Improve Groups where members can update all items and documentation

872
8
11-20-2019 02:02 PM
Status: Open
PaulHoefflerGISS
Occasional Contributor III

ArcGIS Online and ArcGIS Enterprise groups can be created so that members can update all items shared to the group. Whether or not this is enabled cannot be changed after group creation. Groups with this functionality can be incredibly useful, but they are confusing, inadequately documented, and fraught with complicating factors and caveats (not the least of which is the UI issue explained in https://community.esri.com/community/gis/web-gis/arcgisonline/blog/2018/05/31/the-case-of-the-missin...).

Currently, web map items with offline map areas enabled can be shared with update-all groups, but once shared the map areas cannot be managed until the item is unshared from the group, at which point the owner can manage the map areas. Unfortunately the ability to share web maps with map areas to update-all groups has been labeled as a defect, and Jennifer Wrightsell-Hughes‌ indicates that this will be fixed in the future to bring the behavior in line with the documentation which states "You cannot share a web map that contains a map area with groups that allow members to update all items..." (see Note at Take web maps offline—ArcGIS Online Help | Documentation). The "defect" provides us with more utility than the "fix" well and we propose that web map items with offline map areas can be shared with update-all groups, as is currently the case, and the documentation updated accordingly.

Create groups—ArcGIS Online Help | Documentation has some good documentation on what update-all capability groups can and cannot be used to update, and what only item owners can do, but it is not complete.

Share items—ArcGIS Online Help | Documentation notes that "At this time, the item update capability is intended for use with item details and the contents of maps, configurable apps, and scenes. Currently, most ArcGIS apps do not support the item update capability. To determine whether this capability is supported in a specific ArcGIS app, refer to the app documentation." - this is important information, and we propose that documentation should be cross-referenced by providing links between the two (there is a link from this page to the Create groups page, but not the reverse).

A major issue that we have not seen documented is that items shared with update-all capability groups cannot have ownership changed.

Administrator must do the following to fix the issue:

  • Take the time to check each item
  • Must look at the groups each item is shared to
  • Must determine what groups have "update capabilities"
  • Must be sure they are a member of that group
  • Must go to the group page > Content
  • Must document each sharing change for each item
  • Must find the item, check it, and choose Remove from Group
  • Change ownership of the item from the original owner to the new owner
  • Go to the new owner's content, find the item, and re-share that item with the documented group(s) from which it was unshared

We have over 4700 user accounts, 31000 items, and two part-time administrators. The above is not sustainable, especially when non-administrators can create and own groups with the update-all capability, as in other large organizations.

We have been told repeatedly that this will not be addressed (see first BUG listed below), but it is a significant and growing problem.

Related: 

Groups - add filter for "update capability enabled" 

Groups that allow members to update shared items (collaboration groups) 

Allow overwrite ofa hosted feature service by all members of group with update capability enabled 

BUG-000089698 - "Unable to change the owner of any item in ArcGIS Online when shared with a group with the 'Members can update all items in this group' option selected while creating the group." with the closed status and notes from Development set as: We don't allow to change ownership of item that is shared in group with update capability. We have implemented an error message for when this is attempted.

BUG-000126866 - "List of Values (Domains) cannot be edited by anyone but the content owner or the organization administrator in groups where settings are set to 'Members can update all items'"

BUG-000122808 - "A publisher role is unable to add new fields via the item details section even when the group settings are set to 'Members can update all items'

ENH-000082367 - "Provide a way to change the coded values in a domain in ArcGIS Online"

Esri marked the following as Implemented on 12/19/2019:

- BUG-000126856 - "No error occurs when unsuccessfully trying to share content to a group when the content owner is not a group member."

- BUG-000126857 - "No error occurs when unsuccessfully trying to share content to a group when the content owner is not a group manager or owner and the group is set to contributors: managers or owner only."

8 Comments
JeffShaw2

These are significant issues for our organization also. We manage published content as teams, not individuals, and use one "maintenance group" per topic area (20 so far). Most of our content creators do not retain ownership of items after they are published, so these types of groups are very important in our workflow. But there are many challenges, especially in terms of transferring ownership of items and sharing with these groups.

JamieLambert

The whole idea of individuals owning content is a pain and not how most businesses work. We are using additional IDs as content owners to get around this design flaw. Team members change constantly as people move in and out, so having these content owner IDs helps with data maintenance and stability.

PaulHoefflerGISS

I'm aware of multiple large organizations that use highly-controlled headless user accounts to own some items and groups as a way to deal with changes in users and the limitations in ArcGIS Online to deal with user turn-over.

We limit access to these user accounts to one managing individual (or arranging it such that headless accounts can own content, but are not used to sign in, which is often a better practice), to stay on the right side of the Esri Software Master License Agreement (references: https://www.esri.com/en-us/legal/terms/full-master-agreement, https://assets.esri.com/content/dam/esrisites/en-us/media/legal/ma-full/ma-full.pdf)

Specifically on page 4, section 2.5a in the doc. - per Derek Law‌ (thanks for the reference in the past).

One thing that would be very helpful for us, but we've had limited engagement from Esri on (and ultimately moved backward on) is documented here: Allow Users to Change Content Ownership without the View All Content Privilege Enabled; the gist is that users could change ownership of their own items without giving them administrative privileges, which is currently not possible in ArcGIS Online. This is an industry standard: imagine if you couldn't transfer Google docs, files in OneDrive, etc. to other users and an Administrator had to make every such change for you...

JeffShaw2

It appears that with the December 2019 update that Admins lost the ability to unshare another member's item from an "update all" group when selecting the item from the member's Content page. As Paul indicated, you need to temporarily drop that sharing in order to transfer ownership. You now need to go to the group and then removed the item. That is an additional, much slower process. I plan to open a ticket on that soon and presume the change was unintentional.

We use the headless account method also. It's hard to imagine any large organization not doing so for purposes of reducing risk and work as members come and go and change responsibilities. Much less all the other benefits such as having content owned by less-privileged accounts.

I submitted an idea similar to this some years back to address the challenges with these groups and using them for content management purposes. The idea (admittedly complex) didn't get a lot of traction. There has been some progress, but there is still a long way to go before these workflows are efficient and can easily be delegated to others.

Enable Content Manager role by improving/fixing item sharing options and interfaces

PaulHoefflerGISS

It is really onerous, and in all the conversations I've had with various Esri contacts there are no plans to fix any of this - it's all expected behavior, as-designed. This is the one that needs to be addressed, for the sake of all administrators who allow the use of these valuable types of groups within their orgs and all of the users who get caught in the middle:

BUG-000089698 - "Unable to change the owner of any item in ArcGIS Online when shared with a group with the 'Members can update all items in this group' option selected while creating the group." with the closed status and notes from Development set as: We don't allow to change ownership of item that is shared in group with update capability. We have implemented an error message for when this is attempted.

I am happy to report that the following were resolved in the v7.4 update, as if you're not paying very close attention to all of the various owner and group assignments when going through the extended change ownership process you could end up making changes that weren't applied, but appeared as though they were:

- BUG-000126856 - "No error occurs when unsuccessfully trying to share content to a group when the content owner is not a group member."

- BUG-000126857 - "No error occurs when unsuccessfully trying to share content to a group when the content owner is not a group manager or owner and the group is set to contributors: managers or owner only."

Thanks for the Idea reference, I've reviewed and up-voted. There are a lot of older ArcGIS Ideas with New status, which effectively means they're defunct. If I knew of an Esri contact for ArcGIS Online that is active on GeoNet and might be appropriate I'd drop some comments with @ mentions in there to see if it could get any traction - works every now and again. Regardless, thanks for your contributions in trying to build a critical mass in moving this forward!

JonDouglas

here-here! Im dealing with this issue too; makes using their 'cloud' more like using a puzzle box.

PaulHoefflerGISS

It doesn't help that Esri is claiming much of this is "expected behavior" yet the behavior ranges from poorly documented to undocumented...

PatIampietro

Update capabilities should be toggleable @ any time for all groups, not set in stone only @ group creation. That would help alleviate some of the issues with the current "expected behaviors"