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I am thinking about activating the SharePoint Server Publishing Infrastructure for our site collection, but worry what it could possibly cause.

What, if any issues could this cause to content already on the site?

Thanks!

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    The existing content on your site will be unaffected. There will some additional capabilities added and you should understand what they do and any limitations they introduce (see @Thomas Gass answer for an example), but your existing content won't be modified or removed. – theChrisKent Aug 11 '17 at 14:38
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As a short answer There is no issue on site content,

But before you decide to activate the SharePoint Server Publishing feature or Community Site feature for a team site you should first be aware of the following:

  • Once the publishing feature is activated the ‘Save site as a template‘ option will be unavailable below Site Action.
  • Deactivate publishing features will not show back the ‘Save site as a template‘ option.
  • You’ll not be able to ‘Save site as a template‘ by any means.
  • Any workaround on the internet to ‘Save site as a template‘ from Publishing Site or from a site that has ever had publishing features enabled is unsupported and often doesn’t work.

let’s summarize the above points:

  • The publishing site can’t be saved as a template.
  • The enterprise wiki site can’t be saved as a template.
  • The team site with Publishing feature enabled can’t be saved as a template.
  • The site with Community Site feature can’t be saved as a template.
  • The site that has ever had Publishing or Community Site features enabled can’t be saved as a template.

For more details check my article at MISSING SAVE SITE AS TEMPLATE IN SHAREPOINT

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One thing it will definetley cause is that you won't be able to save any sites as templates - though as far as I know, you can still save individual Lists and Libraries as templates.

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