Jo Cook

Lead Metadata Consultant

Astun Technology

Open source mapping geek working as lead metadata consultant at Astun Technology.

Passionate about inspiring involvement in open source, particularly for beginners and non-coders. Previous board member of the Open Source Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo), founder and chair of the OSGeo UK Chapter. Founding member of TheGoodDocsProject and mentor with Google Season of Docs.

Founding member of TheGoodDocsProject and mentor with Google Season of Docs.

Inspiring and empowering users and techies to become great writers, and why that’s important

While the Open Source story usually focuses on software developers, equally important are communicators and community builders. Maintaining quality documentation is often cited as one of the weakest links in successful open source projects. As a project matures, community success factors move. To attract new contributors, projects should lower barriers to entry, and good documentation is key. Ironically, the documenters who are most qualified to help may be the least technical, and face the greatest ramp-up time.

In this presentation, we will draw upon a decade of attracting hundreds of documentation contributors to our OSGeoLive project and others, and how we have extended these lessons into a Google Season of Docs project, and are now building documentation templates for open source with TheGoodDocsProject.

We’ll talk about how the language used, and the methodology for contributing, are key in attracting new contributors and give examples of both cases, and of bad practice. We’ll talk about how best to attract episodic volunteers, and how to convert them into long-term contributors with some real-life use-cases. We’ll also discuss our long-term (evolving) plans for TheGoodDocsProject.


Twitter: @archaeogeek

GitHub: @archaeogeek

Gitlab: @archaeogeek


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