Everyone understands that documentation is a key component of many successful OSS projects (“Lack of documentation” was the top reason developers gave for deciding against using an open source project in the DigitalOcean 2018 survey, but how to create documentation—and a culture of documentation—is less well-understood. Whether your project has no docs, out-of-date docs, or just head-scratchingly unhelpful docs, you can fix it—without burning everything down or burning yourself out. In this talk, you’ll learn about tools, templates, and practices for creating, maintaining, and updating documentation, and how to encourage your community to develop and sustain good documentation practices.
Erin McKean is the founder of the not-for-profit Wordnik.com, the world’s biggest online dictionary. Before founding Wordnik, she was the editor-in-chief of American Dictionaries for Oxford University Press.Her goal is to make every word in the English language “lookupable"–including the 52% of unique English words that aren’t currently in any dictionary. Erin is the author of three Weird and Wonderful Words books, the best-selling novel The Secret Lives of Dresses, and (most recently) The Hundred Dresses, a field guide to dresses. She’s written regular columns for The Boston Globe and the Wall Street Journal and her writing has also appeared in The New York Times, PAPER, Foreign Affairs, and Sew News. She’s served as an advisor to the American National Corpus, the journal American Speech, the Wikimedia Foundation, and serves on the KPCB Design Council, and is an honorary fellow of the Society for Technical Communication. She blogs at dressaday.com and tweets as @emckean. When you meet her, please tell her your favorite word.