Introducing: Documentation strategy

Re-posted from Status.net.

No wait, don't leave! Documentation isn't boring! I promise! Hi, I'm Emma Jane Hogbin (@emmajanedotnet) and I'll be your Documentation Strategist (and tech author) for the 1.0 release of StatusNet. You may know me from such projects as the Drupal Documentation Team, the Bazaar version control system, Writing Open Source (the very first-ever open source documentation conference) and the Linux Documentation Project. I'm absolutely thrilled to be working with StatusNet.

Just in case you missed my talk at the Ontario GNU Linux Fest (video and slides) this fall, here's the plan: we're going to design our documentation to be usable, maintainable and translatable from day one. (We even have a plan.) We're putting developer documentation where developers need it; and user documentation where real people need help. Think of it as the "whistle while you work" approach. But it gets even better: the documentation will be reviewed per major release cycle to find areas where the code needs to be improved. The wiki edits to the documentation will be the canary in the coal mine for the StatusNet experience.

Most normal people think of writing documentation as being necessary, but not fun. Fortunately I'm one of those do-less-work kinds of people. I'm not into writing tomes of information that no one will read. I want only the Ikea instruction drawings in places where people actually need help. Here's where I need your help: whether you're a beginner, or a pro, I need to know the times when the StatusNet experience could have been made easier if we'd slipped in some instructions. We got the ball rolling at StatusCampMontreal and here's how it worked: Tell me, in less than 140 characters, what the pain points are (or were) for you. If you're on Identi.ca, tag your notices with #painpoints. If you want to add a little more detail, please add your pain points to the wiki, or drop me an email (emma@status.net).

I'm looking forward to uncovering some of your blisters and making the user experience even better in StatusNet 1.0.

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