User Note Editing Guidelines

These are some guidelines to follow when editing user notes in the manual.

To begin editing user notes in the manual, you must have SVN commit access to the manual, and you must either:

  • Subscribe to the php-notes mailing list or newsgroup as described at Mailing Lists, Newsgroups and SVN Modules. As a user submits a new user note, it will appear as a message on the mailing list with links in the footer of the email that enable you to delete, edit, or reject that particular note.
  • Log on to the server at http://master.php.net/manage/user-notes.php using your SVN user ID and password. The user notes administration interface enables you to search for user notes that match particular strings and edit or change the status of particular notes directly through the Web interface.

The thing that seems to confuse the most people is the difference between rejecting and deleting a note. Basically, they both remove the note from the manual, but rejecting sends the user an email about the rejection with links to support links and other information. Here are some guidelines of when to use each. You can also view the exact text of the rejection email here.

  • If the note is asking for help (support request, Does this work...?, etc.) or if the person is reporting a bug, reject the note. The email will show them the proper place to report such issues.
  • If the note contains useful information appropriate for the manual proper, you may incorporate the information into the manual and then delete the note.
  • If the note is in the wrong place, incorrect, a giant block of silly, unnecessary code, poorly written, an answer to another person's question, or just overall confusing, delete it. If it was an answer to a question, hunt down that note and reject it.
  • If the note is in a language other than English, delete the note.
  • If the note submitter's email address is obviously bogus, don't reject the note, just delete it. Rejecting the note just gives the mail server more work trying to send an email to a non-existent address, which doesn't help anything.

If for some reason you need to add to a note, first ask yourself if it's worth it. Make sure you're not answering a user's question; if you are, then the note doesn't belong there (see above). If you're clarifying a point, see if it is appropriate to add the clarification to the manual proper; if it is, add it and delete the note (see above). If you still feel that adding your addition to the note will be the best option, then go ahead and add it. Usually, editors add their note in a "Editor's Note" block at the top. Unless you are correcting a minor error, make it obvious that you edited the note.

If you have some free time and commit access to phpdoc, try going through some of the manual pages and adding some of the better notes into the documentation proper. Be sure to delete these notes after they're implemented.

If you are in doubt about what to do with a note, you may ask for help on the php-notes mailing list (or php-doc, if what you're doing involves the documentation proper).