This discussion has come up at my organization as well and I have used the following approaches:
1) Some information is "perishable" and should continue to be exchanged via channel-based methods (email, instant messages and hallway conversations). The role of Enterprise 2.0 software is to address the extremely high proportion of communications / interactions that are treated as perishable, yet add value to the organization when given transparency.
2) I would argue that the Internet has a great deal of "junk" on it, yet individuals are generally able to extract the information they are looking for.
3) It is possible we will end up for a lot of unecessary information, but perhaps having too much information will be a better situation than not having enough?
Hope these help!
You can delete documents, right?
Maybe Jive could add an optional expiration date, as available for announcements.
Also, you could just have a special space for timely information, where people know to look at the most recent items.
Another idea: people could include the date in the title, like "Donuts in break room - 27 Aug 2008 10am"
Lastly, information which often changes, where you need the latest version, could be posted as a document/wiki, and updated as desired.
We have this challenge as well. Here is what we have done.
1. At times we have found that the senior manager or executive who is resisting has more than enough intellectual prowess to understand the difference between perishable (throwaway content) and everlasting value content. They don't need us to explain to them the different use cases of email, IM, and wiki posts. This is just another form of resistance to using the community. For these, we schedule a private conversation to try to get at the real reason behind the resistance to contribute and we address this if we can – in some cases, they are just not ready to participate yet.
2. Conversely, from the eager to contribute crowd of executives and managers, we have some for whom the assessment of the “lifetime value” of information is skewed too much towards "everything I write is gold" and they create & store a whole lot of stuff that make the space quickly into their personal junk pile. For these, we have assigned a gardener to the space, who responsibility is remove the junk by following pre-defined space “expiration rules” (e.g. posts with less than X # of views in Y time period are deleted). So far, I think because the expiration rules are pre-defined and communicated and apply to all users of the space alike, we are not receiving much angst when we throw someone's golden nugget out.
In both cases, the root problem I think is unfixable – setting a global benchmark for measuring relative lifetime value or level of junkiness of a piece of information or communication thread is beyond reach. It would be like trying to globally manage a storage closet, basement, garage, etc. for an entire neighborhood. You will never achieve an enforceable definition of what is a treasure and what is trash – only the extremes are clear to most, but not all, users.
3. Most of the time, though, the community users themselves drive the right behavior. For posting more often, we see email traffic such as: "This is a good discussion, but it belongs in the community, not in email," "good work, please post this in space x", "the answer to your questions is located in this URL", etc.