It’s no secret that the manual is a big mess and contains lots of outdated information and screenshots left over from the 2.4 era. Some sections do nothing more than tell you the same basic info you found in the tooltip, or simply don’t have any information about the tool at all because nobody ever bothered to write anything.
All of those problems inherently come from a user manual that is written by many people, some less experienced than others. Developers often have to document their features themselves, but we all know that they have much more important things to do.
But this is where you come in!
We’re looking for anyone who’d like to help us out in whatever capacity they like, be it fixing a single spelling mistake, or documenting every missing compositing node
There’s a fair amount of work to do, but at the moment our biggest issues with the manual are:
- Old information and screenshots (eg)
- Too much text! Some pages tell you far more than you need to know, or go completely off-topic (eg)
- Unfinished/blank pages (eg, eg)
- Pages in completely the wrong place (eg: ruler & protractor in the grease pencil chapter)
If you’d like to get involved, we could really use your help Check out http://blender.org/manual/about/contribute.html
Our goal is to have at least one person responsible for each chapter of the manual, letting them do whatever they see fit to make it better and keep it up to date (be it just fixing things, or rewriting it entirely)
In case you’re unaware, the Blender User Manual has moved from the old Wiki system to a new one at blender.org/manual. This doesn’t change much from a reader’s point of view, but it’s definitely much nicer for those writing the manual.
Here’s a page explaining the reasons why we moved away from the wiki, including pros and cons of each system.
I know at first glance it seems like a ridiculously convoluted technical challenge to set up, but it’s something you only have to do once and should take less than half an hour. Once you’re ready, it’s a simple matter of editing text files.
If you are not used to SVN and are struggling with the technology, head on over to #blenderwiki on IRC and we’ll help you get started quickly
Finally, a couple links you might find handy:
To answer some questions you might have before you ask them:
Q: Why did you switch and not just improve the wiki?
A: We decided that the wiki wasn’t really working, and although there is a slightly higher barrier of entry in this new system, the pros outweigh the cons. More details are explained here: http://blender.org/manual/about/migration.html
Q: This whole SVN/python/sphinx thing is really confusing, is there any way I can contribute to the manual without it?
A: There is! If you find a problem on a certain page or would like to suggest an improvement, just make a Task for us and someone will fix it for you. If you’re planning on doing this a lot, it’d be best for everyone if you take a few minutes to set up the software for your self to save us some time.
Q: I’d like to help, what can I do?
A: Anything! Whatever you think could be improved, fixed or rewritten, you’re welcome to do. We also have a list of Tasks that you could check out, just pick something that no one else has claimed.
Q: What’s with all the low quality jpgs?
A: For the time being, we’re using them just to keep the size of the repository down a bit, but sometime soon we’ll switch back to the original high quality images.
Q: Who can I shout at about all this?!
A: Just reply on this thread I’ll read everything. There’s also the bf-docboard mailing list, as well as the project page which shows who the administrators and section owners are. We also hang out on the #blenderwiki channel on IRC.