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From Jean Weber <>
Subject Re: Getting Started with AOO book
Date Wed, 02 May 2012 01:22:33 GMT
On Wed, May 2, 2012 at 10:29 AM, Rob Weir <> wrote:
> I think the trick is finding the right people, of connecting
> volunteers with volunteer opportunities.  Realistically, if someone
> was really interested in tech writing, they probably would not be on
> this list.  The traffic level and the topics covered would make this
> list nearly unbearable to someone unless they were interested in the
> project in general.   I don't think it is necessarily lack of interest
> or lack of writers.  It could just be a question of finding them.
> So instead of having posts lost in the ocean of ooo-dev,  maybe we'd
> have better luck with:
> 1) Adding some specific ODF Authors call for volunteers info on our
> "help wanted" page;

I'm actually surprised that you are suggesting calling for techwriters
to join ODFAuthors instead of trying to get them involved with
"official" Apache-licensed user docs. I'm not objecting, mind you, but
I am surprised.

> 2) cc'ing ooo-users on a "call for volunteers" (or reviewers) post.
> (ooo-users is more power users than normal users)
> 3) Write a blog post on the project blog, explaining the documentation
> program you have in general, what you've accomplished and then explain
> how interested parties can get involved.  We can promote that post via
> social networking sites and get thousands of views,  This is probably
> your best bet.

We don't actually have a documentation program at this point. All the
official stuff is still under discussion as to which way to go, what
to do, where to do it.

> 4) In general, promote the idea of volunteering.  For example, imagine
> something like this:
> "Just in time for the release of Apache OpenOffice 3.4 we have
> refreshed content for the User Guides.   Technical writers with the
> ODF Authors project have worked hard to create these updates, but we
> need to your help to review these new guides.  Both technical and
> editorial reviews are valuable.   This is a great opportunity for new
> volunteers on the project, since it assumes no previous knowledge
> about OpenOffice, and in fact you will learn a lot about it in the
> process!
> To volunteer, please join the following mailing list XXXXXX and
> introduce yourself.   Our editors are standing by."
> See?  Make it interesting, exciting and actionable.

Over the years I've done quite a bit of that type of recruitment. My
experience is that such efforts mostly bring forth a collection of
wannabe writers who waste enormous amounts of my time and produce
nothing useful, and reviewers who nitpick but don't notice actual
errors in content. The few productive members of the ODFAuthors team
appear to have come on their own, and those few make great

For the various reasons mentioned above, I personally am not motivated
to do any of the sort of recruitment you suggest at this time. If
someone else wants to do so, that's fine.

I totally agree with your comment in the first paragraph about
techwriters probably not being on this list. I think we need a
separate list. But every time the topic has come up, it's been lost in
the "wait until the traffic gets high enough and then we'll consider a
separate list" syndrome (not specifically about a docs list). No, I'm
not going to attempt to look up when I brought up the subject.


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