Observing that I had accumulated a complete mess in the "shared with me" area of my own google-drive, I sent this in to one of my techie forums.

Date: Mon, 17 Aug 2020 23:00:31 -0500
Subject: a micro(ish)-rant on GDrive

Forced to view quite a few more collaborative documents in google-drive
recently, I again took note that my "shared with me" area has piled up
a ton of garbage over the years, much of it completely obscure as to what
it actually is.  "Tech requirements" ... for what year, what con?  One
folder mysteriously labeled "2018", only revealing on examination that it
might be mostly related to Arisia, but containing items like "Expo Note"
which makes absolutely no sense.  A whole folder of "presentations and
media" ... well, at least I know that's from the recent reCONvene.

I understand that everything in the incoherent babble of "shared with me"
is an expendable link to the real material under other owners' areas, and
I'm free to delete any reference without trashing the original item [with
some caveats, as long as I don't go *into* a folder I have modify access
to] ...  despite the strong temptation to select-all and WILDLY NUKE THIS
CRAP, I didn't want to simply lose all those references to past events.

Tonight I finally learned that I could create a folder under my own area
and simply MOVE all that stuff to that "junk drawer", take it completely
out of prominent visibility, and clear "shared with me" for truly NEW stuff.
Not only that, I can later go through and investigate some of the more
mysterious items and rename my links to, say, reflect what con, what year,
etc -- which only changes them in my own namespace, safely avoiding any
modification of other peoples' stuff however valueable or [usually] otherwise
it may be.  GDrive actually took quite a while to "move" a few dozen objects
to a spare folder under "my drive", so evidently this gratuitous linking
process is a certain amount of overhead on their end.

Having a client engine that's better than a touchscreen tablet helps, as
there are a lot of useful keyboard shortcuts for navigating the structures.

But the major point that bubbled up out of all this is that people should
name their cloud-stored items FAR more clearly and expressively, because
basically other people have to understand YOUR HOARD as soon as you start
sharing this stuff around.  It's the work of very few keystrokes to change
"requirements.docx" into something that means far more to someone else.  And
FFS clean up your old dead versions that have long since been superseded by
newer versions [often named something radically different, adding yet more
confusion].  And of course everything is owned by a specific user, so it's
not like one person can go clean up a given folder of one con's stuff
without access rights over other peoples' creations.

This, and the folder structure around such material, has been an ongoing
problem in the con-running community for a long time.  And my view of the
mess is probably a tiny fraction of what other "core crew" people have
shared around during con run-ups and such.  Trying to dig old external
base64-gobbledygook links out of your email doesn't really help, as those
give even less indication as to what they actually are unless you've put
specific notation around every one of them, and whether someone actually
has to have their own google account to be able to see it at all.

I do understand that getting people to stop using spaces in filenames is
a lost cause by now.  But whatever you name your thing, at least please
make it clear and obvious!  You cannot rely on what YOU see as an enclosing
folder to delineate its purpose for other people, especially if you're
not going to share the entire folder out.


I got some responses, mostly seeming to relate general disorganization and difficulty keeping resources well-organized among multiple collaborators.  Computers are supposed to make us more productive and efficient, aren't they??  The opposite seems so often to be the outcome.

From: Harriet
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2020 08:18:48 -0400

This is an ongoing issue with many things.  People miss naming the forest
and are stuck in the trees.

I get email subjects that don't reflect, even vaguely, the topic discussed,
ex: "Meeting with our sponser" I deleted and never found out what group held
the meeting.  My shared docs get immediately filed or deleted, which helps me.


From: Sharon
Date: Tue, 18 Aug 2020 10:35:18 -0400

Or when someone sends an email with ad solicitations, fan table or party
enquiries, etc as BCCs to the generic convention contact email (i.e. info@)

I have to dig into the headers (and most people don't know how to do that)
to find out which email it was sent to.  But it also means that if I'm the
contact for more than one, gmail will only send me one copy, and I never
know who else they meant to contact.

Some of my G-Drive sharing invites at least *usually* goes to the email for
the con it is related to. But sometimes they get sent to my personal email.
(they figure they already *know* my google account email. :-(  Sometimes I
can reshare the docs or ask for a different share invite.  I've been getting
better at organizing in drive folders where they belong.  But there is still
a lot of sorting that needs to be done. I hadn't realized that renaming the
doc filename would/might be for my benefit and doesn't affect the original.

Thanks for that tip.