[Owasp-leaders] Proposal for changing OWASP Documentation

Jim Manico jim.manico at owasp.org
Wed Feb 17 04:30:43 UTC 2016


I do not think - at all - that starting over is a good idea. There are 
thousands of hours of work in the wiki that should not be so quickly 
dismissed. And there are plenty of people still actively working on the 
wiki.

Keep in mind, starting over means folks need to build all this new 
content from scratch. It is not easy to find skilled folks to add all 
that new content, which takes us back to square one.

One page at at a time. If you see any content that is out of date, 
please continue to inform me directly and I'll do something about it as 
quickly as I can with the help of the other editors who continue to work 
on the wiki.

- Jim

On 2/16/16 9:26 PM, johanna curiel curiel wrote:
> >>Good stuff. I think the best way to approach this is to get a team 
> to walk through our 8000+ page wiki and categorise pages that need 
> categorizing.
>
> I believe in divide and conquer but also , at a certain moment, you 
> need to focus on the approach.
>
> I don't think walking through those 8000+ is realistic, cheap or 
> feasible not even for a hired qualified team.
>
> I  think this problem is similar to having a very old, big, legacy 
> application no one understands and no one wants to work with. What 
> most business do?
>
> /Start from scratch, a new one./
>
> I think the focus here is for documentation existing projects to 
> markup their documents and work form there. Focusing on those 8000+ is 
> not feasible.
>
> As Jim said, the people that wants to edit seem  not to be /qualified/ 
> enough to edit and the people that are /qualified/, well, they do not 
> have time nor feel like editing on the wiki ;-P
>
>
>
> On Tue, Feb 16, 2016 at 11:53 PM, Jim Manico <jim.manico at owasp.org 
> <mailto:jim.manico at owasp.org>> wrote:
>
>     Gary,
>
>     Good stuff. I think the best way to approach this is to get a team
>     to walk through our 8000+ page wiki and categorize pages that need
>     categorizing. That would "bucket" content as you suggested in prep
>     for any move into "folders" (and make the wiki a better place as
>     it is). We already have a wiki template system to help mark old or
>     dead content (
>     https://www.owasp.org/index.php/Template:TaggedDocument ) and wiki
>     markup makes content categorization easy by adding a wiki category
>     to any page.
>
>     I am personally a big fan of the wiki and wiki-markup. I would
>     hate to dump the many thousand people-years of work in there.
>
>     > *Big downside*: there’s a large piece of work to start it off. 
>     All content would need to get organized, put into sensible
>     structure, converted to markdown, argued over, ‘experts’ defined
>     and assigned, etc.  I doubt this would be a volunteer effort, and
>     may need contractor involvement.  Could this be combined with the
>     OWASP wiki redesign?
>
>     Yea, exactly. The process of trying to update the wiki (or at
>     least handle dated content that others are concerned about) is
>     already in place and some folks like myself and members the wiki
>     editorial team have slowly been going over wiki content and trying
>     to make it more honest on a page by page level. The problem is the
>     sheer volume and the lack of tools to aid in the process.
>
>     Another problem is how do we hire? We need content folks who
>     understand application security, these are not cheap hires. We've
>     made the call for volunteers to help with wiki cleanup, but only
>     found a few volunteers to help and only 2 are active.  Any
>     honestly, we need rather thoughtful and skilled volunteers who
>     really get application security, and they are hard to find in 2016.
>
>     I'm not sure what the best path is to handle the wiki mess before
>     us, so in the meantime I'm crunching through one page at a time,
>     one request at a time, and one cleanup at a time. If anyone wants
>     to help accelerate this with hands-on help and assistance, I'm all
>     ears and am eager for your help. In my experience a lot of folks
>     have ideas and plans to make the wiki better, but very few are
>     willing to do the work. I mean that respectfully, I understand how
>     busy everyone is.
>
>     I think the best kind of leadership is getting your hands dirty
>     and leading by example. If you want to help dive in and start
>     looking at the scope of the wiki problem with me, sign up at
>     https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-wiki-editors and
>     introduce yourself and expand on your plan. I'd be glad to give
>     you a tour around the wiki and show you whats up. I do not blame
>     you if you bail. Several folks joined with enthusiastic desire to
>     help, but then bailed once they saw the scope of the problem. In
>     the meantime, one page at a time is all I got. :)
>
>     Aloha,
>     Jim
>
>
>
>
>     On 2/14/16 1:30 PM, Gary Robinson wrote:
>>
>>     Hi Folks,
>>
>>     I want to reach out to the leaders and bring up the subject of
>>     OWASP docs projects, in fact all OWASP documentation including
>>     wiki and text available to our code projects as well.  I’ll try
>>     to keep this e-mail brief so won’t get bogged in details, but
>>     generally I want to know if the community experiences the same
>>     pains, see the same opportunities, or has other suggestions for
>>     improvement.
>>
>>     The issues that can arise from our current method of developing
>>     our various docs include:
>>
>>
>>      1. Draft content that exists in the wiki.  This may be in
>>         varying states (correct, incorrect, lousy, confused, etc.)
>>         and is visible to the internet and typically not clearly
>>         labelled as draft. Google ‘owasp purple monkey dishwasher’
>>         for an example of a draft wiki page visible to the internet. 
>>         This content also needs to get cleaned up after a project
>>         release.
>>      2. Substandard descriptions/content can get into our docs.
>>         Getting people to review every line/example/diagram/appendix
>>         is difficult with a volunteer organization (as other threads
>>         have discussed)
>>      3. Duplications happen, as 10 different projects
>>         create/copy/paste their definitions of topics such as XSS,
>>         SQLi, CSRF, etc.  This wastes effort in an organization
>>         already constrained of active volunteers.
>>      4. Content gets out-of-date.  The work to create a new version
>>         of a doc project takes years.
>>
>>     I’m sure some readers will be mentally adding their own issues to
>>     this list.
>>
>>     Proposal:
>>
>>
>>     Bringing together discussions with a few people over the last few
>>     years (you know who you are), I’m proposing the following: we
>>     write our docs with reusable resources.  What would this mean?
>>     Something similar to the following:
>>
>>
>>      1. We dump all of the content from our wiki, current docs,
>>         descriptions in code tools, etc.  We put it into markup (as
>>         some projects are already doing) and add it to source code
>>         repositories.
>>      2. We share doc markup files _across ALL docs and code
>>         projects_. For example, imagine we have a folder for SQLi. 
>>         This directory contains the OWASP ‘golden source’ for SQLi
>>         definition, examples, code, tests, etc.  Repeat for all other
>>         AppSec issues (CSRF, cert pinning, etc.).  We use a mechanism
>>         to ‘compile’ these markdown files into PDFs and integrate
>>         into code project HTML pages.
>>      3. Similar to good coding projects, we control who can edit the
>>         files under certain directories – people we know have
>>         expertise in an area.  Edits get peer reviewed before
>>         submission.  Other people can suggest edits and prove their
>>         experience to the existing team to join it.
>>      4. We allow anyone to ‘include’ this markup file into their
>>         project.  So if the Code Review Guide wants to add a section
>>         on SQLi, and needs a definition, I don’t write it (or copy
>>         from wiki), I simply include the relevant markup file.  Same
>>         for testing guide, dev guide, ZAP hints page, security
>>         shepherd info page, cheetsheet, and on and on.
>>      5. We allow all of our docs, plus the wiki, plus all code
>>         projects, to dynamically use an markup file update.  We make
>>         this ‘real time’.  This needs an example.  Say in March a
>>         massive change occurs in the world of SQLi.  Right now any
>>         project that talks about SQLi would need to manually go in
>>         and update, and those updates will be of varying quality and
>>         content.  If, instead, one (true) source file was update, all
>>         those other projects could spot the change and automatically
>>         rebuild themselves, meaning the next person to download a
>>         development guide PDF, or view the wiki, would get the
>>         updated SQLi information.
>>          1. This is a big change.  This may be a controversial
>>             change. _However it would greatly reduce our
>>             workload_ (only one markup document needs to get
>>             updated).  It will also _greatly reduce review tasks_, as
>>             everyone is sharing core content which is reviewed once. 
>>             It also improves our image to the world, as all projects
>>             have the same great descriptions and content.
>>          2. This change also improves our responsiveness. Imagine a
>>             heartbleed type issue being reflected in all OWASP code
>>             and documentation projects, as well as the
>>             wiki/cheetsheets, within a few days? (simply the time for
>>             the team to agree updates to the
>>             text/examples/descriptions, review, and submit)
>>      6. We should also make these markup files available to anyone on
>>         the internet (read only).  This way the source descriptions
>>         become an OWASP resource it itself, and anyone out there
>>         needing to spread the word on AppSec has easy access to rock
>>         solid, up-to-date definitions.
>>
>>     This changes the model, from people like myself who run
>>     ‘projects’, to smaller expert teams who know ‘technologies’ (such
>>     as SQLi or IIS secure configuration).  It focuses people where
>>     they want to be on docs projects, but easily shares that
>>     knowledge across all OWASP (and more) projects.  It also means
>>     there’d never be another need to clean-up the wiki – it would
>>     always be based off the markup content.
>>
>>
>>     *Big downside*: there’s a large piece of work to start it off. 
>>     All content would need to get organized, put into sensible
>>     structure, converted to markdown, argued over, ‘experts’ defined
>>     and assigned, etc.  I doubt this would be a volunteer effort, and
>>     may need contractor involvement.  Could this be combined with the
>>     OWASP wiki redesign?
>>
>>
>>     So… the ask from the community, what are your thoughts? Could
>>     this be a viable option to save us time on docs/descriptions and
>>     increase quality?  Would there be funds to perform the initial
>>     conversion of everything into markup pages?  Would there be
>>     resistance to working in this new model?
>>
>>
>>     Gary
>>
>>
>>
>>     _______________________________________________
>>     OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>>     OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org <mailto:OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org>
>>     https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
>
>
>     _______________________________________________
>     OWASP-Leaders mailing list
>     OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org <mailto:OWASP-Leaders at lists.owasp.org>
>     https://lists.owasp.org/mailman/listinfo/owasp-leaders
>
>

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://lists.owasp.org/pipermail/owasp-leaders/attachments/20160216/c05261ec/attachment-0001.html>


More information about the OWASP-Leaders mailing list