Social Documentation Benefits and Pitfalls

Tim Jones of Agora Games posted a good summary of his experience with Splunk. Tim reveals what we’ve known for some time. Splunk is incredibly flexible and powerful but sometimes finding the Splunk documentation to do exactly what you want isn’t as easy as it should be.

We’ve struggled over the years to keeping our documentation both up to date and easy to use. Earlier this year we moved to a wiki based approach to Splunk documentation in hopes of keeping it more up to date and usable with inter-documentation links. Suffice to say we are still embryonic in our use of wiki technology as applied to documentation. We power our docs site with MediaWiki the PHP wiki technology that runs Wikipedia. Along the way we’ve had to add a lot of capability around the MediaWiki platform to control docs permissions and versioning.

If you sign-up as a Splunk Community member you can modify and add to the Splunk Knowledgebase and docs wiki yourself including:

  • edit discussion tabs
  • edit any page except for major landing pages and
  • add new pages.

We’re taking this “extended community approach” to documentation because we know there are many people like Tim that have a the ability to help us make not just the Splunk download and bits better, but also the Splunk documentation better and more complete. We realize the risk in opening up our documentation to the community is that things won’t always be as easy to find as they should. But we believe in the long run this social approach to documentation will ultimately make Splunk a much better experience.

Please let us know what your think and how we can improve.

Happy Splunking

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