Contributing to the Knative documentation

First off, thanks for taking the time to contribute!

The following are guidelines for contributing to the Knative documentation. These are just guidelines, not rules. Use your best judgment, and feel free to propose changes to this document in a pull request.

Before you begin

Code of conduct

Knative follows the Knative Code of Conduct. By participating, you are expected to uphold this code. Please report unacceptable behavior to knative-code-of-conduct@googlegroups.com.

Contributor license agreements

We’d love to accept your contributions! But before we can take them, you need to fill out the Google CLA. Important: You must fill out the CLA with the same email address that you used to create your GitHub account.

Once you are CLA’ed, we’ll be able to accept your pull requests. This is necessary because you own the copyright to your changes, even after your contribution becomes part of this project. So this agreement simply gives us permission to use and redistribute your contributions as part of the project.

Note: Your contributions are verified using the email address for which you use to sign the CLA. Therefore, setting your GitHub account to private is unsupported because all commits from private accounts are sent from the noreply email address.

Style guide

Knative documentation follows the Google Developer Documentation Style Guide; use it as a reference for writing style questions.

Contributing to the documentation

Reporting documentation issues

Knative uses Github issues to track documentation issues and requests. If you see a problem with the documentation, submit an issue using the following steps:

  1. Check the Knative docs issues list before creating an issue to avoid making a duplicate.
  2. Use the correct template for your new issue. There are two templates available:
    • Bug report: If you’re reporting an error in the existing documentation, use this template. This could be anything from broken samples to typos. When you create a bug report, include as many details as possible and include suggested fixes to the issue. If you know which Knative component your bug is related to, you can assign the appropriate Working Group Lead.
    • Feature request: For upcoming changes to the documentation or requests for more information on a particular subject.

Note that code issues should be filed against the individual Knative repositories, while documentation issues should go in the knative/docsrepo. If the issue is specific to the https://knative.dev website, open the issue in the knative/websiterepo.

Working group

The Knative Documentation Working Group meets weekly on Tuesdays and alternates between a 9am PT and a 4:30pm PT time to accommodate contributors in both the EMEA and APAC timezones. Click here to see the exact dates on the Knative working group calendar. If you’re interested in becoming more involved in Knative’s documentation, start attending the working group meetings. You’ll meet the writers currently steering our documentation efforts, who are happy to help you get started.

Getting started

There are a couple different ways to jump in to the Knative doc set:

You should keep a friction log of your experience and then use that to open your first set of PRs. Examples:

  • What was hard for you?
  • Did you stumble on something because it wasn’t clear?
  • Was a dependency not mentioned?

A few pointers and other considerations

  • Think about how you can improve the documentation as a whole.
    For example, how can you fix the issue you found so that others don’t run into the same challenges?

  • Are there multiple places that could be fixed?

    • Are there other pages that you should apply your update?

    • Would it help if there was a link to more or related information on a the page? On a related page?

  • Was the title or description misleading? Did you expect to find something else?

  • If you find something and don’t have the bandwidth to open a PR, make us aware of the pain point and open an Issue.

Submitting documentation PRs - what to expect

Here’s what generally happens when you open a PR against the knative/docs repo:

  1. One of the assigned repo maintainers will triage the PR by assigning relative priority, adding appropriate labels, and performing an initial documentation review.
  2. If the PR involves significant technical changes, for example new features, or new and changed sample code, the PR is assigned to a Subject Matter Expert (SME), typically an engineer working on Knative, for technical review and approval.
  3. When both the technical writers and SMEs are satisfied with the quality of the writing and the technical accuracy of the content, the PR can be merged. A PR requires two labels before it can merge: lgtm and approved.

    • The SME is responsible for reviewing the technical accuracy and adding the lgtm label.

    • The Knative technical writers are who provide the approved label when the content meets quality, clarity, and organization standards (see Style Guide).

We appreciate contributions to the docs, so if you open a PR we will help you get it merged. You can also post in the #docs Slack channel to get input on your ideas before creating a PR.

Putting your docs in the right place

There are currently two general types of Knative docs, either contributor related content, or external-facing user content.

Choosing the correct repo

Depending on the type of content that you want to contribute, it might belong in one of the Knative code repositories (knative/serving, knative/eventing, etc.) or in knative/docs, the Knative documentation repo.

  • Contributor-focused content

    • Documentation: Includes content that is component specific and relevant only to contributors of a given component. Contributor focused documentation is located in the corresponding docs folder of that component’s repository. For example, if you contribute code to the Knative Serving component, you might need to add contributor focused information into the docs folder of the knative/serving repo.

    • Code samples: Includes contributor related code or samples. Code or samples that are contributor focused also belong in their corresponding component’s repo. For example, Eventing specific test code is located in the knative/eventing tests folder.

  • User-focused content

    • Documentation: Includes all content for Knative users. The external-facing user documentation belongs in the knative/docs repo. All content in knative/docs is published to https://knative.dev.

    • Code samples: Includes user-facing code samples and their accompanying step-by-step instructions. User code samples are currently separated into two different locations within the knative/docs repo. See the following section for details about determining where you can add your code sample.

Determining where to add user focused code samples

There are currently two categories of user-focused code samples, Knative owned and maintained and Community owned and maintained.

  • Knative owned and maintained: Includes code samples that are actively maintained and e2e tested. To ensure content currency and balance available resource, only the code samples that meet the following requirements are located in the docs/[*component*]/samples folders of the knative/docs repo:

    • Actively maintained - The code sample has an active Knative team member who has committed to regular maintenance of that content and ensures that the code is updated and working for every product release.
    • Receives regular traffic - To avoid hosting and maintaining unused or stale content, if code samples are not being viewed and fail to receive attention or use, those samples will be moved into the “community maintained“ set of samples.
    • Passes e2e testing - All code samples within docs/[*component*]/samples folders must align with (and pass) the e2e tests.

Depending on the Knative component covered by the code sample that you want to contribute, your PR should add that sample in one of the following folders:

  • Eventing samples: /docs/eventing/samples
  • Serving samples: /docs/serving/samples

  • Community owned and maintained samples: Code samples that have been contributed by Knative community members. These samples might not receive regular maintenance. It is possible that a sample is no longer current and is not actively maintained by its original author. While we encourage a contributor to maintain their content, we acknowledge that it’s not always possible for certain reasons, for example other commitments and time constraints.

While a sample might be out of date, it could still provide assistance and help you get up-and-running with certain use-cases. If you find that something is not right or contains outdated info, open an Issue. The sample might be fixed if bandwidth or available resource exists, or the sample might be taken down and archived into the last release branch where it worked.

Choosing the correct branch

It is likely that your docs contribution is either for new or changed features in the product, or for a fix or update existing content.

  • New or changed features: If you are adding or updating documentation for a new or changed feature, you likely want to open your PR against the master branch. All pre-release content for active Knative development belongs in master.

  • Fixes and updates: If you find an issue in a past release, for example a typo or out-of-date content, you likely need to open multiple and subsequent PRs. If not a followup PR, at least add the “cherrypick labels” to your original PR to indicate in which of the past release that your change affects.

For example, if you find a typo in a page of the v0.5 release, then that page in the master branch likely also has that typo.

To fix the typo:

  1. Open a PR against the master branch.
  2. Add one or more cherrypick-#.# labels to that PR to indicate which of the past release branches should also be fixed. Generally, we only maintain the most recent numbered release.
  3. If you want to complete the fix yourself (best practice), you then open a subsequent PR by running git cherry-pick [COMMIT#] against the release-0.5. Where [COMMIT#] is the commit of your merged PR.

    Note: Depending on workload and available bandwidth, one of the Knative team members might be able to help handle the git cherry-pick in order to push the fix into the affected release branch(es).

For a list of the available branches in the knative/docs repo, see Documentation Releases.

Assigning owners and reviewers

For both documentation and code samples, you should assign your PR to a single owner (”Assignee”). It’s best to set the “Assignee” and include other stakeholders as “Reviewers” rather than leaving it unassigned or allowing Prow to auto assign reviewers.

Use the /assign command to set the owner. For example: /assign @owner_id

For code samples, initially set the owner of your PR to the SME who should review for technical accuracy. If you don’t know who the appropriate owner is, nor who your reviewers should be for your PR, you can assign the current working group lead of the related component.

If you want to notify and include other stakeholders in your PR review, use the /cc command. For example: /cc @stakeholder_id1 @stakeholder_id2

Docs contributor roles

Because contributing to the documentation requires a different skill set than contributing to the Knative code base, we’ve defined the roles of documentation contributors separately from the roles of code contributors.

If you’re looking for code contributor roles, see ROLES.

Member

Established contributor to the Knative docs.

Members are continuously active contributors in the community. They can have issues and PRs assigned to them, might participate in working group meetings, and pre-submit tests are automatically run for their PRs. Members are expected to remain active contributors to the Knative documentation.

All members are encouraged to help with PR reviews, although each PR must be reviewed by an official Approver. In their review, members should be looking for technical correctness of the documentation, adherence to the style guide, good spelling and grammar (writing quality), intuitive organization, and strong documentation usability. Members should be proficient in at least one of these review areas.

Requirements

  • Has made multiple contributions to the project or community. Contributions might include, but are not limited to:

    • Authoring and reviewing PRs on GitHub in the Docs or Website repos.

    • Filing and commenting on issues on GitHub.

    • Contributing to working group or community discussions.

  • Subscribed to knative-dev@googlegroups.com.

  • Actively contributing to 1 or more areas.

  • Sponsored by 1 approver.

    • Done by adding GitHub user to Knative organization.

Responsibilities and privileges

  • Responsive to issues and PRs assigned to them.

  • Active owner of documents they have contributed (unless ownership is explicitly transferred).

    • Addresses bugs or issues in their documentation in a timely manner.

Becoming a member

First, reach out to an approver and ask them to sponsor you so that you can become a member. The easiest way to do this is using Slack.

If they are supportive of your membership, your sponsor will reach out to the Knative Steering committee to ask that you be added as a member of the Knative org.

Once your sponsor notifies you that you’ve been added to the Knative org, open a PR to add yourself as a docs-reviewer in the OWNERS_ALIASES file.

Approver

Docs approvers are able to both review and approve documentation contributions. While documentation review is focused on writing quality and correctness, approval is focused on holistic acceptance of a contribution including: long-term maintainability, adhering to style guide conventions, overall information architecture, and usability from an engineering standpoint. Docs approvers will enlist help from engineers for reviewing code-heavy contributions to the Docs repo.

Requirements

  • Reviewer of the Docs repo for at least 3 months.

    • Proficient in reviewing all aspects of writing quality, including grammar and spelling, adherence to style guide conventions, organization, and usability. Can coach newer writers to improve their contributions in these areas.
  • Primary reviewer for at least 10 substantial PRs to the docs, showing substantial ability to coach for writing development.

  • Reviewed or merged at least 30 PRs to the docs.

  • Nominated by an area lead (with no objections from other leads).

    • Done through PR to update an OWNERS file.

Responsibilities and privileges

  • Responsible for documentation quality control via PR reviews.

    • Focus on long-term maintainability, adhering to style guide conventions, overall information architecture, and usability from an engineering standpoint.
  • Expected to be responsive to review requests as per community expectations.

  • Mentor members and contributors to improve their writing.

  • Might approve documentation contributions for acceptance, but will ask for engineering review for code-heavy contributions.

Becoming an approver

If you want to become an approver, make your goal clear to the current Knative Docs approvers, either by contacting them in Slack or announcing your intention to become an approver at a meeting of the Documentation Working Group.

Once you feel you meet the criteria, you can ask one of the current approvers to nominate you to become an approver. If all existing approvers agree that you meet the criteria open a PR to add yourself as a docs-approver in the OWNERS_ALIASES file.