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#woscon09: Day 2

Another incredible day has wrapped up with the Writing Open Source crew. We're not just conference participants anymore, we're a crew. (We know we're a crew because the Web site no longer has a conference schedule, but a forum for discussion after the conference has ended.) It's been incredible to watch the progression as people look both outward for support and best practices, and inward to apply new information to existing practices within a team project.

Today we had several sessions that came from yesterday's talks they included:

After stuffing ourselves with ideas, we headed up to Inglis Falls at the request of the mayor. (She felt it was inappropriate for people to come all this way and not see the falls. She was right.) After dinner talk was filled the commerce of open source, authoring books for main stream publishers and more. A whole lot of really funny jokes have been established. You know the kind that make no sense without context and are only referred to by their punchline? Y'know, like this:

[ ] F

I can assure you that is all kinds of hilarious. It was so hilarious that Milo translated it:

[ ] V

Awwww, yeah: there's nothing like a good documentation joke. Apologies to those of you who were following along in Identi.ca and Twitter tonight. The dip into senseless tweeting and denting was inevitable after two days of really awesome, and thought provoking, content.

Sunday (tomorrow) is a project sprint day so I expect the tweet feeds to be fairly quiet. In the mean time, check out some of the links above for projects that might not have otherwise been on your radar. There's some truly fantastic work happening in the world of open source documentation and I'm very excited to be a part of it.

#woscon09: Day 1

A number of years ago I saw James Gilmore give a presentation about the experience economy. It gave me the term for what my parents had taught me growing up: provide an amazing experience for a person and you will inspire them to learn new things, and engage with others. Today the stage was set for the world's first ever (as far as we know) conference for open source documentation. It's only been a day but already people are sharing exciting new ideas and talking about collaboration. Although this is natural for a conference to get that excitement, what's amazing is that the sharing is happening across projects where you never would have guessed it would feel natural.

The conference Writing Open Source was conceived months ago: the idea was simple and crazy. I care about documentation, and so do a few of my friends, so I bet there are more. Why not meet and share some good food and good conversation and see what we can learn from each other. In my experience, creative people get even more creative when you give them crazy-awesome things to talk about. We kicked off the first day of the conference with an amazing breakfast (with real maple syrup), a visit from the mayor, and bag pipes. Except it wasn't just the mayor and bag pipes. It was a procession through downtown Owen Sound, led by the piper and the mayor (and her grand daughter) as we moved from our breakfast venue to our conference venue.

During the day we had five exceptional presenters deliver engaging, funny, thought provoking and truly outstanding talks. They were recorded and hopefully will be uploaded to archive.org (or somewhere) in the near future.

It's not just about the speakers though: all participants have engaged and are participating in creating and shaping the experience as it unfolds. Whether they are new to documentation, or are seasoned experts, participants are contributing their passion for open source, documentation and community (yes, and even their passion for licensing). What an incredible experience it's already been. And it's only the end of day 1.

I'm sure there will be more blog posts as Dru has told us all to write daily, but in the mean time...try a search through identi.ca or twitter for the conference hashtag: #woscon09. Not surprisingly, a conference on documentation is getting a LOT of real-time reporting.

Writing Open Source coming soon!

In a little over two weeks we are going to have the first-ever conference dedicated entirely to open source documentation. It's called Writing Open Source and it's happening in Owen Sound, Canada the weekend of June 12-14.

The first day is conference-style set of talks by five industry leaders:

The second day is an unconference including the following proposals:

  • Book sprints: 0 to book in 5 days or less, with FLOSS Manuals (Janet Swisher)
  • Pydocweb: Round-tripping API docs from code to wiki and back (Janet Swisher)
  • Group discussion: Strategies for recruiting writers
  • Group discussion: Community structures. Talk about how do the ways
    we set up various formal or informal structures in our communities
    effect how documentation teams work (or don't).

The third day is a sprint day for the following projects:

  • Drupal documentation sprint
  • Xfce documentation sprint
  • GNOME documentation sprint

There are still tickets available if you're interested. They are $250CAD (less in USD) and including all food and transportation to and from YYZ (Toronto) or BUF (Buffalo). Confirmed participants are coming in from Texas, Italy, Vancouver, Baltimore, Ottawa and beyond!

UPDATE: obviously the conversion will depend on the current exchange rate. Apologies for not having checked to see that the Canadian dollar is currently stronger than it was when the prices were first set several months ago.

There is also one sponsored spot available! This includes a free ticket as well as accommodation during the event. You will be responsible for your own travel to either YYZ, BUF or Owen Sound as appropriate. Please get in touch if you are interested in attending but need financial assistance.

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