Friday, December 10, 2010

Different ways to improve the documentation

If you use documentation, you can also improve it.

Whenever you seek help from the handbooks and get stuck, start taking notes. Write down every step that you take as you try to solve your problem. Don't do it later, because you'll forget the all-important details. After you find the solution, use your notes to improve the handbook. Once you develop this habit, it is a very easy way to help!

You don't have to be a member of a special team or get permission in order to help. Everyone with a account can help.

Here are ways to improve the handbooks that are available to anyone with a account:
  • Edit pages directly by clicking on the "Edit" tab. Most handbook pages are open to editing by users. We do have a number of pages that are "locked" for various reasons. Don't worry about mistakes. We keep revisions of all handbook pages so we can always go back to a previous version, if needed. 
  • Submit an issue to the "documentation" project to suggest an update or ask for feedback. See if an issue already exists for your suggestion; if so, you should improve the existing issue. For more details, see Documentation issue reports.
  • Comment on existing pages. You must be logged in (i.e. an authenticated user) to do this.
  • Add handbook pages. Presently, all authenticated users can add new pages. If you want your new page reviewed for navigation (where to place in the handbook hierarchy) or content after adding it, submit an issue with status "code needs review." For "missing" pages you feel should be created to cover a particular subject, do not create a nearly-blank stub page; instead, submit an issue with category "feature request." Be sure to familiarize yourself with the Documentation writer's guide and the Style guide.

More information

Here are some resources to help you out.
  • Familiarize yourself with the documentation guidelines.
  • Read Major handbook sections for a general overview of the handbooks and their structure.
  • Feel free to ask questions on the mailing list or in an issue report if you're unsure in making updates to the handbook.
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