Contributing to Timescale documentation

Timescale documentation is hosted in a GitHub repository and is open for contribution from all community members. If you find errors or would like to add content to our docs, you can create a pull request using GitHub for review by our documentation team. This document contains everything you need to know about our writing style and standards, but don't worry too much if you aren't sure what to write. Our documentation team helps you craft the perfect words when you have a PR ready. We also have some automation on our repository to help you.

If you want to make minor changes to docs, such as fixing a typo, you can make corrections and submit pull requests on the GitHub website. Go to the file you want to correct and click the 'pencil' icon to edit. Make the corrections, and use the options at the bottom of the page to submit a pull request.

To make larger changes to the documentation, follow the instructions in our Contributors' Guide.

For technical details about the repository, including understanding how the repository is organized, and the various markup and formatting conventions, see the README.

Before we accept any contributions, Timescale contributors need to sign the Contributor License Agreement (CLA). By signing a CLA, we can ensure that the community is free and confident in its ability to use your contributions. You are prompted to sign the CLA during the pull request process.


When making style decisions, consult resources in this order:

  1. This guide: always check this guide first, it contains project-specific guidance, and in some cases differs from the other resources listed here.
  2. The Google Developer Documentation Style Guide: for most general style guidance, we rely on the style defined here.
  3. The Chicago Manual of Style: we use this guide for some formatting decisions that are not covered in other resources
  4. Merriam-Webster: Timescale documentation is written in US English, for spelling and definitions, consult the dictionary.


We use standard US English, with an emphasis on plain (or classical) language, in simple present tense, using the second person singular ("you"). We prefer the active voice, but do not be afraid to use the passive voice if it serves a purpose. Always choose the simplest and clearest language, regardless of whether it's passive or active voice.

For example, here are three ways of writing one sentence:

  • Natural English: In order to perform X installation process, please ensure that all of the following steps are done ...
  • Tech writer's English: To perform the X installation process, verify you have done the subsequent steps ...
  • Plain English: To install X, do these steps ...

Remember that the order of words is important in English. Put the most important part of a sentence first, this is usually the actor or the action. Use the second part of the sentence to give it a focus: what else should the reader notice?

Readers are often in an agitated state by the time they get to our documentation. Stressed readers jump around in the text, skip words, steps, or paragraphs, and can quickly give up if things seem too complex. To mitigate this, use short sentences, plain language, and a minimum number of eye-catching details such as admonitions.

Never assume that because you've explained something earlier in a document, readers know it later in the document. You can use cross-references to help guide readers to further information if they need it.


Grammar rules are tacit evolving conventions. They have no implicit value by themselves, they only gain value because everyone is doing it.

There are no hard and fast rules about dangling participles, split infinitives, or ending sentences with prepositions. Obeying these rules can often make language clearer but, in some cases, they make language more complicated. In that case, feel free to ignore them.


All headings should be written in sentence case: capitalize only the first word in the heading, and proper nouns.

For top-level page headings, and most section headings, use the simplest noun phrase possible. For example, instead of "Using hypertables", call the page "Hypertables".

For level two sections that contain one or more procedures, use a simple verb phrase. For example, "Install TimescaleDB". For the associated procedures, use a level three heading, with the gerund form of the same heading. For example, "Installing TimescaleDB".

Processes and procedures

We use processes and procedures to provide readers with numbered steps to achieve a specific goal.

Processes contain procedures. If the task you are describing is very lengthy, or has a series of distinct components, break it up into a series of procedures within a process.

Procedures contain these elements:

  1. Level two section title in simple verb form
  2. Short introduction
  3. Open <procedure> tag
  4. Level three procedure title in gerund verb form
  5. Numbered steps
  6. Screenshot
  7. Close </procedure> tag

For example:

## Install TimescaleDB
This section describes how to install TimescaleDB on premise.
### Installing TimescaleDB
1. Start each step with a verb, or a location.
1. For example, "Run the `example` command", or "At the command prompt, open the
`example` file."
<Add screenshot here>

In general, do not use result statements. However, if you feel it is absolutely necessary, include it immediately before the closing procedure tag, and do not put it as a step.

Code blocks

Offset code blocks from the surrounding text by using three backticks and declaring the language in use in the block. Usually, this is either sql, for queries, or bash, for commands given at the command prompt. For a full list of available languages see the prismjs site.

Make sure that the code block is indented at the same level as the surrounding text.

When writing commands in a code block, do not use #, $, or any other prompt. Additionally, for Linux commands, do not use sudo, instead, use the stem sentence to indicate that the command must be run as the root user.

For example, a bash command:

At the command prompt, as root, use this command:
apt install postgresql

For example, an SQL query:

At the `psql` prompt, use this query:


  • Click a button in a graphical user interface using a mouse. Do not Click on.
  • Press a key or key combination on a keyboard.
  • Type words or numbers using a keyboard.
  • Check or uncheck a checkbox.
  • Select or deselect an item in a menu.
  • Navigate to a page or location in a graphical user interface.

Word usage


Above : Avoid all directional words. You cannot guarantee that things will stay in the same position, or be in the position you expect on an individual reader's device.

Adverbs : Do not use.

👍 Install TimescaleDB.

Simply install TimescaleDB.

And/Or : Do not use. You can usually pick one. If you're not sure, pick "and."

I like apples and/or oranges.

👍 I like apples and oranges.

Appears : Do not use.


Bare metal : Noun.

👍 "Install TimescaleDB on bare metal."

"Perform a bare metal installation."

Bare-metal : Adjective.

👍 "Perform a bare-metal installation."

"Install TimescaleDB on bare-metal."

Below : Avoid all directional words. You cannot guarantee that things will stay in the same position, or be in the position you expect on an individual reader's device.


Contractions : Absolutely fine to use, but try not to overdo it.

Cybersecurity : One word.




Fail over : Use as a verb

Failover : Use as a noun or adjective.

File system : Two words.







Latin abbreviations : Do not use.

👍 For example


Log in : Verb.

👍 "Log in to Timescale Cloud."

"Enter your log in information."

Login : Adjective or noun.

👍 "Enter your login information."

"Login to Timescale Cloud."


Master/Slave : Do not use. Use "Primary" and "Secondary" instead.


Next : Avoid all directional words. You cannot guarantee that things will stay in the same position, or be in the position you expect on an individual reader's device.


Once : Do not use. Use "when" instead.

"Once you have finished the installation, you can..."

👍 "When you have finished the installation, you can."


Postgres : Do not use. Use "PostgreSQL" instead.

"Run the Postgres query"

👍 "Run the PostgreSQL query."

PostgreSQL : Always refer to PostgreSQL by its full name and with correct capitalization, as shown.

Previous : Avoid all directional words. You cannot guarantee that things will stay in the same position, or be in the position you expect on an individual reader's device.

Promscale Connector : Use initial capital letters.

👍 "Install the Promscale Connector."

"Install the Promscale connector."

"Install the promscale connector."




Superuser : One word.


Thus : Do not use.

Timescale : The name of the company. Do not use camel case.

👍 Timescale is hosting a virtual event.

I have installed Timescale to manage my time-series data.


TimescaleDB : The name of the product. Capitalize the initial letter, and the "DB" at the end.

👍 "I have installed TimescaleDB to manage my time-series data."

"TimescaleDB is hosting a virtual event."

"I want to install TimeScaleDB"

tobs : The observability suite. Do not use capitalization, even when it begins a sentence. If possible, rewrite the sentence to avoid this.

👍 "Install using tobs"

"Tobs can be used to install."


Update : An update is a small or minor improvement, often delivered in a patch. Updates are done frequently, and require little or no downtime.

👍 Install the security update to patch this version.

Upgrade : An upgrade is a large or major improvement, and usually requires a new version. Upgrades are done less frequently, and could require planning, prepatory backups, and planned downtime.

👍 Upgrade from TimescaleDB 1 to TimescaleDB 2.

👍 Upgrade from TimescaleDB 2.3 to TimescaleDB 2.4.

Utilize : Do not use. Use "use" instead.


Vanilla PostgreSQL : Do not use. If you want to differentiate between regular PostgreSQL tables, and tables that contain time-series, use "standard PostgreSQL".

"You can also create services that run vanilla PostgreSQL."

👍 "You can also create services that run standard PostgreSQL."

Via : Avoid if possible. There is usually a more accurate English word, like "through," "with," or "using."


Will : Do not use. It usually indicates that you are writing in future tense. Always write in simple present tense.

👍 After installation, you see a message.

After installation, you will see a message.




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