Web Platform Doc Sprint
August 28th 2013, Zurich, Switzerland!

Followers of the WebPlatform.org effort will remember that we ran our groundbreaking first European Web Platform Doc Sprint on February 8-9 in Berlin, Germany. This went down well, and a lot of good work was done on the CSS property and API documentation. The latest good news is that we are running another Doc Sprint — this time in Zurich, Switzerland, on August 28th!

Our new Doc Sprint is being run to coincide with Switzerland’s premier front end developer conference, Frontend Conference Zurich, which happens in the two days after the sprint. Use this as a great opportunity to attend a great conference, and make a great contribution to front end web documentation, all in one trip!

Aims of the Doc Sprint

Logo of Web Platform Doc Sprint

Doc Sprints are great places to have a great and geeky time, make new
friends, and meet old ones. At this event:

  • Beginners will learn how to get started as WebPlatform.org contributors
  • Those more experienced can dive in and make great uninterrupted progress on content
  • Great new ideas will form and grow through collaboration, including demos, plugins and more
  • Bugs will get fixed on the spot
  • Food and drinks (including but not limited to: beer) will be provided throughout the day
  • Swag will be tossed into the crowds
  • Winners will be crowned and prizes raffled away
  • A lot of fun is waiting for attendees!

The main focus topics at this event will be CSS properties and HTML elements/DOM, but if you would rather work on something else inside the WebPlatform.org documentation remit, we are more than happy to accommodate you! If you want to check up on what is ok to work on and suggest ideas, please tell us via the public mailing list.

Doc Sprint Venue and Sponsors

This Doc Sprint is organized by Adobe and being held at the awesome Colab Zurich, who are hosting the event as a sponsor and contributor to WebPlatform.org. Find full address details and directions on their website at http://colab-zurich.ch.

Sign me up!

Please sign up for the event at our Eventbrite page. We are looking forward seeing you in late August in Switzerland!

Credit Where Credit is Due: Content Attribution and Community

One of Web Platform Docs’ core tenets is attribution. Attribution is as central to our mission as our founding principles, the three pillars of Pragmatism, Inclusion, and Consensus.

So, just what is attribution? In our case, it is keeping track of who has contributed what, and sharing that information with our users. Web Platform Docs tracks attribution in two key ways: for content submissions by individuals, we log every edit by user name; for content contributed in bulk by organizations, or transferred over from another project like MDN or MSDN, we explicitly note the original source.

As an open collaborative project, attribution is critical from a legal, practical, and motivational perspective.

On the legal side, our license is CC-BY, or Creative Commons Attribution. When users agree to the site license, we all agree to honor this. Failing to provide attribution, or removing past attribution, is a violation of the letter and spirit of this license. Note that there are a couple of exceptions to this.

On the practical side, attribution is used for fame and blame. Fame is praising the original contributor for their content, so people know who to credit and thank when they are reading, learning from, or reusing the content; it also helps us to think about who to ask to do future work. Blame is the flip-side of the same coin… it helps users (and reusers) to evaluate any possible bias on the part of the original contributor, as well as identifying contributors who need guidance (and spammers). Provenance is a powerful and versatile tool.

On the motivational side, we are lucky enough to have many primary bulk content contributors (such as Google, Microsoft, Mozilla, and Opera), and we hope to have large numbers of community contributors over time. In addition to altruism, part of what motivates these contributors is that well-deserved fame. Remove that attribution, and you undermine motivation, and the project suffers. Even people who don’t want notoriety per se still have a sense of fairness, and may be discouraged if their contributions are not afforded equal treatment; potential contributors may be either encouraged or discouraged by seeing how contributions and attributions are handled.

For existing resources, of course, attribution itself is not enough; they must be willing to contribute their content to Web Platform Docs. Where the source material isn’t already available under a compatible license, we need  to seek an agreement with the owners to reuse it under our license. Even where licenses are compatible, such as on a site that uses CC-BY, we want to ask that source to use their material first, so we maintain our reputation as a good citizen of the web documentation ecosystem.

So, we encourage all of our contributors to always get permission and give credit when adding content, and only to remove existing attribution after community discussion. And we invite our users to feel free to reuse our content with confidence, knowing just where the material came from. For more detail, you can read our guidelines on external attribution.

The 1st European Doc Sprint is Feb 8+9 in Berlin!

People all over the web are contributing great ideas and tools, and the momentum for viable, open, global web standards is growing every day. Unfortunately disparate, inconsistent, and outdated information still needs to be collected and perfected in one place we all can rely on.

WebPlatform.org is an idea that is coming into being through corporate sponsors, open web stewards, and — most importantly — individuals who are taking charge and creating a workspace for quality documentation. Everyday people volunteer their ideas and their time and build great content in a single place. But we still have a lot to do.

Logo of Web Platform Doc Sprint

One way we get folks inspired is through our Doc Sprints. These concentrated days of documentation work allow people to get started, really get stuck in, and make rapid progress. They also provide direct face-to-face contact between community members who previously only chatted online. Doc Sprints are places with lots of great ideas flying around. Bugs get addressed on the spot. Mini projects spring up and get prototyped and utilized right away. But mostly, it’s a time to gather together individuals who care about the web to work towards common goals.

So without further ado … it is a privilege to announce that the very first European Doc Sprint is taking place, in Berlin, on February 8-9, hosted by Adobe.

The main focus will be on improving WebPlatform.org content, but in addition we also want to put weight on encouraging web community managers to run their own Doc Sprints. If you are a web community manager and would like to organize a Web Platform Doc Sprint of your own, we would love you to join us in Berlin so we can give you the information you need to get started! Make sure you select the appropriate ticket category on registration so we can have your special Doc Sprint Starter Kit prepared for you.

Join us in Berlin. And if you can’t be there in person, please join us on the Freenode IRC channel #webplatform. We are looking forward to seeing you at the first ever European Doc Sprint!

Agenda, more information and registration: