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June 24
SharePoint Site Retention: Rules? or More Like Guidelines?

​One of my favorite movie lines is from Pirates of the Caribbean when soon-to-be pirate ship captive Elizabeth Swann in a moment of negotiation demands “Parlay,” or the pirate code, to be enacted.  She’s heard it’s the honor code or the rules pirates have to follow in conflict and no one can die once Parlay is requested. Her captors laugh it off and say “Parlay – think of it as less like rules and more like guidelines!” meaning those pirates will do whatever they want in the application of Parlay. 

This sounds a bit like our SharePoint communities and site retention. Once created, those sites can last literally forever and when IT pirates attempt to reduce them our user communities cry “Parlay,” or save those sites! So what then are the rules for site retention, or instead is it more like guidelines?

[Earlier in June, I wrote about SharePoint’s site policy features. It’s good stuff, if you need to catch up pause for a moment and review that post here.]

Rules vs. Guidelines

To enact SharePoint Parlay begin with a basic understanding of the options to define site policies.

•    “The rules” are represented by deleting sites automatically. 

•    “Guidelines” are more flexible and are represented by closing and then ultimately deleting sites automatically. You can choose to allow users to add content to closed sites or restrict that ability.

•    And a softer “guideline” yet – do not close or delete the site automatically

Parlay: Create a policy

Now that you know the code, you are ready for the next step. To create a site policy visit your site settings and site collection administration. Select site policies. You will need Captain Jack Sparrow permissions as a site collection administrator to complete these tasks. 

Currently this site does not have any polices. 

It’s a list – so go with what you know and create a new item 

Name your policy and give it a description. Invest the time to write up that brief description to help you and your end users make the right choices.  In this case, I want to close a site one year after it was created and delete a site one year after it was closed. Doing the basic math, sites with this policy will exist for two years. 

Now let’s continue forward with the details for this policy.

In this example, I want to close and delete sites automatically. As an administrator, I want to “set it and forget it” and let SharePoint do the work for me. 

And, so we don’t forget the people in this process, I will set up notifications to the site owners. In this example, the site owner will receive a notification 3 months before the site deletion with follow up notifications every 14 days. In the event my site owner is having difficulty making a decision, that person also has the option to postpone deletion for 1 month. 

Finally, I want to determine if users can add access to a closed site. In this example, I do not wish users be able to add content to a closed site. 

With one more step – by selecting “OK” a site policy is created! 

The new site policy is reflected within the Site Policy list. 

Parlay: Apply the rule or guideline

Now that a site policy exists, the next step is to apply it to a site. To begin, visit the individual site’s settings and site administration. Select Site Closure and Deletion. You’ll need First Mate or Site Owner permissions for this task.

Right now you can see there is not a site policy applied. 

To apply a site policy, examine the Site Policy menu. Within these options you will find the “1 year Close and delete sites automatically” policy. 

Once you have selected the policy and completed the selection by clicking OK the policy is applied to the site.

The refreshed view appears this way with the activation of the option to close a site, the site deletion date and the applied policy.

Site settings can be rules or guidelines, it’s up to you. 


About Nora Ten Broeck: Nora is a SharePoint enthusiast and expert-in-the-making with interests in collaboration, project management and improved business processes. Follow her @NoraTenBroeck.


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