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How to clean Confluence from old content

It’s great to celebrate your team’s improved productivity, when your company introduces a new Enterprise Content Management (ECM) platform. Finally, there is one common place where everyone can create, store, collaborate on, and access information needed to execute daily tasks.

But what happens to all that content over time?

  • Will contributors periodically revisit, update, and remove the content they created?
  • What happens to content created by colleagues who leave the company?
  • Is the ECM fully compliant with privacy and data security regulations?

While companies enjoy the benefits of an ECM like Atlassian Confluence, such as frictionless content creation, sharing and collaboration, if left unmonitored, Confluence will turn chaotic from all that abandoned content.

Here are some tips for corralling your content and keeping it current using Content Lifecycle Management (CLM).

What is Content Lifecycle Management?

The term "content lifecycle" refers to the possible stages, in chronological order, that any piece of content may go through during its existence. Content Lifecycle Management is a process of defining custom rules and actions that need to happen to a piece of content when those stages are reached.

How to get started with Content Lifecycle Management?

To start building your CLM rules, lay out what type of content you manage in Confluence and what lifecycle stages they might go through over the course of their life.

Once you have defined your content types, sketch out a few key CLM rules by writing down actual sentences that follow this pattern:

When <TYPE OF CONTENT> becomes <CONDITION>, it should be <ACTION>.


<TEAM MEMBER> should be notified when <TYPE OF CONTENT> becomes <CONDITION>, so it <REASON>.

For example: "An HR team member should be notified when a company benefit description page becomes six months old, so they can determine whether it’s still relevant."

Creating CLM rules is fairly easy (and even fun!) when you are rolling out Confluence or in the early years of using it. If you wait too long, deciding which outdated page should stay and which should go and who is responsible will be more like firefighting, while user frustration is sky-high.

When should Content Lifecycle Management be introduced to Confluence?

Your gut feeling might be that it's too early for you.

The truth is however, that the best time to create and introduce CLM rules to your team is very early, when there is not a lot of content in Confluence.

It saves significant effort and time later when the amount of content reaches a point where it needs to be "pruned". The goal is that your system never hits the pruning point, as your CLM mechanism keeps your system in balance.

LinkedIn, for example, postponed it) for very long. Their Confluence was being accessed by a whopping 16,000 employees, and they waited 10 years(!) before attempting to groom their content.

"At LinkedIn, we had one Engineering wiki space containing 70,000 pages. 32,000 of these had to be archived."


So, don’t put it off: define the CLM rules that fit your company — your future self (and team!) will thank you for it.

When users complain that Confluence is hard to use because of all the irrelevant and outdated pages, and it’s also impossible to find anything, it’s too late to introduce a CLM system painlessly. Setting up CLM won’t be as easy and risk-free as it would have been at the outset.

Learn from LinkedIn's example and introduce CLM now to keep Confluence from becoming a dumping ground for old content. Make sure you check out Better Content Archiving for Confluence, the go-to CLM app for Confluence Server and Data Center.

Avoid these 4 typical flaws of managing Confluence content!


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