AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

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AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby RGB » Sun Feb 03, 2013 5:48 pm

As part of the preparatives for Apache OpenOffice 4.0, a new user guide is being prepared. If you want to help the project but you are not a programmer, this is your opportunity!

Are you a "power user"? Help us writing!

Are you a new user? Help us proofreading what it is already written! Tell us if the guide is clear!

If you are not a native English speaker, don't worry! We have many people that can check your grammar! Also, you can help the project by translating the guide to your language!

If you want to help on giving Apache OpenOffice the best user documentation ever, please contact us on the doc mailing list at doc@openoffice.apache.org
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby Hagar Delest » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:00 pm

For those who wants to check the list with their browser, the links are here: http://openoffice.apache.org/mailing-li ... ist-public
Or the Mail Archive interface: http://www.mail-archive.com/doc@openoffice.apache.org/
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby acknak » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:10 pm

I don't see any discussion there of my #1 question: Why do we need a new user guide? There is already a very high-quality set of user guides for OOo; what is the purpose in making a new one?

And, while we're on the subject, my #2 question: Do we have any assurance that a manual is the best way to help users? Most users I know are severely allergic to reading a manual.
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby Hagar Delest » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:19 pm

I've to admit that I've never really read the OOo/AOO manual!

The online version may however help. I sometimes give the url of the wiki pages when there are interesting instructions and screenshots.
Is there any statsitics about the download rate of the PDF that are currently in the help section?

I'm wondering if the new user guide is to avoid the problem of the license and apply an ASF compatible one.
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby RoryOF » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:21 pm

#1: I think the existing manual will serve as a template for the new writers, who may have better writing skills than computer/OpenOffice skills; as writers it is to be hopes that they can read the existing manual, try out the subjects there, and either transfer the text or generate their version of it.

#2: once again, a manual serves as a template for OpenOffice. Would you like to be given a version of OpenOffice with the task of writing (definitive?) documentation and nothing to guide you? I certainly wouldn't!

Whether the revision/new writing is a manual or a wiki or an online help can be decided/will emerge, but the presence of a template cannot but be helpful.

 Edit: Don't forget also that there will be many Symphony code insertions, together with some User Interface changes, which will require documentation and/or adjustment of existing detail in manuals. 
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby Hagar Delest » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:35 pm

RoryOF wrote:Don't forget also that there will be many Symphony code insertions, together with some User Interface changes, which will require documentation and/or adjustment of existing detail in manuals.

I tried to download a dev version with those new features but couldn't find anything else than AOO350m1(Build:9611) - Rev. 1400866 from Oct. 2012. If we want to draw some contributors, we have to make the latest versions more easy to find. NB: I checked the confluence wiki. Is this really the last version? Where can we see the panel it's talked about?
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby RoryOF » Sun Feb 03, 2013 6:48 pm

Thread pointer sent you by PM. Perhaps you'll post a markmail or gmane thread - I'm going offline now for a time.
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby RGB » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:22 pm

# 1: the user manuals in existence were developed by ODFAuthors, a third party organization. Nothing wrong with that, but the attempts to carry on the 3.3 manuals updating them to 3.4 died away several month ago. The reasons for that are many, but analyse them will not change the fact: nobody was working on freely available AOO user guides. Also, there are several planned changes on the UI being developed, the most important a side bar similar to the one available on Symphony (the changes are not merged yet, so they are not visible on the dev builds).

# 2: user manuals are just another way to help users, together with forums, mailing lists and all that. At least, we will have some urls to show when answering basic questions ;)

Hagar Delest wrote:I'm wondering if the new user guide is to avoid the problem of the license and apply an ASF compatible one.

Yes and no. Even if an Apache licensed documentation is a plus, a third party user manual with a non Apache license was not the problem: the lack of an updated user guide was the real issue.

Right now, the documentation is being build on the wiki, following a previously discussed structure. I wrote most of the content you'll find today so for sure there are several grammar errors, but there are users already correcting them.
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby acknak » Sun Feb 03, 2013 7:42 pm

Thanks, RGB! I appreciate the time you're putting into this.

RGB wrote:... a non Apache license was not the problem: the lack of an updated user guide was the real issue. ...

Ahh, so the license on the existing manuals doesn't allow for modification--we can't just take the existing manuals and do the updates. Is that it?
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby floris v » Sun Feb 03, 2013 9:02 pm

My interpretation is that the user guide wasn't updated after the transfer of the code to Apache, not because of license issues but because of a shortage of people willing to write the updates.
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Re: AOO User Guide: Call for Volunteers

Postby RGB » Sun Feb 03, 2013 10:10 pm

IANAL, so take this with a grain of salt. The ODFAuthors license allows to "fork" their documents, but not to change their license: only the original author can relicense a work. That means that any ODFAuthors document or a fork of it needed to be developed outside the Apache infrastructure. Again, this was not the real problem: there was an attempt to continue the work under ODFAuthors but nothing happened beyond a (not really different from the 3.3 version) "getting started" guide. For a number of reasons those efforts faded away quickly.

I see this idea for an "in house" documentation as an opportunity for a fresh start, building something easy to maintain and extend.

We need people writing about Calc, Impress, Draw and Base (and people reviewing what I wrote), but also short guides for specific task to collect under the "cookbook" section will be really useful. If an author of a guide on this forum wants to donate their work under an Apache license, it will be really great!
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