Online / 6 & 7 February 2021


Making Documentation a First-class Citizen in Open Source Projects

We often see many open source projects struggle with maintaining quality documentation and finding contributors who are interested in helping with project documentation. There are several reasons for this, such as many viewing documentation as a separate product from code or a belief that people will be able to make sense of what the code is doing by reading the code.

For these and other reasons, documentation work is often done at the last minute and done by people with low motivation and minimum effort. So the quality of the output will naturally suffer. These issues can be addressed by ensuring that documentation is everyone’s responsibility and that documentation is a core part of the product created using the same development and community processes. Besides, documentation is often an entry point for new community members and is a great place for early contributions. When everyone in the community is actively engaged in documentation--e.g., reviewing documentation fixes--it can help provide a valuable onboarding experience for new community members.

In this session, the speakers will share their experience in documentation from both foundation-based open source projects and open source software companies. There will be a discussion on how community contributions for documentation can be encouraged and how community members can apply their learnings from documentation to other areas of open source communities. 


Photo of Ray Paik Ray Paik
Photo of Sofia Wallin Sofia Wallin