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In Sitecore a field can be defined as shared. Shared means that the value of this field will be the same in all languages.

Changing a field from shared to non-shared is dangerous because of possible data loss. This is clearly indicated by the following popup which is shown when you change a field from from shared to non-shared (or vice versa):

Popup when changing the property shared of a field

Popup when changing the property shared of a field

This popup also shows another important message: a background process is started which will update the value of this field of all content items based on this template.

Changes in templates are usually deployment on other environments (e.g. test and production) using a package. When you deploy a change of the shared property of a field using a package the background process for updating all content items is not be started resulting in inconsistent behavior. One of the problems we have noticed is that in the content editor it is not possible anymore to change the value of non-shared fields of content items which have been created before the shared property was changed (by the import of a package).

This basically means that one should never deploy a change of the property shared via a package to another environment. One should always make this change manually using the template manager in the Sitecore backend.

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