If you're interested in contributing to MDN, and you're looking for topics to write new content about, this article will help you. It's a rather open-ended process, with several stages:
- Find a topic that is needed and that interests you.
- Talk to MDN writers to let them know that you're interested in working on the topic. You don't need their approval to work on a topic, but it's a good idea to coordinate with other people who are working on related things.
- If necessary, get in touch with technical experts who can help you with the technical content.
- Write the article or articles.
- Ask for technical review.
- Ask for editorial review.
Some of these phases are iterative; for example, you may have several conversations with MDN staff writers or technical experts, at various points in the process of writing and reviewing one or more articles about a topic.
Find a topic
There are a few places to look for topics to work on.
When someone submits a request for new or updated docs on MDN, the staff team reviews it, determines whether the work is suitable to be done by a new contributor, and assigns a mentor to help. See How to resolve a mentored documentation request for details of how to find and pursue one of these requests.
Prioritized doc topics
The MDN staff writers organize their work in agile sprints. You can view the MDN Content team's issue backlog to see the user stories that are currently prioritized. Items that are labeled P3 or P5 are good ones for volunteer contributors to pick up, as the staff team is unlikely to get to them any time soon. If you're interested in contributing to any of these items, see the Talk to MDN writers section to start a conversation about it.
Some Mozilla code changes are flagged in Bugzilla as needing developer documentation, using the "dev-doc-needed" keyword. These issues are usually specific to Mozilla product code, and require some familiarity with the codebase to address. See How to resolve a dev-doc-needed bug for details.
Talk to MDN writers
The main channel for discussion of MDN content is the MDN discussion forum. Even if you know the name of an individual who is concerned with the topic you're interested in, it's a good idea to post any discussions on the forum, so that they can be shared by the rest of the community. If you don't know the name of an individual to ask, posting an inquiry on the forum is a good way to find out who to talk to.
If you're working on a mentored documentation request, you can interact with the mentor via comments in the bug record; in this case, Bugzilla is the preferred communication channel, so that all activity around the request is captured in one place.
Talk to technical experts
In order to start documenting a topic, you may need to find some technical experts on that topic. (If you are a technical expert on the topic you're documenting, either this step does not apply, or you probably already know who else to talk to.) As part of your conversations with other MDN writers, be sure to ask for pointers or introductions to technical experts.
When approaching technical experts for information, try to make it easy and efficient for them to help you. Ask if there is existing information in Bugzilla records, mailing list archives, standards specifications, test cases, and so on, if you weren't able to get these leads from MDN writers. After you have done your best to make sense of the existing information, bring specific questions to the expert. Questions like "The spec talks about X, but doesn't seem to address Y" are easier for an expert to respond to than "I'm documenting the FooBar API. Can you tell me about it?"
Write the article
For the mechanics of creating an article, see How to create and edit pages. Depending on the type of article, we might give more specific guidance:
- API references
- Page types
- How to write Mozilla interface reference documentation
- How to document a CSS property
- How to write an article to help people learn about the Web
- How to write and reference a Glossary entry
- How to create learning pathways
Ask for technical review
If you haven't found a technical expert yet (or even if you have), see How to recruit a technical reviewer.
Be sure that the Technical review flag is ticked. In the MDN Editor UI, it appears near the bottom under Review needed?
Ask for editorial review
You can ask for an editorial review by posting on the MDN discussion forum. Be sure that the Editorial review flag is ticked. In the MDN Editor UI, it appears near the bottom under Review needed?