we’ll pass it on to the minders of the wiki platform.