Docathon 2021

The first Mattermost Docathon is being held from July 26th to August 6th 2021. Take a look at our blog post if you haven't already.

What's a Docathon?

A docathon is a hackathon for product documentation.

Why a Docathon?

Documentation isn't written in a vacuum, and it's important to see the customer’s documentation journey through the eyes of our Mattermost community. The best way to do that is to get our community involved! Documentation is also a great way to get started on your open source contribution journey as it's usually how you get to know the product.

Who can participate?

The Docathon is designed to provide opportunities for all contributors to get involved, whether new to open source or seasoned contributors. Help us solve technical tooling challenges. Write mobile steps for Mattermost messaging tasks. Correct inaccuracies and inconsistencies. Add or update screenshots, labeled images, animated GIFs, and videos. How do you want to improve the Mattermost product documentation?

Can Mattermost staff help?

Absolutely! Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Help us merge PR submissions: This includes helping us go through the PRs with the Docathon 2021 label, making sure PRs follow our style guide, and fixing any grammatical issues. This isn't an extremely rigorous process - we just want to make sure anything merged follows some standardization.

  • Help review technical content for accuracy: Actively monitor the ~Docathon 2021 channel, respond to questions, and engage community members who post with questions or concerns. You can also help by being open to contributors messaging you directly if they have questions and prefer not to ask in the public channel, and relay any feedback back to the Technical Writing team.

  • Help us with Linked In recommendations or endorsements for top contributors: This is particularly welcome in cases where, during PR reviews, you encounter Docathon contributors you want to network with and whose professional career you want to support.

  • Contribute your own content or ideas for either Mattermost product documentation, or the Docathon event itself!

Judging and prizes

One of our goals for this Docathon is for our documentation to benefit from great, high-quality contributions that really increase their value.

Contributors who contribute one or more merged PRs will receive a Mattermost swag pack. Contributors with 5+ merged PRs will receive LinkedIn and/or GitHub endorsements and recommendations from some of our professional tech writers and product managers.

The top five contributions will each receive 1 pair of AirPod Pro headphones.

So, how are the contributions assessed?

What's a "valid" contribution?

A valid contribution is one that isn't done just for the sake of submitting a PR, but one that fixes an error, improves existing content, or adds value to our product documentation. While there are no penalties for submitting invalid Docathon PRs, if you're not sure how to contribute, please ask us how to get involved - we're more than happy to help get you started.

What's a good contribution?

A good contribution delivers clear value. The problem space is relevant to Mattermost, the solution fits Mattermost's documentation technology stack, and there's a clear plan to move forward with the contribution and merge it into the repository.

Good contributions achieve one or more of the following goals:

  • Solves a known problem.

  • Fills an existing gap.

  • Offers a fresh perspective.

  • Clarifies, expands, supplements, illustrates, corrects, or updates existing content with imagery, examples, or recommendations based on real-world experience.

  • Requires minimum work to implement.

If you're contributing to our documentation with your own ideas (i.e., not based on existing GitHub issues) that's great! Please clearly describe the problem space you're addressing in your PR. This context is important and helps us evaluate incoming PRs effectively.

What's a great contribution?

As Mattermost reviews and evaluates Docathon contributions, we're looking for the following attributes:

  • Impact: The contribution is trying to solve something that's relevant to the Mattermost product documentation.

  • Quality: The contribution is useful, high-quality, and easy to merge into the codebase as-is or with minimum effort.

  • Ambition: The contribution addresses an issue in a better, faster, clearer, or simpler way than before.

  • Innovation: The contribution breaks new ground or offers documentation visitors something new or unexpected.

A great Docathon contribution has elements of all four attributes above, is not only highly relevant to Mattermost's interests, and a good fit for the product documentation, but also useful and easy to implement.

Great contributions aim to achieve one or more of the following goals:

  • Improve the user's product documentation journey in a meaningful, measurable way.

  • Elevate and/or breathe new life to existing content.

  • Introduce a faster, easier, and/or better way of doing, saying, or showing something.

We don't expect greatness from every contribution - copy-editing is as important as a huge body of work - but if you are taking on a large issue, these criteria might be helpful to keep in mind.