There are many ways to be a contributor, and we're here to help you on your way! You may:

  • Join the discussion and share ideas in our Slack channel and regular TSWG and TATF meetings.
  • Raise an issue or feature request in our issue tracker
  • Help another contributor with one of their questions, or a documentation review
  • Suggest improvements by supplying a Pull Request or opening a Discussion
  • Evangelize our work together in conferences, podcasts, and social media spaces.


This section is designed to help you make an edit if you aren't familiar with using GitHub and want to make a change to any repository.

Basic Change Flow

If you're not familiar with GitHub and Git, here are a few simple steps you can use to get going and contribute to the repository without ever touching the command line.

There is also a Video Walkthrough of how to do this if you prefer to learn over video.

  1. Fork the repo into your account

  2. Find the file you want to edit. Click the pen tool on the top right of the file to edit it. If you want to add a file, click "Add File". Click "Create new branch". Learn More

  3. Make your changes. When you are ready, click Pull Request on the bar above the file. Then create New Pull Request and choose to set the request to merge to the main branch. Put any information you want to describe your changes in the description, and you're done! Learn More.

Updating your PR on Changes Requested

If you've gotten some comments about needing to fix a PR, the process is really simple. You do NOT need to create a new PR.

  1. Go to the file in your branch that you want to edit.

  2. Click the edit button ( step 2 from when you created the initial edit )

  3. Make edits, but this time, instead of creating a new branch, commit to the same branch. Your changes will propagate to the PR.

  4. You may want to re-request a review. Click the sync button to do so:

Advanced Change Flow

As a more advanced user, there are a few ways you can manage your GitHub repository:

  1. You can use the GitHub web editor
  2. You can use GitHub Desktop
  3. You can use the CLI
  4. Something else! Git is extremely powerful if you want to spend time researching.



  • Nobody will work directly on the main branch. All changes must occur over a PR and off the main branch.
  • We encourage, but do not enforce branching naming using the following schema: <type>/<description> ex. edit/fix-fig4-label.
  • The main branch should always have the latest approved changes
  • Custom "feature" branches may be used for special purposes, e.g. for groups to work on a larger section of text
  • Branching will occur on forks, not over the main repository. This is to ensure that the main repository is not cluttered with lots of branches from contributors.


  • Version tags are used for each release of the document
  • Releases should be versioned and if needed, appended with a pre-release tag, e.g. "v1", "v3-RC1", "v4-IIW39"
  • Versioning should be simple, only major releases numbered, prepended with letter v. e.g. v1, v2, v3.
  • Branch protection rules will exist to not allow a person to directly commit to main.

Pull Requests

The below documents some basic best practices for your pull requests.

  • Please make sure to ask an editor to review your Pull Request.
  • Write descriptive and consistent names.
  • Create a clear PR title and description.
  • Keep PRs as short as possible
  • Try to keep a transparent audit trail of your conversation so people can follow it.
  • Avoid rewrites by getting feedback early.
  • Request additional reviewers to create dialogue.
  • Be precise in your comments about what needs to be fixed.


  • Review of PRs is done by appointed editors. See the GOVERNANCE file for more information.
  • Issues labelled with status: needs-review should contain a PR code OR the change text directly in the issue (for those not Git-savvy)
  • When you create an issue or a PR, please try to tag them appropriately, including adding a status: needs-review label to the issue/PR.
  • Every week, the editors will go through the issues and tag them appropriately.
  • If the PR is ready to be merged, it is tagged with accepted -label
  • In normal circumstances, any editor may merge changes tagged with a label accepted
  • The editor can try to merge the PR to the main branch.
  • If PR is not rebased and commit histories are not in sync, the PR can be merged if there are no overlapping changes with the history. In this case, it is the merging editor's responsibility to ensure that the merging is clean and no unwanted changes happen.
  • In case of change conflicts, the editor requests the PR creator to rebase against the current main branch and resubmit the PR.
  • After review, an editor may change the status to status: last-call. This would signal a 5-day delay for close.
  • If nobody disagrees with the status: last-call, the issue is accepted and merged back into main.
  • Sometimes the editor group may agree to a controlled merging process and decide that merging happens only by a selected editor (e.g. release owner) or during editor meetings. This may happen when a release of the document is coming soon and only some specific changes are allowed.


  • Anyone may raise an issue
  • Every week editors will go through the new issues, and label them.
  • Please provide as much clarity as possible around an issue topic. Ideally, you are always answering the following:
    • what is the issue?
    • why is it important?
    • what would trigger the closure of the ticket?
  • Issues that are not commented on for over 90 days, and reviewed to not be relevant will be closed by an editor
  • Please do not hesitate to self-assign yourself if you would like to address an issue.


Priority Labels

Priority labels are used to describe the impact and focus of the issue. Higher priority means it is more likely to find focus within the group.

prioritycriticalProgress on this issue is critical to the group's forward progress.
priorityhighIt is important for the group to resolve this issue soon.
prioritymediumThis issue is important to resolve before the next release.
prioritylowThis issue is "nice to have" for the next release, but could be deferred if time runs out.

Type Labels

Type labels are labels the define the nature of the issue and/or the correction itself.

typeeditorialThe issue only involves wording and not normative content.
typecontentThe issue involves normative content; resolution requires group consensus.
typecorrectionThe issue is fixing a recognized problem in the current version.
typeformattingThe issue involves fixing formatting.
typefigureThe issue involves a figure that it missing or needs to be revised.
typeadminThe issue is administrative and NOT about the deliverable.

Status Labels

Status labels are labels that are used to help identify the current state of the issue, so that we may accurately classify the work to do on it.

statusunassignedThe issue is new and has not yet been assigned to anyone.
statusin-progressThe issue has been assigned and work is in progress.
statusneeds-reviewA resolution (or concrete step forward) has been proposed and needs review.
statusblockedProgress is currently blocked; the block should be explained in a comment.
statuson-holdProgress is currently on hold; the reason should be explained in a comment.
statusdeferredConsensus has been reached that this issue can be deferred to a subsequent version.
statusabandonedConsensus has been reached that this issue can be abandoned.
statusPR-neededConsensus has been reached and this issue is now waiting for a PR to be submitted.
statusPR-in-progressThe issue is linked to a PR that is in progress
statusPR-completedThe issue is linked to a PR that is complete and waiting for review.
statusPR-acceptedThe issue is linked to a PR that has been accepted and is waiting for merge.
statusPR-mergedThe issue is linked to a PR that has been merged; this issue can now be closed.
statusstatus: last-callThe issue has been resolved by some other mechanism documented in the comments and is now in the 5-day last call.


Originally written by Andor Kesselman for the TechArch repo (

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