The first part is knowing you’re allowed to, and encouraged to contribute. I had no idea about this, and I feel this is the major restriction. People don’t know you can do this.
The next part is contributing. The official MDN guide is a treasured resource.
Here are the main points:
1. Don’t be afraid to make a mistake
There are others to clean up after you. The process works something like this: You edit a page. Next, the maintainers look at your changes (they are easy to revert).
If you’re not confident of the accuracy of your changes, you can ask for a review. This can be — a technical or an editorial review (or both).
The technical review checks the technical aspects — are your code samples correct, are you using the correct APIs, etc.
The editorial review checks your grammar.
The place to ask for a review is at the bottom of the page you’re editing.
2. Use the sandbox
While you don’t have to be afraid of making mistakes, please don’t test the editor on a live page. This sandbox exists to help you figure out how the editor works.
When you open it, it might look different — as more people try it. Feel free to mess with this page as much as you want.
3. Follow the style guide
This can be a pain to get through. Like all code you write in a team, the style guide helps maintain readability. Like every style guide, you don’t start knowing every rule — you get the basics and learn the rest as you keep going.
The most basic rule to stick with is to use the predefined formatting for the editor. It has the style guide built in. See the note and warning boxes below?
Further, there’s a document structure. Almost all pages look the same, because they follow the same structure. This gives immense power to the documentation: you know exactly which part of the page to look at, when looking for something specific. Like the style guide, this doc is massive.
Again, start small, look at a few existing documents, copy them and edit as you deem fit — you don’t have to start from scratch.
4. There’s a plethora of things you can do!
- Write documentation ( duh, that’ s what we’ve been talking about)
There’s more though. If you don’t want to write documentation, you could:
- Translate the documentation to your own language
- Write code — work on Kuma, the wiki platform
- File documentation bugs
Soon, you can end up like this
This is the bit I worked on. And just like that, my name’s forever in Mozilla’s Developer Wiki contributors.