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Is there a versioning system like git, but for writers? If many writers work together, how do you insure that they're all on the same page. Do you have to hold several meetings where people mention what changes they've made to their collective work? What are some of the techniques used for projects that involve a lot of writers?

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  • For non-fiction and non-creative writing, meetings should work fine (some more intense than others, to reconcile differences). I don't know how you resolve differences in fiction writing, though (the same but much harder?) I hate writing with others, even if I love their writing.
    – DWKraus
    May 22 at 19:10
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If the file format of your word processor is text, such as docx files for MS Word, then you can use Git for document control. Using Github as a remote repository will enable multiple writers to collaborate via the cloud and backup their work.

There are other options, Google Documents provides versioning and label, which provides a minimum sort of version control if used conscientiously.

The upside of Google DOCS is that its learning curve is nearly flat.

This is not true for GIT, but there are many tutorials available to walk new users from noob to mastery, but only a fraction of its features is needed for writers.

GIT has a benefit because it can automatically merge documents with non-conflicting changes. So as long as writers are working in different paragraphs, merging the work is easy.

One issue of concern is formatting. GIT doesn't differentiate between text and font tokens in the underlying document. This means that if a merge needs manual intervention then the author will be seeing the raw (and nearly incomprehensible) DOCX notation -- open a docx file in a raw text editor and see for yourself. But, GIT can be extended through scripting to use view converters like pandoc. It gets really complicated here, but the short of it is that tools like pandoc can convert document file formats to other formats and that can be exploited to effectively extract the prose from a file for comparison.

The setup for using Git on a PC and configuring the environment to recognize DOCX files as text files is detailed. Fortunately, there are several web pages providing guides and this step by step guide.

NB: I use this technique to manage my own writing and back it up to the cloud.

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