Draft Content, Publishing, and Moderation

How Publishing Works

All content has a simple concept of being unpublished or published. Anonymous visitors cannot view unpublished content, the content won't appear in search results or the menu. Search engines like Google will not index it.

Logged-in content managers and site admins can view all unpublished content, but users with only the "content author" role can only view their own unpublished content. When viewing unpublished content directly, some themes may display a different background color for the content region to help indicate that the page is not published.

By default, all content that is created has the "published" checkbox checked on the content entry form:

Published checkbox with save buttons below it

Uncheck this checkbox if you want to work on drafts of the content before publishing it.

Content authors do not have access to this checkbox. All of their newly added content is set to unpublished by default and a user with a higher role like content manager or site admin must publish it.

Content can also be bulk published or unpublished using the content dashboard.

Some content types allow automatically publishing content at a certain future date and time using the "Scheduling options" area of the content entry form:

The scheduling form option on content entry forms, showing a date and time field.

Advanced Content Moderation

While the simple published/unpublished state is suitable for most sites and workflows, there are some limitations:

  • Content authors cannot indicate a draft is ready for review by a content manager without telling them directly.
  • A new draft of an existing published content item cannot be created without completely unpublishing the page first.

For these use cases, WDS can enable and configure the Content Moderation module for your site. This module allows for the creation of any number of moderation states (e.g. Draft, Ready for Review, Published) and removes the simple "published" checkbox from content forms:

The content moderation widget on content entry form with options for Draft, Comms Review, and Published available.

Some features of this module include:

  • Different workflows for different content types if desired (e.g. a more advanced workflow for the News content type and a simpler one for Page).
  • Enable on only specific content types, leaving the normal published checkbox in place for the others.
  • Any number of workflow states can be created as needed (Draft and Published are always present).
  • Custom specification of which states can transition to which other states, and which roles have access to each transition (e.g. content author can move a page from Draft > Needs Review, but only content manager can move from Needs Review > Published).
  • Create new drafts from existing published content without affecting the published page. When the new draft is ready, it can be published and will replace the previously published version.
  • A content moderation dashboard that displays all content under moderation that is not yet published. This is useful when reviewing the state of various unpublished items.

If you think your site needs content moderation enabled, contact us so we can discuss your use case further.

Caveats

  • WDS does not typically recommend using advanced content moderation. It's often best to stick to the simplest possible workflow to reduce complexity for the content editors.
  • The normal ability to schedule the publishing of content items is disabled on content types that are using Content Moderation. If you need the ability to schedule publishing, WDS can setup a custom "Delayed Publish" workflow state for you.