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Riseup Help Pages

This is the repository for the riseup help pages at

It is entirely static, but relies on a bunch of apache tricks for things like language negotiation. Riseup help uses a static website generator called amber to render the source files into html files.

To submit changes, please fork this repo and issue pull requests on github. If you don't know how to use git, you can submit changes via the github website (see "Editing on github" below for instructions).

Simple method - editing on github

Learning to use git can be very difficult. As an alternative, it is possible to contribute to riseup_help by directly editing pages through the github website. This method does not let you preview how the page will render, but it does allow you to contribute edits without needing to install any software.

First, you need to register a account. Then visit

To edit files:

  • Existing Files: You can edit an existing file by clicking on the file name and then clicking the "Edit" button in the file's toolbar (it looks like pencil). To save, type a commit message and hit the "Propose file change" button.
  • New Files: You can add a new page by clicking the "+" button at the end of the path breadcrumbs (e.g. "riseup_help / pages / chat / [+]" near the top of the page). When you are done editing the content, hit the "Propose new file" button.

Boom, you are done. one of the riseup birds will review the change request and either merge it right away or add comments.

Advanced method - using git and amber

Installing amber

In order to preview your edits to the content in pages you will need a program called amber.

To install on Debian or Ubuntu (Wheezy or later):

sudo apt-get install ruby ruby-dev build-essential zlib1g-dev
sudo gem install amber

To install on Mac, see below. Check for more information.

Previewing pages

After you have made changes, run this command in the riseup_help directory to completely re-render the entire site (takes a long time):

amber rebuild

When you are making changes, it is easiest to see a preview of these changes by running the amber server:

amber server

Then browse to http://localhost:8000. Any page you view this way gets re- rendered when it is loaded.

Putting it all together:

  1. Go to and click the fork button.
  2. Clone your fork locally: git clone ssh://
  3. Start the amber server: cd riseup_help; amber server
  4. Edit files in riseup_help/pages
  5. Preview changes in your browser using http://localhost:8000
  6. When satisfied, git commit, git push
  7. Go to and issue a pull request

One way you can refresh your repo with upstream before pushing:

git remote add upstream
git fetch upstream
git rebase upstream/master

You only need to run git remote add once. Alternately, you could set origin to be riseupnet/riseup_help and add your fork as a remote.


  amber/     -- amber configuration, stylesheets, layouts, etc.
  disabled/  -- draft pages or pages that are disabled.
  notes/     -- notes and todos.
  pages/     -- the source text for the website pages.
  public/    -- the rendered output (not committed to git).

The static content files in riseup_help/public are rendered from the content in riseup_help/pages. You edit pages in the pages directory, but never edit anything in the public directory.

Amber file structure

There are two ways to create pages:

A page might be represented by files with different language suffixes:


Alternately, a page might be represented by a folder. This method allows you to have sub-pages


In general, it is preferred to use the folder method.

Modifying Navigation

If you need to add or remove a top or side nav menu, you'll need to edit


Note that you will need to restart the amber server for changes to take effect.

Notes on markup

You can create pages in three different markup languages:

  • textile (suffix .text)
  • markdown (suffix .md)
  • haml (suffix .haml)

Most of the riseup help pages are written using textile. It is best to keep to textile for consistency.

Here is a brief overview of textile markup:

h1. heading 1
h2. heading 2

this is a paragraph

* this is a list
* another item in the list

"this is a link":

here is some *bold text*

For a complete reference, see

Amber adds an additional way to make links:

[[label -> page-name]]

Whenever possible, you should use this double bracket notation for creating links.

By using this double bracket link notation will automatically find the right path for the page with the specified name. Also, it will warn you if the page name is missing and it will ensure that the link is created with the correct language prefix. In haml, you can get the same effect using link 'label' => 'page'

The standard textile method of linking does not work well with non-latin languages, so it is recommended that you always use the amber method of forming links.

Setting page properties

Every file can have a "properties header". It looks like this:

@title = "A fine page"
@toc = false

continue on here with body text.

The properties start with '@' and are stripped out of the source file before it is rendered. Property header lines are evaluated as ruby. All properties are optional and they are inherited, including @title. To make a property not get inherited, use @this.propertyname = 'value' instead.

Available properties:

  • @title -- The title for the page, appearing as in an H1 on the top of the page and as the HTML title. Also used for navigation title if @nav_title is not set.
  • @nav_title -- The title for the navigation to this page, as well as the HTML title if @title is not set.
  • @summary -- Displayed under the title.
  • @toc -- If set to false, don't include a table of contents when rendering the file. This only applies to .text and .md files.
  • @layout -- Manually set the layout template to use for rendering this page.
  • @this.alias -- An alternate url path (or paths if the value is an array) where this page should be available.


For the most part, to create a new translation for a given page, copy en.text file to xx.text and edit the document (where xx is the language code of language you are translating into).

The language codes are as follows:

  • zh: Simplified Chinese
  • es: Spanish
  • en: English
  • pt: Portuguese
  • ru: Russian
  • de: German
  • fr: French
  • it: Italian
  • el: Greek
  • ca: Catalan

Only those languages are currently enabled. We are happy to add additional languages if there is sufficient interest.

In addition to the text of a particular page, the navigation items and footer text can be found in amber/locales/xx.yml.

When translating the text of a page you should only modify the label of the links but not the page names that the links point to. For example:

[[Security => security]]

Should be translated to:

[[Seguridad => security]]

But a simple:


Should NOT be translated.

The locale will be automatically added to the link, so there is no need to ever include it (e.g. the link [[Seguridad => security]] will link to The link [[Security => security]] could have also been written simply [[security]].

To identify translated pages that need to be updated, run ./ [language-code].

Or you can use this python program to do the job.

Installing on Mac

(I haven't tried this myself)

Ruby 1.9 or greater is required to run amber.

Mac OS 10.9 (Mavericks) or later is running ruby 2.0 and can work with amber out of the box. For earlier Mac OS releases, you need to upgrade the ruby that comes with the computer. The easiest way to do this is with homebrew. To install, open a terminal and type:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
brew install ruby

After ruby is at 1.9 or newer, then just run:

sudo gem install amber

Alternately, if you want different versions of ruby installed, consider:

Installing on Windows

Windows is not yet supported.