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InfoQ Homepage News Google Launches "Season of Docs" Program to Improve Open Source Documentation

Google Launches "Season of Docs" Program to Improve Open Source Documentation

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Google has launched Season of Docs, a program which aims to improve documentation for open source projects. It will do this by building a mentoring relationship between open source contributors and technical writers, helping to create stronger and more comprehensive documentation for various open source technologies.

The motivation for Season of Docs comes from the Open Source Survey, which demonstrated that good documentation is lacking for many open source projects. Google believes that this is because the creation of documentation is hard, and so in turn have created this program to improve it.

Potential participants for the program will fall into one of two categories, either a mentor organization, or technical writer, both of which will work together to produce documentation. Google explains:

During Season of Docs, technical writers will spend a few months working closely with open source communities. Each writer works with their chosen open source project. The writers bring their expertise to the projects’ documentation while at the same time learning about open source and new technologies.

Initially, technical writers will undertake an exploration phase during which they can find projects that they may be interested in. After doing so they can discuss their ideas with the corresponding organizations. Following this, there is an application phase, which if successful, will mean the writer can start to work on the documentation whilst working closely with their mentor.

Just like with technical writers, mentoring organizations will also go through an application phase. During this, they will also be required to find their mentors, who will work closely with technical writers. If the organization's application is accepted, they will be then responsible for selecting technical writing projects from the pool of technical writer applicants.

In terms of work done, the project may involve creating entirely new documentation, improving on what’s already there, or better documenting the open source contribution process:

Together, we raise public awareness of open source docs, of technical writing, and of how we can work together to the benefit of the global open source community.

In order for a mentoring organization to be eligible, they must be actively running an open source project, whereas a technical writer must only be able to demonstrate prior technical writing experience. Technical writers will also receive a stipend for work done, calculated based on the location.

Google has set out a timeline for the program, with mentoring organization submissions starting in April, and technical writer submissions starting in May. More information can be found on the website, including steps on how to get involved in the project yourself and frequently asked questions.

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