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Contributing

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Contributions of all kinds, including discussion, corrections, additions, and improvements, are welcome! We hope you'll join and help, in small ways or large. We gladly credit all contributors. Here are few notes before you jump in.

Please Help

If you’ve found this guide useful, you have many ways to help:

  • The simplest thing you can do to contribute is join the Slack channel or add to our list of common questions, which helps the community and guides what contributors can focus on. We encourage you to ask AWS questions and help others!
  • File issues if it’s clear something needs to be improved and you’re not able to make a pull request.
  • Pull requests with changes are always welcome. Please keep them small and focused, so we can add items individually, and review the conventions below. If you want to make a larger change, try to discuss it in Slack.
  • Review or comment on existing issues and pull requests if you have expertise.
  • If you have deep expertise, we may ask you to be an editor or expert. Editors and experts are assigned roles that help us review the Guide. Join Slack to discuss this.

Pull Request Etiquette

  • Keep changes as small as is practical. Do not make changes to multiple sections at once, alter whitespace in broad ways, etc.
  • Neutrality: If you have an affiliation related to what you are changing, please disclose it.
  • Please do your best to review current issues and pull requests to avoid duplication.

Writing Style

  • Link to references: If you are adding an item, whenever possible, try to add a link or reference to relevant discussion or reference pages.
  • Be brief: Avoid long expository paragraphs; it’s better to link to a blog. (We are open to linking to your own blog, if it’s the best source.)
  • Include opinions and common practice: Thoughtful opinion is helpful. If there are multiple conventions or ideas on something held by experts, mention the different ones.
  • Clarity: Strive for consistency with conventions listed here, but clarity is most important.

Writing Conventions

When you contribute, keep in mind these conventions:

  • Abbreviations: For AWS service names, we use the abbreviation throughout the guide if it is more common, e.g. EC2 and not Elastic Compute Cloud. We also omit “Amazon” at the front of product names, e.g. EMR and not Amazon EMR. If an abbreviation is convenient but not always used, e.g. AZ instead of Availability Zone, either use the full term once per section/paragraph and abbreviate subsequent usages or do not abbreviate it at all.
  • Terms that appear for the first time in boldface are defined there in a brief summary, with a link if possible to what is probably the best page for that concept. It’s also fine to boldface key statements that guide the eye.
  • Boldfaced headings: When possible and appropriate, begin bulleted items with a boldfaced summary, as illustrated here. This helps the reader skim the contents.
  • Links:
    • Related content that elaborates or gives more detail is included via standard inline hyperlinks within the text.
    • References or citations backing some info that is already explained in the text is in [brackets] at the end of the item (with link for web pages, no link for books).
  • Emoji icons: These icons aid readability; use them whenever appropriate (usually at the start of bulleted items), as listed in the legend.
  • Typographical conventions:
    • Use Unicode open and close quotes “like this” and not "like this".
    • Use oriented apostrophes (Unicode’s, not ASCII's).
    • Use em dashes — like this (not two hyphens -- like this).
  • Section conventions: When appropriate please add sections covering these items (where X = EC2, S3, etc.):
    • X Basics: The elementary facts you should know if you don’t yet know anything about the service.
    • X Alternatives and Lock-In: Should you be using this service or something else? Is the decision an important one that locks you in?
    • X Tips: Everything you should know about the service, from big stuff to details.
    • X Gotchas and Limitations: Common problems, large and small, as well as misconceptions and quirks.
    • Not all sections need to follow the above conventions exactly.
    • Note we try to make sections uniquely titled, so GitHub links to Markdown section anchors don’t collide and are stable.

Note we keep consistent formatting in Markdown via markdownfmt. We run admin/reformat.sh to do this, but you don’t have to worry about it unless you really want to.

Editorial Process

  • Roles:
    • Project leads: Own overall quality of the Guide, direction, and process.
    • Editors: Contributors own specific sections or aspects of the Guide, reviewing PRs and/or writing. requires expert knowledge.
    • Experts: People with expert knowledge in various areas, who have agreed to review or help on demand with tougher questions or PRs.
    • Contributors: Everyone who contributes content or helps one way or another.
  • All PRs are reviewed by an editor and for non-trivial changes, a project lead, usually in that order, but it can be reversed for expediency.
  • In addition, anyone with relevant knowledge is encouraged to review/comment on PRs.
  • Both editors and project leads are responsible for checking for style or problems.
  • Trivial changes (including copy editing) may be merged in directly by project leads or editors.

Contact

If you have concerns or additional ideas of ways to help, e-mail og-aws@lexikon.io or use Slack to contact the project leads.