An MDN topic driver coordinates and leads documentation activities on MDN for a particular topic area. They stay informed about new developments in their topic area, whether in Mozilla, standards bodies, or other technology companies, as appropriate. They do not have to do all documentation work related to their topic themselves, and in fact, they are encouraged to gather a group of contributors interested in the topic, and delegate tasks among the group. See the Topic drivers page for a list of topic areas and current topic drivers.
Why be a topic driver?
Being a topic driver provides an opportunity to be or become deeply immersed in a topic, and to have a strong impact on how that topic is presented on MDN. You might use this expertise in your current job, or to help you attain a different job.
In addition, as a topic driver, you can be a driving force to improve the quality of the Web.
Becoming a topic driver
To become a topic driver for a topic that doesn't have one yet, you first need to meet certain qualifications:
- Expertise with the topic
- Active contributor to the topic (at least once a month)
- Ability to communicate with a diverse, geographically distributed community
Once you've met those requirements, you can post on the MDN discussion forum that you'd like to become the driver for a given topic, with an explanation of what topic you'd like to drive and an overview of your qualifications. If you meet the qualifications, we'll work with you to get you set up and trained in the basics of how to use the new privileges at your disposal.
Tip: If a topic doesn't have a topic driver, and you want to become the topic's driver, just start acting like that topic's driver! If you do a good job at it, you can practically be ensured that we'll beg you to stay on in the role!
Helping an existing topic driver
For topics that already have drivers, you can still be a big help! Most topics are large and broad enough that having many people contributing to the documentation and sample code is of incredible benefit. In fact, having multiple viewpoints on a topic is almost certainly going to improve the overall coverage of the topic.
- Add new examples and improve any that are weak.
- Update articles based on changes to specifications or implementation details.
- Help coordinate discussions on the mailing lists.
- Help monitor the content for spam, errors, and so forth.
Are topic drivers different than mentors?
Both role are very close and have the same kind of privileges and responsibilities. The difference is mainly in their commitment. For a given topic, topic drivers lead the documentation and its content where mentors support and empowered the community of contributors around that topic. They are complementary and work hand in hand most of the time.
The topic driver role comes with a number of important responsibilities. Among them:
- Track specifications and implementations of the technology to know when the documentation needs to be updated.
- Coordinate the writing community contributing to the documentation for the topic, to ensure that work gets done and that people don't accidentally document the same thing twice.
- Share with the MDN community the progress and state of the documentation work, by participating in discussions on the MDN discussion forum, and so forth.
- Contribute as much writing time as you reasonably can; you don't have to do all of it, but it's helpful if you can do some!
In addition to the privileges available to all authenticated users on MDN (such as reverting changes, topic drivers have these additional privileges:
- Move pages or trees of pages
- Upload and manage file attachments
- Edit KumaScript macros
Leaving the role
After you become a topic driver, you don't have to stay in the role forever. Your interest, priorities, and available time may change, and that's OK. If you foresee that you won't continue as a topic driver (or you realize that you have already stopped), please take the following steps:
- Contact Eric Shepherd, the MDN Documentation Lead, to notify him that you are stepping down as topic driver.
- If possible, ask someone else who is an active contributor in your topic area to step into the topic driver role. If that person agrees, notify the MDN Documentation Lead of the new person taking the role.
If you haven't been active on MDN (or on the discussion forum) in two months, you might be contacted to confirm that you want to continue as topic driver. Topic drivers who are inactive for three months, or do not respond in a reasonable time when contacted, may be removed from their role.