Request for Ubuntu Doc Leadership

Hannie Dumoleyn lafeber-dumoleyn2 at
Thu Mar 17 17:34:11 UTC 2016

May I suggest to divide the meeting with the docs team in 3 parts: 1. 
desktop documentation, 2. server guide, 3. community help wiki (30 
minutes each). By doing so, attendants can decide whether to follow each 
part or not.
Btw, I suppose the time in Doodle is UTC?

Op 16-03-16 om 19:30 schreef David Planella:
> Hi all,
> Apologies for the delay, which was on my end. We've been discussing 
> the topic on our team call and we'd like to propose a meeting with the 
> docs team. While the original e-mail covers the issue in great detail, 
> and we've got some ideas, we'd like to get the doc's team views and 
> come up together with a plan moving forward.
> I'd like to propose some dates for a meeting, to be reviewed around 
> the end of the week to pick a date. If you are a member of the docs 
> team or if you are interested to help, please choose the date(s) that 
> work for you. If you are willing to attend and the timezones are an 
> issue, please let me know as well, and I can add an extra choice:
> And an initial agenda (feel free to edit):
> Cheers,
> David.
> On Fri, Mar 4, 2016 at 12:03 AM, Elizabeth K. Joseph <lyz at 
> <mailto:lyz at>> wrote:
>     Hello community team,
>     We are approaching you on behalf of the Ubuntu Documentation team to
>     ask for assistance with the issues the team is undergoing.
>     The Ubuntu Documentation team maintains the following documentation:
>     – The desktop documentation at
>     – The serverguide at
>     – The community help wiki at
>     We maintain documentation for how this documentation is maintained at
>     The team is loosely organized in three subteams, each team taking care
>     of one of the components mentioned above. In each team we have only a
>     few people that can be considered active; some of those only barely.
>     The state of all of the components can be described to be more or less
>     stalled and in desperate the need of more contributors. With the
>     string freeze for Documentation just a couple weeks away (March 17),
>     at this point we risk not having updated documentation for 16.04,
>     particularly for the Desktop.
>     In the case of the community help wiki, the situation is even worse;
>     not only has it encountered spam attacks lately (which only mean more
>     work for the admins, who have been manually applying documentation
>     "patches" that contributors send to the ubuntu-doc mailing list), it
>     also has a lot of content that is completely outdated, useless and
>     unstructured. Due to the spam attacks, most community members can't
>     currently take any action to improve the situation.
>     Following a meeting with the Community Council[0], we have begun to
>     identify what we feel the team needs, both in the short and long term.
>     We believe one of the major underlying issues to this situation is the
>     teams inability to make decisions. The active and not so active team
>     members all have their own opinion on which tasks are sensible to take
>     on a certain component. This is especially problematic as sometimes we
>     have had volunteers signed up to do the work, but the team has wanted
>     to consider the issue further, ultimately stalling the process. When
>     most efforts to improve the situation seem to be in vain, it is no
>     wonder the team is not attracting new contributors either.
>     As the Documentation team does not have a leader to steer the overall
>     direction, there is no way to easily resolve the problem.
>     Additionally, for various reasons, nobody from the current
>     contributors is willing to step up and take the leadership position.
>     Our request and recommendation for the community team at Canonical is
>     to bring some leadership to the team from outside of the team.
>     Ideally, the person would be a Canonical employee who would have part
>     of their paid work assigned to working with the Documentation team. We
>     think the request is fair considering the documentation is important
>     and useful to many Ubuntu users and thus valuable to Canonical.
>     We believe that a stable, fresh and adequately objective leadership
>     could help the team resolve the underlying issues and ultimately,
>     start growing the contributor base again. As part of and in addition
>     to leading and guiding the team, the leader could take on the
>     following tasks:
>     – Work as a mediator with the members to resolve disagreements, be
>     able to reach a consensus and get along with the work
>     – Work with other Canonical employees, encouraging them to take part
>     more in writing documentation, especially with the components they are
>     working with themself
>     – Work with the Canonical IS team to resolve technical difficulties
>     the community help wiki is experiencing
>     We feel their role as a leader on this team would not be because they
>     work for Canonical, but because they are able to do the organizational
>     work that is needed. Anyone able and willing to do this would be
>     welcomed by us and the rest of the Documentation team. It's simply
>     come to a point on the team today where we are not able to fill this
>     role with a volunteer contributor.
>     We do not think that the recommended arrangement has to be permanent
>     unconditionally. Building up a team and getting it working by itself
>     sometimes takes only time. We hope that with the leadership, the team
>     can build up the contributor base and ultimately, find a new leader
>     from within. If a leader is nominated, we will happily schedule a
>     checkup meeting to see how things are going, if there are other
>     actions that should be taken to grow and build up the team and if the
>     outside leadership is required any more.
>     Finally, we'd be happy to chat with anyone wishing to take on this
>     role about the history of the team to give them some context for how
>     we got to where we are. The Documentation team has always been quite
>     small and has struggled to get contributors, but it was with this LTS
>     release that we have finally hit a breaking point.
>     Sincerely,
>     Elizabeth K. Joseph (pleia2) and Pasi Lallinaho (knome)
>     [0]
>     --
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