Helping with the Mozilla Developer Network is as easy as using your browser. If you have ever filled in a web form or used a text area to write a weblog post, you have all the browser skills you need to get started.
You are encouraged to help write, edit, review, and translate any documentation you find within the wiki. Please do so in the spirit of cooperative improvement, and do not be disappointed if someone else corrects or improves upon your contributions. We are all here to try to make Mozilla documentation much better (save for a few nasty spammers), so cooperation and helping one another is always encouraged.
Working with the site and community
The documentation community is a group, largely comprised of volunteers, with the goal of providing useful documentation to users of Mozilla products and the web in general. We are always happy to help new writers and editors get involved and encourage everyone to participate in helping to make this documentation the best it can be.
We are all aware that joining a new group can be difficult so here is a short list that may help you.
- Content is more important than style, grammar and even spelling.
- It is fine to make mistakes! You can simply edit the page again to fix it. In the worst case every change can be quickly and easily reversed, you can even do this yourself.
- No-one is going to be upset if you make a change to the page they created. Everyone in the documentation community has the same goal, the best documentation possible.
- Do not be upset if someone edits the same page you did shortly afterwards. Most likely it is because your edit showed up in the recent changes RSS feed and someone reviewing this feed realized there was something they could contribute.
- Sometimes your changes may be completely reversed. This is a very rare occurrence, and may be a good opportunity to introduce yourself to another member of the community.
- There are people in many different time zones participating in documentation, so if you do not get a reply immediately from your email, or on IRC please be patient.
- Mozilla employs a small friendly staff to manage the documentation process. They review all the changes made and will fix any style or wording issues, so don't be shy! If you make a mistake, someone will help fix it up.
We have drivers for specific topic areas. If you coordinate with them, your life as a contributor may be better!
Here is a short guide for creating and editing pages in the MDN wikis. You are welcome to practice your wiki skills in the Sandbox.
To edit a page, you need to log in using Persona.
At the top of every page, you will now see an "Edit" button. Clicking this link switches you into edit mode for the current page, where you can make and preview whatever changes you wish to make, then save them into the wiki. Once you save your edits, you will be able to see them immediately on the page. You can save your changes and close the editor by clicking "Save changes" or save and continue to work by clicking "Save and keep editing".
Note: You will not be able to save your changes if your browser has been configured to not send referrer information; in Firefox, be sure the
network.http.sendRefererHeader preference is set to its default value (at the moment it's "2"), otherwise you will be greeted with a "Permission Denied" page.
You can also point at a subtitle on a page and click the edit button that appears next to it to edit just that section.
Note: Section editing is currently disabled while we improve it.
Starting a new page
If you do not know where to put a new article, do not worry about it! Put it anywhere, and we will find it and move it to where it belongs, or merge it into existing content if that makes the most sense. You also do not need to worry about making it perfect. We have happy helper gnomes that will help make your content clean and luscious.
Using the WYSIWYG editor:
- Type the name of the article you want to create in the text of a page.
- Highlight the title and click the Link icon () in the editor's toolbar. The Update Link dialog opens, with the highlighted text in the Link To field.
- Insert "/en-US/docs/" (or another language code if you're creating a translated page) at the beginning of the URL field, then the title you want to give the article (this doesn't have to be the same as the link text).
- Click OK to create and insert the link.
If the page does not already exist, the link will be in red. If it does already exist, the link will be in blue. If you want to create a new page but the page title you want is already taken, check first if it makes more sense to help edit and improve the page that is already there. Otherwise, think of a different title for your new page and create a link for it.
When you want to add content to your new page, simply click on the red link you just created (after saving and closing the editor) and start writing. Remember to use the "Save" button in the editor's toolbar to save your work (be sure to save often if you are working on a long piece).
Page naming guide
For more information about creating and naming new pages, see our page naming guide.
Kuma, the Mozilla-developed software the Mozilla Developer Network uses, uses HTML as its markup language for the documentation. If you wish to see or edit the HTML content, you can do so by clicking the "Source" button in the toolbar while in edit mode. Click it again to return to the WYSIWYG editor.
Writing, editing, and reviewing
Here is a slightly longer introduction to the MDN for writers, editors, and reviewers.
The MDN is always interested in new content, so you are encouraged to write new articles on whatever topics we currently cover in the wiki. New content can be as simple as a one page tip or as complex as a book-length programming guide or reference. The amount of new content you contribute is entirely up to you.
There are lots of bugs in Bugzilla related to documentation; review the article on Tracking documentation issues for details on how to find and prioritize documentation bugs.
If you are going to undertake a large project, I suggest you join the MDN community and discuss it there first in case someone else is planning to start (or has already started) a similar project.
Refer to our writer's guide if you have questions about style or usage policies within the wiki.
Copy editing is always welcomed in this wiki, particularly to improve or correct writing style, grammar, or spelling. Please see our writer's guide for more information.
You do not need special privileges to edit the wiki; simply sign up for a free MDN account and dive right in!
Technical improvements and review are always welcome. If you are reading through a page and spot a technical error (be it in code or text), please feel free to correct it. If it is a controversial change, make a note in the "talk" page (accessed by clicking the "Talk page" option in the "More options" menu) and leave a note that outlines your reasons for the change.
We have a writer's guide outlining preferred writing style practices for the MDN wiki. If you have questions about usage and style that are not covered there, I recommend referring to the Economist style guide or, failing that, the Chicago Manual of Style.
Migrating old documentation
One longer ongoing subproject at the MDN is to migrate all currently existing developer documentation from the mozilla.org web site into the MDN wiki. The procedure is fairly simple:
- Pick a document you would like to migrate from the existing content list.
- Refer to the page naming guide and decide what the page or pages for that document should be called in the wiki.
- Create those pages and migrate the content, marking it up as best you can using the wiki markup reference as a guide.
- Delete the item from the existing content list.
- Add the item to the needs redirect list.
If you are keen on doing a comprehensive job on this, you will also:
- Use our search system to search for any links to the original document in the wiki, then change those links so they point at the new wiki page.
- Check for external redirects to the original document, and flag those redirects for deletion by adding the "Junk" tag to them.
Localizing the MDN
If you are interested in helping translate the documentation in any of the MDN wikis to another language, simply visit the relevant language's wiki and create or edit pages.
Existing localization projects
Currently the MDN has wikis for the following languages: Català,Čeština, 中文(简体), Deutsch, English, Español, Français, Italiano, 日本語, Magyar, Nederlands, Polski, Português, 한국어, 中文(正體), Русский, Suomi, Türkçe, فارسی.
How to start a new localization project
If you would like to start a new localization project for a language we do not currently have a wiki for, please read the localization projects page and follow the instructions there.
Resolving "edit wars" or other conflicts
If for whatever reason you end up in an "edit war" on a page, where two or more people are continually and repeatedly making and reverting changes, please try to resolve the conflict with the people involved first.
Should no resolution be possible, please bring it to the attention of either (ideally) the MDN mailing list or (as a last resort) the developer documentation lead. Other technical experts, writers, and editors will be consulted as required, and their expertise will be used to resolve the problem.
Requesting page deletions
Should you create a page by accident or stumble across a page you think should be deleted, mark it as such by adding the "Junk" tag to it.
Items tagged as Junk are checked periodically by wiki administrators and the pages it contains are evaluated and deleted when appropriate.
Joining the MDN community
Mailing list / newsgroup
View MDN forums...
We also hang out on the irc.mozilla.org server in the #devmo channel: #devmo on irc.mozilla.org.
The MDN and developer documentation is overseen by Eric Shepherd.