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Contribute to the GitLab documentation

The GitLab documentation is the single source of truth (SSOT) for information about how to configure, use, and troubleshoot GitLab. Everyone is welcome to contribute to the GitLab documentation.

Update the documentation


To update the documentation:

  1. Go to the GitLab community fork or your own fork.
  2. Find the documentation page in the \doc directory.
  3. In the upper right, select Edit > Edit single file.
  4. Make your changes.
  5. When you're ready to submit your changes, in the Commit message text box, enter a commit message. Use 3-5 words, start with a capital letter, and do not end with a period.
  6. Select Commit changes.
  7. If you're working from the community fork, a new merge request opens and you can continue to the next step. If you're working from your own fork, first do the following:
    1. On the left sidebar, select Code > Merge requests.
    2. Select New merge request.
    3. For the source branch, select your fork and branch. If you did not create a branch, select master. For the target branch, select the GitLab repository master branch.
    4. Select Compare branches and continue. A new merge request opens.
  8. On the New merge request page, select the Documentation template and select Apply template.
  9. In the description, write a brief summary of the changes and link to the related issue, if there is one.
  10. Select Create merge request.
  11. After your merge request is created, look for a message from GitLab Bot. This message has instructions for what to do when you're ready for review.

Alternatively, if you don't want to search through the /doc directory, on, at the bottom of any page, select View page source or Edit in Web IDE. You are prompted to create a fork or switch to your fork before you can make changes.

When you're developing code, the workflow for updating docs is slightly different. For details, see the merge request workflow.

What to work on

You don't need an issue to update the documentation, but if you're looking for open issues to work on, review the list of documentation issues curated specifically for new contributors.

When you find an issue you'd like to work on:

  • If the issue is already assigned to someone, pick a different one.

  • If the issue is unassigned, add a comment and ask to work on the issue. For a Hackathon, use @docs-hackathon. Otherwise, use @gl-docsteam. For example:

    @docs-hackathon I would like to work on this issue

You can try installing and running the Vale linting tool and fixing the resulting issues.

Ask for help

Ask for help from the Technical Writing team if you:

  • Need help to choose the correct place for documentation.
  • Want to discuss a documentation idea or outline.
  • Want to request any other help.

To identify someone who can help you:

  1. Locate the Technical Writer for the relevant DevOps stage group.
  2. Either:
    • If urgent help is required, directly assign the Technical Writer in the issue or in the merge request.
    • If non-urgent help is required, ping the Technical Writer in the issue or merge request.

If you are a member of the GitLab Slack workspace, you can request help in the #docs channel.

Branch naming

The CI/CD pipeline for the main GitLab project is configured to run shorter, faster pipelines on merge requests that contain only documentation changes.

If you submit documentation-only changes to Omnibus, Charts, or Operator, to make the shorter pipeline run, you must follow these guidelines when naming your branch:

Branch name Valid example
Starting with docs/ docs/update-api-issues
Starting with docs- docs-update-api-issues
Ending in -docs 123-update-api-issues-docs

Backport documentation changes to older branches

Backporting documentation to older branches is something that should be used rarely. The criteria includes legal issues, emergency security fixes, and fixes to content that might prevent users from upgrading or cause data loss.

There are two types of backports:

  • Latest stable version: Maintainers (backend, frontend, docs) can backport changes, usually bug fixes but also important documentation changes, into the latest stable version.
  • Older stable branches: To guarantee the maintenance policy is respected, merging to older stable branches is restricted to release managers.

To backport changes to an older branch open an issue in the Technical Writing project using the backport changes template, and follow the steps.