I think there needs to be a very clear public statement from the very top about what exactly should be what. People may feel this is anti-community or that there should be several alternatives for those seeking help. Unfortunately, quality, in terms of keeping content updated, is suffering. Ubuntu doesn't really have that many volunteers to ensure quality in each of the existing help options.
This was discussed at the online Ubuntu Developer Summit in early November 2013.
The Ubuntu Documentation Team is working the issue (among many others), and welcomed input in the cited email thread...before it diverged. I never did see any specific cases mentioned (perhaps I missed it).
If you want some kind of statement "from the top," here it what I suspect it would be:
When you find community documentation that conflicts with official documentation, report it.
Send an email explaining the issue to the doc team at firstname.lastname@example.org. They will deconflict it.
Last edited by ian-weisser; December 10th, 2013 at 01:38 PM.
Ubuntu should look at the documentation from the likes of Debian, FreeBSD, Arch Wiki, Gentoo Wiki (well that recently suffered a horrible fate) as I think a lot could be learned from those projects and how they handle documentation.
Fedora's documentation is also very good.
Documentation for Linux faces a number of challenges, I think. First, has anyone ever postponed the release of a distribution to allow time for the docs to catch up? Change comes fast and furious. Every patch and every bug fix creates a parallel need to be documented. These things often are quickly noted in mailing lists, bugzillas, on Launchpad, and other places, but the need is there for them to be recrafted in user-speak and made accessible at a single location rather than scattered about in sites that are not user-friendly.
Existing documentation needs to be edited to reflect changes. Conflicting or confusing documentation needs to be fixed or eliminated. Documentation known to be incorrect should be edited or deleted.
Ideally, distributions need to have *one* recognized location where users know they can find effective and trustworthy docs. Wouldn't it be nice to be able to turn to a single authoritative source rather than sift through hundreds of dubious hits returned by Google?
Independent sites can't be controlled, as you say. The net is littered with bad advice, and much of it is recycled and republished endlessly. All we can hope is that an officially sponsored documentation site gains a reputation for quality and thoroughness so people look there first.
Documentation in the commercial arena, where professional writers are paid to create it, is often dicey. So, it's no wonder that in Linux it's problematic.