Contributor's 101

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The Documentation Project always welcomes new contributors. No matter what your level of experience is, you can make a valuable contribution.

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

This page is out of date. We are working on updating it.

Getting Started

  • Join the Apache Mailing List. This is a general discussion list and includes a lot of technical discussion about the transition from Oracle to Apache as well as discussions about user support and documentation. Browse through the list's archives to get an idea of what's been going on since early June 2011.
  • You may wish to read the Transition Planning and the Documentation Plan sections of the Apache Community wiki, and perhaps get an account on that wiki.
  • Join the ODFAuthors Mailing List. Introduce yourself to the team, tell us where your strengths are, and how you would like to help. This list is where writers, editors, reviewers, and others discuss documents they are working on.
  • If you are interested in working on user guides, request an account on the ODFAuthors website by asking on the ODFAuthors Mailing List. Having an account lets you download draft files and upload reviewed files to the website. (Self-registration for an ODFAuthors website account is no longer possible, due to spam problems.)
  • Ask questions on one of the mailing lists if you're not sure about how to do something.

High Priority Tasks

  • Planning for future documentation needs and delivery methods as part of the overall user support services for Apache This discussion is taking place on the ApacheOOo Mailing List and the ApacheOOo Community wiki. See above for more information.

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

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

  1. Set up a user ID on the 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.


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.


Don't feel confident of your writing skills or your level of knowledge about 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.


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.


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?


Keep pages up to date with changes in new releases of


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


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.

Documentation Developers

The majority of the Documentation work is now coordinated and written here on the Wiki or on the OOoAuthors website. However, some site maintenance work is needed on the main Documentation Project website.

People with Developer status at the Documentation Project and CVS access to the Project's website can upload files directly to the Docs website and do other site maintenance duties. If you want to have Developer status, write to the mailing list and ask. This status is not granted automatically.

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