I'm In Charge of Books Online

, 2019-04-01

I'm in charge of Books Online. Well, not just me, but Microsoft has appointed a select group of MVPs to become the moderators of the Books Online documentation on GitHub. This is the official repo where the source for the online docs and downloadable help are stored, and anyone can submit a potential change. I've written about how to do this and many people have submitted changes over the last year.

This creates a problem. As with many large Open Source projects, the maintainers soon become overwhelmed with submissions and start to spend more time triaging and evaluating submissions than making their own changes. In addition, people change roles inside Microsoft quite often with many of the owners of a particular topic moving on to a new area inside Microsoft. They don't want to go back, try to understand, re-evaluate, and test changes in another part of SQL Server, so the pull requests get delayed. Microsoft also sees documentation as a necessary item, but not one they'd like to put resources into managing.

Microsoft recognizes that there are experts in the community and has awarded some of us with the MVP designation. They also realize that many of us passionately care about SQL Server, with plenty of expertise that we can use to evaluate pull requests and decide if they add to the documentation. As a result, they asked a number of MVPs to apply and at the recent MVP Summit, they gathered some of us together and told us we would be given rights to the GitHub repo to approve requests.

We have to do this in a controlled fashion, so we were given internal Microsoft contractor email addresses and access that we can use to approve changes. I assume this is also to ensure that Microsoft can quickly revoke access if necessary. It's not a big deal to me since I'm already using 4 emails, so what's another one?

I don't know if I can announce who else is participating in this, but I was given special permission to announce that I am a part of this project. I can also disclose that this is an April Fool's prank and I'm not in change of anything. Well, I am in charge of my volleyball team, but that's about it. Maybe Microsoft will use MVPs to triage some requests at some point, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

I hope you got caught up in the excitement and enjoyed this short piece. Don't believe much of what you read today. Keep your head down and focus on code that you know is true.

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