Reviewing documentation

OpenStack documentation is treated in the same way as code, and follows the standard code review process. To see what documentation changes are ready for review, use the Documentation Program Dashboard or the appropriate list of Gerrit reviews for repositories with documentation.

The Documentation Program Dashboard only lists changes to repositories that are managed by the Documentation project or the project’s subteams. The Dashboard is organized in groups based on the audience for the documentation.

To see current proposed changes, make sure you register and log into review.openstack Code Review. For more details on the review process in OpenStack, see Code Review.

Review guidelines

Repositories and core team

The Documentation team is core for a number of repositories managed by the Documentation project subteams. A list of those subteams is available from Documentation team structure.

For the security-doc repository, the rule is that each patch needs an approval by a Docs core and a Security core.

Reviewing a documentation patch

Before you proceed with reviewing patches, make sure to read carefully the Review Guidelines for documentation and Code Review Guidelines. Once done, follow the steps below to submit a patch review.

  1. If you want to review patches for the repositories managed by the Documentation project or the project’s subteams, go to the Documentation Program Dashboard.

    To review patches for project teams’ repositories, use the list of Gerrit changes for the appropriate project.

  2. Select a patch set.

  3. Click a file that was uploaded to view the changes side by side.

  4. If you see some inconsistencies or have questions to the patch owner, you can also highlight the line or word in question, and press ‘c’ on your keyboard, which enables commenting directly on that line or word. Click Save button once you write a draft of your comment.

  5. In the Zuul check section, click the publishdocs gate link (for the openstack-manuals, it is called build-tox-manuals-publishdocs) and review the built manuals to see how the change will look on the web page. For a new patch, it takes some time before the OpenStack CI system checks appear on the Gerrit page. You can also build the patch locally if necessary.

  6. Click Reply to vote and enter any comments about your review, then click Post.


A patch with WorkInProgress (WIP) status needs additional work before review and possible approval. Therefore, you may skip such a patch and review once it is ready. For more information, see Work In Progress.

See also

Peer Review


The following information only applies to repositories managed by the Documentation project.

Achieving core reviewer status

Core reviewers are able to +2 and merge content into the projects they have core status in. Core status is granted to those who have not only done a sufficient quantity of reviews, but who also have shown care and wisdom in those reviews.

The core reviewer’s role is complex, and having a great core team is crucial to the success of any OpenStack project. The documentation team aims to have a suitably small team of core reviewers, with each core reviewer being active and engaged. The process for appointing core reviewers aims to ensure there is a good mix between a statistics-based and nomination-based approach. To this end, the core team changes relatively quickly, with inactive core team members being removed and new, active core team members being added on a regular basis. This also allows the existing core team to act quickly on recognizing valuable team members.

The process is:

  • Every month (usually on the 1st), the documentation PTL draws the top committers and reviewers from the Stackalytics report for openstack-manuals:

  • The PTL then consults the existing core team and the OpenStack community with a list of names to be removed from and added to the core list. This is done in public by using the mailing list as the primary communication channel. Cores who are being removed will be contacted personally before changes are made.

  • Existing core team members can nominate a new core member at any time, with a justification sent to the mailing list. Three +1 votes from other existing core team members must be achieved for approval.

Core reviewer responsibilities

Becoming a core reviewer carries with it a responsibility: you are now the guardian of the gate, and it is up to the core team to ensure that nothing unfavorable gets through, without discouraging contributions.

General instructions for being a core reviewer are located in the Core Reviewer’s Guide. This section is for openstack-manuals core reviewers.

In almost all cases, patches can be merged with at least one +1 vote, and two +2 votes. The second +2 vote is usually the one that will also merge the patch (often referred to as a +2A vote). There are very few exceptions to this rule within documentation, the main one being extraordinary circumstances where a patch has broken the build and a fix is required very quickly. In this case, you should still seek out another core team member if possible, and make some kind of contact with the PTL so that they are aware of the problem.

If you are a core team member, but don’t feel you understand the subject matter of a patch well enough to confidently merge it, vote +1 and mention your reasons. Being overly cautious is better than being overly confident.

Try not to merge a patch too quickly, even if it strictly has the correct number of votes. Allowing a patch to sit for a couple of days is generally helpful, in order to ensure enough people have seen the change. It can also be valuable to add team leads or other subject matter experts to patches where you feel more specialized knowledge is required to make a good decision.

A note on review rigor: There are very few guidelines about what a good patch looks like, but the general approach is that if it’s technically accurate and better than the existing content, then it should be approved. The main things to look for:

  • General spelling and grammar.

  • Technical accuracy. Where possible, test commands on your own VM to make sure they’re accurate. Check any related bugs and mailing list conversation to see if there’s anything else you might need to take into account.

  • The ‘is it better than what we have already’ test. Check the diff, or look at the current document on the doc site, and determine if the changes are an improvement. Provide corrections in-line for the author to fix if there’s more than a couple of errors. If there’s just one or two really minor changes (or in a situation where the writer has explicitly asked for editorial assistance), consider checking out the patch and editing it yourself.

And, as a final note: Be nice. Be helpful. It is your job as a core reviewer to help people get patches merged, not block them.