Contributor's 101

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Apache OpenOffice always welcomes new contributors. No matter what your level of experience is, you can make a valuable contribution to documentation.

Here are some ways you can help: writing, reviewing, editing, research, maintenance, artwork. See How can I help? below.

Documentation note.png To participate, you need to be a "self-starter". We'll explain how to use the website and the wiki, how to follow our processes, and so on, but we don't hand out "assignments" or do much mentoring on the practice and skills of technical writing. We'd love to teach you, but we just don't have people with both the time and knowledge to do so. We'll tell you in general what needs to be done, but it's up to you to choose what to do and then do it.

Getting Started

  • Join the Apache OpenOffice documentation mailing list, or any of the others depending on your interest.
  • Ask questions on the mailing lists if you're not sure about how to do something.

High Priority Tasks

  • Research to determine what questions (from the user forums) are not well answered by existing user documentation and might be good candidates for how-tos or perhaps covered in the user guides.

Ongoing Tasks

  • Translations to and from other languages.
  • Cleaning up and converting Developer docs to formal User Guides - see Category:Documentation/Candidate
  • New HowTos. e.g. tips and tricks with Base or any other module that is not something that would be in a user guide but might be useful. For example, a HowTo for creating a Flow Chart using Draw.
  • Other specific features-oriented, task-oriented, or audience-oriented type short manuals/tutorials/how-tos. See this page and linked pages for some ideas.
  • Review the Documentation wish list.

Contributing in the Wiki

This information may be out of date and may be superceded by developments at Apache OpenOffice.

Anyone can contribute in the Wiki by following this simple procedure:

  1. Set up a user ID on the OpenOffice.org Wiki.
  2. Read the Wiki Editing Policy.
  3. Look around on the Wiki and pick a topic that interests you. See in particular the pages in the Category:Documentation/NeedsRework.
  4. Edit the page and make the changes and edits as needed, and save.

If the changes involve a rewrite or other major work, discuss it on the Documentation Mailing list first to let the team know what you are doing. A large re-write project will need some co-ordination, and tracking.

How can I help?

Here are some ways you can help.

Writing

If you are good at organizing information, explaining concepts, and writing instructions, you can help most by writing.

Ideally you are an experienced technical writer and have good English skills. But neither of those ideals are requirements, because other people can edit your English. Or you can write in another language for translation into English.

Reviewing

Don't feel confident of your writing skills or your level of knowledge about Apache OpenOffice itself? Reviewing documentation (especially docs aimed at new users) is a great way to start. Is it written well for the audience? Are the instructions correct? Is anything missing? Let us know what needs fixing, or correct it yourself.

Editing

Sometimes called "proofreading" though the two are not the same. Here you do need good English skills. In addition to correcting errors, editors help make the docs more readable.

Research

Writers often don't have time to make sure existing docs are complete and up to date. You can help by reading the forums and mailing lists to see what questions users have. Is info missing from our docs, or just hard to find? Do we need a new FAQ, a how-to, or a section in a user guide?

Maintenance

Keep pages up to date with changes in new releases of Apache OpenOffice.

Artwork

Help writers by capturing, cropping, and labeling screenshots, or creating diagrams and other artwork.

Other

This information may be out of date and may be superceded by developments at Apache OpenOffice.

We also need help with things like:

  • Maintaining the Documentation Project website
  • Administering and monitoring changes made in the Wiki
  • Building and exporting books using Wiki Collections
  • Answering questions raised on the Wiki Talk pages

New ideas are welcome. Is there a better way to do something? Let the project team members know.

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