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Re: Contributing to the project


Hello, Denise.

On Fri, May 7, 2010 at 11:32 AM, Denise Wood <phileinsophia@xxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Greetings Ubuntu Manual Folk!
> I thought I'd properly say hello - I rather worry I'd intruded in the
> meeting last night without introducing myself (I'm Synergetic on
> freenode).

Not at all -- we always appreciate input from anywhere we can get it.

> My name is Denise - I'm currently a final-year MA Linguistics student
> from the U.S. studying in Edinburgh, Scotland. I've been using Ubuntu
> since 2004 and have led a couple install days and helped numerous
> friends with installs. It's a fantastic operating system but I've not
> had the opportunity to contribute more than a few bug reports.
> I've worked a technical writer and really enjoy writing accessible
> manuals - I heard about the Ubuntu Manual team through a friend of
> mine who heard of it from one of Jono's podcasts and I thought it
> would be a fantastic way to get involved and give back to the
> community.

Excellent! We could use the help of some technical writers -- not only
in writing content but also in critiquing our style and helping us
improve it to better address our audience's needs.

One of the tasks I'd like to focus on during the next few weeks is
establishing a style guide.  Currently our style guide is just a
collection of notes I tossed together for a quick introduction to
LaTeX.  It's primarily technical material and doesn't cover writing
style, grammar, usage, voice, etc.  You can see the current version of
the style guide at http://files.ubuntu-manual.org/style-guide.pdf.

If you'd like to help improve and expand our style guide, you can add
some notes to this pad: http://pad.ubuntu-uk.org/ump-style-guide.  I
will probably send out an email a bit later this week about it so we
can really start working on it.

> One thing I thought might be improved is the "Become a Writer" link on
> the Ubuntu Manual page - it rather immediately sends you a page for
> getting an SSH key installing LaTeX and bazaar and such things - but
> it should have "Join our Community" first where they might find,
> perhaps, a friendly list of people contributing and the sub-projects
> they're working on and a list of things that could be done by people
> just joining. I just worry that some people might find the list of
> installation requirements a bit intimidating to be confronted with
> before even signing up and having an idea of how the community and
> project is organised.

I agree completely.  The current authors/editors page is a quite scary
to stumble across.  Currently it serves primarily as a link we can
point people to when they want to get started.  But a friendlier
introduction and overview would be much better.  I think the
instructions should be broken up into multiple pages as well.

> Hopefully I can be of help to the community - I look forward to
> getting to know you all!

Welcome to the Ubuntu Manual project!

--Kevin Godby