I just wanted to start a discussion that I sort of kicked off on Twitter this morning. There's no real motivation behind it, just a good topic. It's interesting to see how others run websites, centralized or decentralized, and why. I generally feel that we decentralize as a solution to small web staffs, but we're turning over sites to people that are clueless in how to run them. It's the wrong solution to a problem that is made to look worse than it is. CMSs are supposed to "make it easy," but they don't fix bad habits and lack of knowledge. Using a CMS doesn't mean you know how to work on the web. The result, in my opinion, is an environment that is worse than just putting the extra load on a web office. And I say that as an Army of One already.
I'm a supporter of the centralized model, or the moderately decentralized setup for bigger institutions (site might be broken down by school, but still not handed off to the lowest levels). This is especially true with a CMS where for us, the people that know the web and the system, it's often times easier and faster for us to do something rather than help someone else do it. I'm also not convinced that departments *must* have a hand in the growth of their site. We can easily help them craft identity and sell themselves without handing the keys of the kingdom over to them. They may want control, but do they really know what to do with that power once they have it? Of course not.
I know the theory that you want to let the "content experts" write their stuff, but even as we say it, it's often not the case. The office secretary is not the "content expert." And being a "content expert" doesn't mean that you know how to either translate or format it for the web. Really, how many people work on the web in your decentralized environment that you *really* think get it (as a percentage of the total number of editors)? Does that make it worth it? The content experts should provide the web experts with the bullet points that need to get listed, nothing more. That allows much better long term benefits: consistency, quality, findability.
Discuss. I might take some of this and expand upon it on .eduGuru if people would like to hear more.