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TiDB Docs Dash

When I started at PingCAP back in April 2023, one of the things I started thinking about was a global event where our community members can come together to collaborate. Many open-source communities organize Hackathon-type events where people contribute code, but I wanted to focus on documentation (or docs) for a couple of reasons. 

One is that our docs pages are one of the most popular destinations for our community members with more than 300,000 visits per year. More importantly, you don’t need to have a programming background to be able to contribute to docs, and I liked this lower barrier to entry.

Although we’re very proud of our docs, there’s no such thing as perfect docs and TiDB Docs Dash gave us an opportunity to work with our community members. We were open to any contributions to our docs, but we also published a list of issues to give people an idea of where they can contribute.  

To make things more fun, we devised a point system for scoring different types of contributions. We’re awarding anyone with a valid contribution with a fun contributor badge, and also recognizing the top 5 winners based on their total points over the 3-day period. If you missed it, you can find details of the event logistics on the TiDB Docs Dash event page

So, what did TiDB Docs Dash accomplish?

First, I’ll share some statistics from the event. Over the three day period, our community members: 

  • Submitted 97 Pull Requests (PR’s). 
  • Created 7 new issues to improve our docs. 
  • Worked on 89 issues from our issues list. 

These contributions helped us validate frequently used TiDB and TiDB Cloud docs pages, enrich docs for string functions, complete translations, and identify 20 previously unknown issues. What was even more impressive was the quality of contributions with the level of detail, thoughtful insights, and practical suggestions as you can see from this example from Minae Lee. We plan to implement suggestions like this over the next few months and they will certainly contribute to improving our docs quality. 

In addition to thoughtful debugging of our docs, there are several other contributions we want to highlight. This issue addresses one of the more under-appreciated topics of addressing accessibility for the visually impaired. Chrissy Belzie not only discovered the accessibility issue for our main docs website, but she also submitted a PR so that people using screen readers can better navigate the page. 

One of the big categories of issues for the event was translations. The two PR’s from Shawn Yan (https://github.com/pingcap/docs-cn/pull/16165 and https://github.com/pingcap/docs/pull/16134) demonstrate not just the amount of translated text, but also the level of detail involved with numerous iterations and helpful screenshots. 

Finally, two PR’s from curiuosRay will help improve the user experience of our docs website (https://github.com/pingcap/website-docs/pull/464) and generate PDFs (https://github.com/pingcap/docs-cn/pull/16173). 

We awarded bonus points to these issues and PRs that we thought went above and beyond, and these contributions are highlighted with the tidb-docs-dash-bonus label in our docs repos. 

Announcing the winners of TiDB Docs Dash 2024

In addition to the top 5 winners based on total points, everyone who made a contribution will receive a TiDB Docs Dash contributor badge. The following list shows 27 individuals (with their GitHub IDs) who contributed to the event: 

CBID2, cool-wangtongzhou, CrystalAnalyst, curiousRay, enkilee, hecao100, hey-hoho, heywalter, ittuann, Jellybeanvino, jiajunc516, jyf111, kenudeh, llkdd1, lyssom, minaelee, PitifulPete, PokIsemaine, pushmeintheair, RakerZh, RobertCheng-956, shawn0915, takaidohigasi, Takashi-kun, TinaZhuzhu, Weaxs, and yusra1007.                     

And the top 5 winners of TiDB Docs Dash 2024 are: 

Prize WinnerPartial list of contributions
shawn0915Submitted 32 PR’s plus 5 new issues
enkileeSubmitted 15 PR’s 
hey-hohoSubmitted 9 PR’s
RobertCheng-956/llkdd1Submitted 10 PR’s/Submitted 7 PR’s
minaeleeSubmitted 3 PR’s 

(Note: In order to display your TiDB Docs Dash badges in your GitHub profile, you’ll need to follow the instructions in this file. Your badges will then be automatically added to your profile.) 

Key learnings from TiDB Docs Dash

We always knew we have a vibrant TiDB Community in China, and we were a bit concerned if we’d have many contributions from other parts of the world during the event. So we were delighted to see contributions from places like Japan, Nigeria, the U.S., and it was great to see activities around the clock. It also helped that we had PingCAP team members in China, the Netherlands, and the U.S. be available to do reviews and provide support for community members. 

One of the keys to Hackathon-type events (especially ones that are virtual) is having a good issues list. Although people were welcome to make contributions to any part of our docs, issues lists offered guidance to community members (including those who are new to TiDB) on where they can contribute.

In addition, since we published the issues list ahead of time, this gave participants some time to study the issues and decide where they want to contribute. 

Speaking of a virtual event, I think this format also provided flexibility for participants as they’re able to participate from anywhere and whenever it worked for them. I was amazed at the consistent flow of activities over the 72-hour period. 

So, what else is happening?

We are planning to organize more community events in 2024. First, there will be another edition of TiDB FutureApp Hackathon for developers to build innovative solutions with TiDB in the second half of this year. If you’re not familiar with TiDB FutureApp Hackathon, you can check out this wrap-up blog post from the 2023 event. 

We are also exploring other events where community members can provide insight into how they are using our products and how we can improve TiDB.

Please stay tuned for upcoming events, including future plans for TiDB Docs Dash, either on our events page, community Discord, or Slack

Once again, a heartfelt thanks to our community members for an incredible TiDB Docs Dash 2024!


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