Project Report for Season of Docs 2019

Work Done

Summary of the Commits

The Current State of the Project

  • All the above-listed pull requests that contain my work have been thoroughly reviewed and merged into the Tor repository. These updates are expected to go-live during the next release cycle, that is, Tor 0.4.3, which is due on April 15, 2020.
  • The Documentation Style guide is currently under review. I will continue to work with the Tor network team to finalize this style guide.

Challenges

  • This manual is the single source of content for the Tor manpages as well as the HTML version. Therefore, some ideas that I had originally proposed were not possible to implement in the format used by manpages. Therefore, I had to re-scope the project around these limitations.
  • To see the output of my changes on the manpages, I was required to install and build tor. This turned out to be quite challenging because it required Mac or Linux OS while I was using Windows. After several failed attempts of installing the Windows subsystem for Linux, thanks to the continuous support from my peers and mentors from the tor network team, I was able to successfully install tor and build the manpages on a borrowed Mac machine.
  • Since this was my first experience with open-source documentation and my little prior experience of using git, I was unaware of the nature of commits to be submitted for reviews. I submitted my first commit comprising a lot of formatting changes and content changes together. This made it difficult for my mentors to review the changes. Therefore, my mentor had to break these changes down into multiple pull requests.
  • Because of unforeseen roadblocks, I have had to switch my project from a short-term to a long-running project. Thanks to my mentors for their support that I could make up for my lost time during these extra months.

Learnings

  • Owing to the international nature of the community, I learned to be aware of the time and cultural differences. Set alarm for meetings, especially the late-night ones!
  • Embrace changes and be ready to adapt to newer opportunities in case you have to re-scope your original proposal.
  • When scoping time for the project, always allow time for roadblocks, setting up the work environment, and establishing communication channels with the community.
  • Be open-minded and flexible to use the tools and conventions that the community uses.
  • I have become better at managing time to strike a balance between a project and a full-time job.

Future Work Plan

  • The Documentation Style guide is currently under review. I will continue to work with the Tor network team to help make a final style guide.
  • In my proposal, I had suggested splitting the command-line
    options into their own page because the manpage is too large to
    read easily. Due to time constraints and other priority release commitments, we could not work on this. I’ll continue to work with my mentors to implement this.

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Swati Thacker

Swati Thacker

Tech Writer || Traveller || Reader || Technology Enthusiast