Docs Team 2

The legacy of the Documentation Curators

Documentation Curators team steward Sofie Toft reflects on the team's achievements, and what lies ahead for the curators.

Sofie Blogpost
Written by Sofie Toft Kristensen

The Documentation Curators Community Team have been hard at work for years now - managing, organising, and curating the Umbraco Documentation, resolving contributions, and certainly getting the Community more aware and involved! Now, team steward Sofie would like to share with you what the future has in store for the Curators.

An amazing and one-of-a-kind journey has come to an end…

After almost 5 amazing years, we have decided to retire the Documentation Curators community team. 

Why? The short answer is that the team has fulfilled the purpose they set out with and that it is time to look for new ways to engage the community with the Umbraco Documentation. The decision has been made within the team after we had some time to reflect on our achievements - we all agreed that the original purpose of the initiative was complete.


Want the long answer as well? Then keep reading…


The team started out with several purposes in mind. One of them was to experiment with how the community could be more closely involved with Umbraco HQ. Would it be possible to have a focused team of community members augmenting Umbraco HQ in running the open-source project? 🤔

As the Umbraco Documentation is open-source just as much as the Umbraco CMS, this proved a perfect platform to experiment with a community team, as the documentation was lacking a fair bit back then. So, this became another purpose the team started out with: to manage the quite large GitHub repository - the UmbracoDocs - which had become a bit stale, it was unstructured, and it was hard to find what you needed. It had become quite obvious to most that the documentation was lacking some attention, love, and care.

Three white people raising their fists and smiling against a white tent background

The Documentation Curators all together for the first time as a team at Codegarden 2018 - Marc is the little one on Damiaans shoulder.

On top of that, the GitHub repository also had a ton of unanswered and unresolved contributions, and it was clear to all that something needed to be done! Someone needed to step in and start curating all the valuable contributions made to the Umbraco Documentation over the years.

This is when the Documentation Curators set out on a quest to get the repository sorted and curate the Umbraco Documentation in a friendly manner.


Baking successful documentation

As we started chipping away at the Issues and PRs and started cleaning up the documentation in general, more and more people began to contribute and help out. The Curators really felt that their new roles were making a difference.

Docs Curators Team Community Teams Visit 2022

The team at the Community Teams Visit to HQ this summer

Now, many months and many, many Issues and PRs later, the UmbracoDocs GitHub repository is in a pretty good place. Every community contribution is met with an answer within 24 hours, and most are even reviewed and published within just a few days! Back when the Curators set out, this was all handled by them. Today though, it's a bit different.

Most of the curating and work around the incoming contributions is now handled by the Umbraco HQ documentation team; the HDTV team - with the occasional help from the members of the HQ D-team.

The experiment of the Documentation Curators has proven successful. So successful in fact, that as Umbraco HQ has grown, the documentation has become baked into its core and there is a dedicated HQ team to manage it. 

If that’s not a fantastic success story, I don’t know what is!


The legacy - what does the team leave behind?

For 4½ years the Documentation Curators have been pulling their weight when it has come to curating, managing, and structuring the official Umbraco Documentation. The team has had a huge impact on the documentation that we have today and the platform that it lives on. Not only have they helped and encouraged contributors when they’ve suggested changes or written new material, but they have also greatly contributed to Umbraco and the community:

Some key achievements with the documentation itself by the team:

  • Showed HQ the way to do docs
  • Introduced HQ to the user perspective of docs
  • Removed references to Umbraco 4
  • Added a Style Guide with automatic checks
  • Introduced a couple of Templates for writing documentation
  • Intern program - a new way to get involved with the community team
  • Cleaned up “Coming soon…” references in the documentation
  • Introduced labels on the GitHub repository
  • Improved and expanded the contribution guidelines for the documentation
  • Implemented option to create tips, notes, and warnings in the articles

The community has submitted more than 1700 PRs and 400 Issues - and the Documentation Curators have been directly involved in 40% of the Issues submitted and more than half of all the PRs 🤯

The total number of contributors on the documentation repository is today 477 - a number which has TRIPLED during the Curator's reign!

I think we can safely conclude that this initial experiment involving the community more in the work we do at Umbraco HQ was a great success!

Docs Team Umbracotees

The Documentation Curators flashing their Umbraco Tees during an UmbracoTees Friday.

Less than a year after the Curators set out on their journey, another community team was formed: the CMS PR team. The Packages team followed not long after that, and today we have 7 different community teams, all ensuring that we, at Umbraco HQ, stay close to the community and that the work we do is a reflection of this relationship.

This of course also means that we are not closing the door between the Umbraco Documentation and the community. We still need your input and your expertise - we just need to figure out, what that could look like and where we can find the most value for the community and for Umbraco HQ.


The road ahead for documentation and community

As Umbraco HQ has matured so have the documentation and the processes around producing documentation. When looking for a way to involve the community with the documentation today, perhaps we need to look at it in a different direction than what we’ve done so far.

We could use a “test the docs” approach and create a community team(?) with the main objective of creating a “Sample Kit” similar to the StarterKit, based on samples and tutorials from the Umbraco Documentation.

We could also create a “Sounding Board” with a mix of community and Umbraco HQ members in order to figure out where we should focus our efforts around the documentation. 

There are many different paths to choose between, as this is by far an exhaustive list.

Are you sitting on a brilliant idea, in which to involve the community with the Umbraco Documentation? Please let us know at - we would love some input on this!

One thing is for sure, and this is that the Umbraco Documentation would not be the same today without the umbazing work done by the Documentation Curators. They did it all for you. They held the documentation in trust for the community, and now that responsibility can be fulfilled by HQ. Their work here is done.

But…“Once a docs curator, always a docs curator” - the team members will still be around informally to help out, and we also have a couple of projects that we need to wrap up.

THANKS and a massive H5YR!

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