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Contributing Guidelines

Hi! Nice to have you with us. This guide will walk you through the steps you have to take if you want to contribute a word or some code to the project. Let’s go.

Before You Start

The contribution process currently relies on some knowledge of working with Github and writing in Markdown. We understand that this creates a barrier to entry for folks who haven't worked with either of those before. Long term, we hope to provide a solution that can minimise these sorts of barriers.

We also want to encourage you to dive into Github and Markdown even if you haven't before. We've collected a list of useful links that may help you understand both Github and Markdown:

Please remember that the contributing team is always here to help. No question is "too simple" or "too easy". We'd rather you ask, as someone else might want to know, too!

Below we describe two ways for you to get started: through issues or pull requests.

Note: We also have documentation that covers development and build processes, provides examples, frequently asked questions, and describes front matter configurations.

Contributing Words

Version 1: Issues

If you know a word that should be defined, but—for whatever reason—don’t feel confident writing the definition yourself (or maybe you disagree with an existing definition), please open an issue. We can then collectively figure out how to best get this word defined.

An issue might also be appropriate if you are unsure about some nuances of a definition you want to define. By opening an issue you start a conversation, and that is always a good thing!

If you are new to Github and feel unsure about what an issue should look like, see examples of a good first issue.

Version 2: Pull Requests

You got a definition and want to define it. That’s awesome. Let’s go. Currently, you need to fork this repository and open a pull request (PR) out of your fork. If that sounds like gibberish to you, Chaser Pettit wrote a great introduction to the workflow.

Working on Words

After you’ve forked the repo, you will need to write a definition. Good times. Hopefully.

Always remember that if you are unsure, you can first open an issue or create a PR with «WIP» in the title («WIP» stands for «work in progress») and ask for early feedback. For example, it might be called «[WIP] Propose definition for spirit animal».

For this tutorial we will take the word «Obsessive Compulsive Disorder», as it allows us to show some of the features.

  • Step 1: Create a file named in the definitions folder where we store all definitions.

    Replace word with the word or the phrase you are defining. Write it in all-lowercase letters with hyphens instead of spaces.

    In our example, we would create the file named (as it is already defined, you can have a look at the finished definition of «Obsessive Compulsive Disorder»).

  • Step 2: Populate the file you created.

    All definitions consist of two parts: front matter and content. Front Matter is a technical bubble for some structured data about your content. On our website you can find the complete documentation on Front Matter. Here’s a quick run down:

    Every definition needs to have the following meta information: title, slug, defined, and speech. Let's discuss what each of these mean:

    • title is a word or a phrase you are defining. In this example it's «Obsessive Compulsive Disorder».

    • slug is a string that we'll use to link to this word. It should be a URL-friendly, all-lowercase hyphenated version of the full title. In our example it's obsessive-compulsive-disorder.

    • defined flag can either be true or false. As soon as you set it to true, your definition will be visible on our website.

    • speech stores information about the word's part of speech. What kind of word you are defining? A noun? Or an adjective? That’s what speech is for. In our example it is a noun.

    This leaves us with the following front matter:

    title: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
    slug: obsessive-compulsive-disorder
    defined: true
    speech: noun

The finished definition of «Obsessive Compulsive Disorder» has some more content. We encourage you to take a look around, add things to the file with your word's definition, and see what happens on the page.

Pre-Made File Examples

We have created some examples that you can use as the baseline for your work. Take a look at the File Examples section of our documentation.

Related: When should I open an issue versus a pull request (PR)?

Get Help

If you've already tried reading through our documentation and are stuck, we're here to help and ask your questions: