Ubuntu Help: what it should/shouldn't include

Matthew East mdke at ubuntu.com
Mon Aug 6 19:42:11 UTC 2007


Hi,

* Matthew Paul Thomas:
> Over the past couple of weeks I have noticed people extending Ubuntu 
> Help to cover things that perhaps it shouldn't.

{snip}

> For example, apply these principles to the Liferea newsreader.
> 1.  Liferea has a Help menu. Therefore, people will expect Liferea help
>      to be accessed from that Help menu. If Liferea help is put in
>      ubuntu-docs instead, most people who need that help *will not find
>      it*.
> 2.  Liferea, like dozens of other feed readers, is not installed by
>      default. Therefore, just as with those dozens of other feed readers,
>      instructions on using Liferea should not be shipped by default.

I think that you are oversimplifying the situation. From working with
Ubuntu documentation over a long period I've quickly discovered that the
task of integration of upstream and Ubuntu-specific documentation is
much more complicated than this.

What we're trying to do here is to ensure that the relevant information
(for applications, as well as other information) is easily obtainable
for the user who doesn't access the help through the help menu in a
particular application (and no, I'm not convinced that this doesn't happen).

That means that the manual for the particular program should be possible
to find from the front page of the Ubuntu Help Centre; where the program
has help which can be accessed in Yelp, that's pretty easy; and we
should do it.

Where the program's help is not accessible in Yelp or is complicated or
incomplete, we should certainly have a discussion about how to improve
that situation by talking to upstream, and plugging the hole where we can.

Obviously, the search results which you've outlined as absent are also
important; we should be trying to fix that too. But if someone types in
"Openoffice", "Word processing", or "Liferea" to the Yelp search bar,
the help centre should help them too.

Matt
-- 
http://www.mdke.org
gnupg pub 1024D/0E6B06FF

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