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Revision 414171 of How to help

  • Revision slug: Project:MDN/Contributing/How_to_help
  • Revision title: How to help
  • Revision id: 414171
  • Created:
  • Creator: DavidWalsh
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Revision Content

{{draft}}

There are lots of ways you can contribute to the Mozilla Developer Network, and not all of them require that you be able to write. Here you'll find a great guide to the kinds of things you can help with, as well as links to lists of specific tasks that need to be taken care of. Whether you're a casual programmer, a core Firefox developer, or one of those Web developers with a million followers on Twitter, you'll find a way to help make MDN better.

How can I help?

Here are some specific suggestions for the kinds of help you might be able to provide, based on the kind of MDN user you are.

Report a problem

While you're reading on MDN, there's always the possibility you'll spot something wrong. There are several possibilities, of course, including missing or inaccurate content, confusing writing, bad formatting, or code samples that don't seem to work. Now, obviously, since MDN is a wiki, the best thing you can possibly do is fix problems you spot yourself. But maybe you don't know the answer or are in the middle of rushing to the hospital or something, and need to jot down the problem so someone can look at it later.

As is the case with all things Mozilla, you report a documentation problem by filing a bug. That's when filing a documentation request bug comes in. Our handy documentation request form will gather the information needed to get us started on fixing the issue.

Of course, our writing community is busy, so sometimes the quickest way to see a documentation problem resolved is to fix it yourself...

Fix an error

Among the easiest things you can do to help is copy-edit existing content. If you see something wrong, fix it! If you think something is unclear, try to make it better. We love it when people fix typos and do the little things to make MDN just a little better, because this is the kind of detail work that makes content shine!

A few helpful resources:

Add or update page tags

Page tags help categorize and organize information, and help us identify pages that need special attention. Tags are also used to mark pages that are obsolete and may need to be deprecated or even deleted. It's incredibly useful to have good, clean tags on pages, and you can help!

There are several types of problems with tags you can help fix:

If you see one (or more) of these problems, you can help by logging into MDN, then clicking the Edit button at the top right of the MDN window. Once the editor loads up, scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you'll see the tag box, which looks like this:

No tags
All articles should have at least one tag, and usually more than one. Generally, at a minimum, articles should have at least a "category" tag and a "topic" tag. Often other tags are appropriate as well, but if you can help us ensure that at least these are present, you'll be a documentation hero!
Incorrect tags
If you're looking at an article about HTML and it's got the "JavaScript" tag on it, that's probably wrong! Similarly, if an article is about Mozilla internals but has the "Web" tag on it, that's probably wrong too. Remove these tags (and, if missing, add the right ones). This type of problem includes misspelled tags. "JavaScrpit" or "Javascript" for example (the latter actually will match, since tags are case-insensitive, but it's just not right!).
Missing tags
If an article has some tags, but not all of the appropriate ones, feel free to add more. Maybe you're looking at a page in the JavaScript reference, which is correctly tagged with "JavaScript" but has no other tags. Since it's a reference page, this should also have the "Reference" tag. You're invited to add it!
Tag spam
This insidious beast is the most revolting tag problem of all: some Web vermin has deposited its droppings in the tags for a page, leaving a page with tags like "Free warez!" or "Hey I was browsing your site and wanted to ask you if you could help me solve this problem I'm having with Flash crashing all the time". These need to be deleted posthaste!
 

The tag editing box showing three tags.

Adding a tag

To add a new tag, simply click in the box and start typing:

Screen thot: the tag box after typing a new tag but before pressing Enter.

Here we see the three already existing tags (as button-like objects) and our new tag as unadorned text. When we press Enter or Tab key (or comma), the new tag is committed to the list, and the list looks like this:

Screen shot: the tag box with our new tag in place.

For a list of recommended tags, as well as a usage guide for specific tags, please see MDN tagging standards.

Removing a tag

There are two ways to remove a tag: you can click on the "x" icon next to its name in its button, or you can click to its right in the editor box and press the delete key on your keyboard.

Committing your changes

Your changes are not saved unless you click one of the save buttons at the top of the editor window. Scroll back to the top of the window if you don't see the buttons, then click one of the two green save buttons. Now your change has been committed.

Add or update content

There are always things that can be added or updated on MDN. Whether it's all-new documentation for a sparkling new API or a revision to an older API that's changed subtly, you'll find lots of opportunities to help.

Content reviews

When writers add or make changes to articles, they have the option of marking the article as being in need of review. That is, they can indicate that someone should look over the article to ensure its quality. There are two kinds of review:

Technical review
A technical review is where someone with strong knowledge on the topic covered by the article reads the article and ensures that it is technically and factually accurate. They either take notes and send them along to the writer(s) or make corrections in-page themselves (the latter being the preferable approach).
Editorial review
An editorial review is one in which the reviewer reads the article and corrects typos, grammatical mistakes, and formatting or layout problems. This also involves ensuring that the article matches the MDN style guide.

Articles in need of review have one or both of these banners across the top of the page:

Screen shot: Review banners

Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to read over the article and review its contents. Obviously, you should only technically review articles whose technology you understand well, and similarly, you should only perform an editorial review if you're reasonably good at the language in which the article is written.

Finding articles to review

While you can certainly stumble upon articles for which reviews are needed while browsing MDN, there's also a way to get an actual list of flagged articles:

Quick review

If you read over the article and there aren't any problems, you don't have to open the article editor to mark the article as "reviewed." Instead, you can use the "quick review" box at the bottom of the page. It looks something like this:

Screen shot: Quick review box

Simply toggle on the checkbox(es) for the reviews you've performed and click "Confirm reviews". If you're not logged into MDN, you'll be prompted to log in. Then  this will update the article's review flags appropriately.

In-editor review

On the other hand, perhaps you've reviewed the article but had to make some changes, so you're in the editor. You can mark off the article as having been reviewed here, too.:

Screen shot: In-editor review box

In this case, you need to toggle off the checkboxes for the reviews you've performed, then save the article.

Add a code sample

---

Revision Source

<div>
  {{draft}}</div>
<p>There are lots of ways you can contribute to the Mozilla Developer Network, and not all of them require that you be able to write. Here you'll find a great guide to the kinds of things you can help with, as well as links to lists of specific tasks that need to be taken care of. Whether you're a casual programmer, a core Firefox developer, or one of those Web developers with a million followers on Twitter, you'll find a way to help make MDN better.</p>
<h2 id="How_can_I_help.3F">How can I help?</h2>
<p>Here are some specific suggestions for the kinds of help you might be able to provide, based on the kind of MDN user you are.</p>
<h2 id="Report_a_problem">Report a problem</h2>
<p>While you're reading on MDN, there's always the possibility you'll spot something wrong. There are several possibilities, of course, including missing or inaccurate content, confusing writing, bad formatting, or code samples that don't seem to work. Now, obviously, since MDN is a wiki, the best thing you can possibly do is fix problems you spot yourself. But maybe you don't know the answer or are in the middle of rushing to the hospital or something, and need to jot down the problem so someone can look at it later.</p>
<p>As is the case with all things Mozilla, you report a documentation problem by filing a bug. That's when filing a <a href="https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/form.doc">documentation request bug</a> comes in. Our handy documentation request form will gather the information needed to get us started on fixing the issue.</p>
<p>Of course, our writing community is busy, so sometimes the quickest way to see a documentation problem resolved is to fix it yourself...</p>
<h2 id="Fix_an_error">Fix an error</h2>
<p>Among the easiest things you can do to help is copy-edit existing content. If you see something wrong, fix it! If you think something is unclear, try to make it better. We love it when people fix typos and do the little things to make MDN just a little better, because this is the kind of detail work that makes content shine!</p>
<p>A few helpful resources:</p>
<ul>
  <li><a href="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN/Contributing/Getting_started">Getting started</a></li>
  <li><a href="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN_editing_interface">Using the editor</a></li>
  <li><a href="/en-US/docs/Project:MDC_style_guide">Style guide</a></li>
</ul>
<h2 id="Add_or_update_page_tags">Add or update page tags</h2>
<p>Page tags help categorize and organize information, and help us identify pages that need special attention. Tags are also used to mark pages that are obsolete and may need to be deprecated or even deleted. It's incredibly useful to have good, clean tags on pages, and you can help!</p>
<p>There are several types of problems with tags you can help fix:</p>
<p><span id="cke_bm_239C" style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span>If you see one (or more) of these problems, you can help by <a href="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN/Contributing/Getting_started#Logging_into_MDN">logging into MDN</a>, then clicking the Edit button at the top right of the MDN window. Once the editor loads up, scroll down to the bottom of the page, where you'll see the tag box, which looks like this:</p>
<dl>
  <dt>
    No tags</dt>
  <dd>
    All articles should have at least one tag, and usually more than one. Generally, at a minimum, articles should have at least a "<a href="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN/Contributing/Tagging_standards#Category" title="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN/Contributing/Tagging_standards#Categories">category</a>" tag and a "<a href="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN/Contributing/Tagging_standards#Topic" title="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN/Contributing/Tagging_standards#Topic">topic</a>" tag. Often other tags are appropriate as well, but if you can help us ensure that at least these are present, you'll be a documentation hero!</dd>
  <dt>
    Incorrect tags</dt>
  <dd>
    If you're looking at an article about HTML and it's got the "JavaScript" tag on it, that's probably wrong! Similarly, if an article is about Mozilla internals but has the "Web" tag on it, that's probably wrong too. Remove these tags (and, if missing, add the right ones). This type of problem includes misspelled tags. "JavaScrpit" or "Javascript" for example (the latter actually will match, since tags are case-insensitive, but it's just not right!).</dd>
  <dt>
    Missing tags</dt>
  <dd>
    If an article has some tags, but not all of the appropriate ones, feel free to add more. Maybe you're looking at a page in the JavaScript reference, which is correctly tagged with "JavaScript" but has no other tags. Since it's a reference page, this should also have the "Reference" tag. You're invited to add it!</dd>
  <dt>
    Tag spam</dt>
  <dd>
    This insidious beast is the most revolting tag problem of all: some Web vermin has deposited its droppings in the tags for a page, leaving a page with tags like "Free warez!" or "Hey I was browsing your site and wanted to ask you if you could help me solve this problem I'm having with Flash crashing all the time". These need to be deleted posthaste!</dd>
  <dt>
    &nbsp;</dt>
</dl>
<p><img alt="The tag editing box showing three tags." height="80" src="https://mdn.mozillademos.org/files/5291/tagbox1.png" width="785" /></p>
<h3 id="Adding_a_tag">Adding a tag</h3>
<p>To add a new tag, simply click in the box and start typing:</p>
<p><img alt="Screen thot: the tag box after typing a new tag but before pressing Enter." height="74" src="https://mdn.mozillademos.org/files/5293/newtag-beforereturn.png" width="784" /></p>
<p>Here we see the three already existing tags (as button-like objects) and our new tag as unadorned text. When we press <kbd>Enter</kbd> or <kbd>Tab</kbd> key (or comma), the new tag is committed to the list, and the list looks like this:</p>
<p><img alt="Screen shot: the tag box with our new tag in place." height="81" src="https://mdn.mozillademos.org/files/5295/newtag-afterreturn.png" width="784" /></p>
<p>For a list of recommended tags, as well as a usage guide for specific tags, please see <a href="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN/Contributing/Tagging_standards">MDN tagging standards</a>.</p>
<h3 id="Removing_a_tag">Removing a tag</h3>
<p>There are two ways to remove a tag: you can click on the "x" icon next to its name in its button, or you can click to its right in the editor box and press the delete key on your keyboard.</p>
<h3 id="Committing_your_changes">Committing your changes</h3>
<p>Your changes are not saved unless you click one of the save buttons at the top of the editor window. Scroll back to the top of the window if you don't see the buttons, then click one of the two green save buttons. Now your change has been committed.</p>
<h2 id="Add_or_update_content">Add or update content</h2>
<p>There are always things that can be added or updated on MDN. Whether it's all-new documentation for a sparkling new API or a revision to an older API that's changed subtly, you'll find lots of opportunities to help.</p>
<h2 id="Content_reviews">Content reviews</h2>
<p>When writers add or make changes to articles, they have the option of marking the article as being in need of <strong>review</strong>. That is, they can indicate that someone should look over the article to ensure its quality. There are two kinds of review:</p>
<dl>
  <dt>
    Technical review</dt>
  <dd>
    A technical review is where someone with strong knowledge on the topic covered by the article reads the article and ensures that it is technically and factually accurate. They either take notes and send them along to the writer(s) or make corrections in-page themselves (the latter being the preferable approach).</dd>
  <dt>
    Editorial review</dt>
  <dd>
    An editorial review is one in which the reviewer reads the article and corrects typos, grammatical mistakes, and formatting or layout problems. This also involves ensuring that the article matches the <a href="/en-US/docs/Project:MDN/Style_guide">MDN style guide</a>.</dd>
</dl>
<p>Articles in need of review have one or both of these banners across the top of the page:</p>
<p><img alt="Screen shot: Review banners" src="https://mdn.mozillademos.org/files/5297/reviewbanners.png" style="width: 771px; height: 114px;" /></p>
<p>Your mission (if you choose to accept it) is to read over the article and review its contents. Obviously, you should only technically review articles whose technology you understand well, and similarly, you should only perform an editorial review if you're reasonably good at the language in which the article is written.</p>
<h3 id="Finding_articles_to_review">Finding articles to review</h3>
<p>While you can certainly stumble upon articles for which reviews are needed while browsing MDN, there's also a way to get an actual list of flagged articles:</p>
<ul>
  <li><a href="/en-US/docs/needs-review/editorial" title="/en-US/docs/needs-review/editorial">Articles that need editorial review</a></li>
  <li><a href="/en-US/docs/needs-review/technical" title="/en-US/docs/needs-review/technical">Articles that need technical review</a></li>
</ul>
<h3 id="Quick_review">Quick review</h3>
<p>If you read over the article and there aren't any problems, you don't have to open the article editor to mark the article as "reviewed." Instead, you can use the "quick review" box at the bottom of the page. It looks something like this:</p>
<p><img alt="Screen shot: Quick review box" src="https://mdn.mozillademos.org/files/5299/quick-review.png" style="width: 437px; height: 215px;" /></p>
<p>Simply toggle <strong>on</strong> the checkbox(es) for the reviews you've performed and click "Confirm reviews". If you're not logged into MDN, you'll be prompted to log in. Then&nbsp; this will update the article's review flags appropriately.</p>
<h3 id="In-editor_review">In-editor review</h3>
<p>On the other hand, perhaps you've reviewed the article but had to make some changes, so you're in the editor. You can mark off the article as having been reviewed here, too.:</p>
<p><img alt="Screen shot: In-editor review box" src="https://mdn.mozillademos.org/files/5301/review-in-editor.png" style="width: 374px; height: 94px;" /></p>
<p>In this case, you need to toggle <strong>off</strong> the checkboxes for the reviews you've performed, then save the article.</p>
<h2 id="Add_a_code_sample">Add a code sample</h2>
<p>---</p>
Revert to this revision