Two small changes appeared on the Atlassian documentation wiki yesterday. They’re small changes, but with big ambitions.

Documentation is licensed under CC-by

The first change is the appearance of a Creative Commons Attribution license on the documentation pages, like this:

Except where otherwise noted, content in this space is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia License

Customers have often asked us whether they can incorporate our documentation into their own training material or other documentation sets. Our reply has always been a bit vague, along the lines of “Sure, no worries. Just credit us by linking to the documentation wiki.” Now it’s official.

Community authors are invited to contribute to the documentation

You may not even notice the second small change, unless you go looking for it! But for us, and especially for the technical writing team, this one is even more exciting than the CC-by. There’s a new page called Atlassian Contributor License Agreement, with its accompanying Author Guidelines.

We’re inviting trusted partners and community contributors to update our documentation on an ongoing basis. Atlassian is keen on openness. We follow the open source model wherever possible. Up to now, with a few exceptions, only Atlassian staff have been able to update the documentation. But there’s a lot of valuable knowledge in our development community outside Atlassian and a number of our community authors and partners are keen to add to the documentation too.

At AtlasCamp many developers pointed out that they could add up-to-the-minute tips and corrections to the documentation. It’s much more appealing and efficient for them to update a wiki page while in the middle of a coding exercise, for example, rather than having to add a comment or create a Jira issue asking the technical writers to apply the update.

Since AtlasCamp, we have been working on the intellectual property and administration side of things. And now we’re ready to give it a go.

As a community developer, have you been frustrated because you could improve a wiki page dramatically with one quick change or addition? Have you contributed copious comments to the documentation, and wondered when the technical writers will ever get round to incorporating them into the page?

Now’s your chance!

OzzieRulesBall.png Spelling rebels and style anarchists beware Wink.png The technical writers are watching and Ozzie rules rule. We don’t bite (often) but we do monitor the changes to the documentation and fix up the odd misplaced z.

Before you ask: Yes, we do know that we use “license” instead of “licence” and that’s inconsistent. We groan and gnash our teeth each time we see it. There’s a story behind that too — but it’s another tale for another place.

We are running a three-month trial of the Atlassian Contributor License Agreement for interested community authors. If you would like to take part, we would love to hear from you. Please take a look at the ACLA page, download the PDF file and return a signed copy to us at the fax or email address on the form.

CC license and community contributions in Atlassian documentation