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From Rob Weir <>
Subject Re: What could Doc be?
Date Thu, 01 Sep 2011 00:36:12 GMT
On Wed, Aug 31, 2011 at 6:24 PM, Jean Weber <> wrote:
> Rob,
> Thanks for the comments and encouraging ideas. Before I can answer the
> more substantial questions in a useful way, I'll need to do some
> research and dust off my docs-project-scoping skills from my years at
> IBM Australia. So for now I'll just respond to this one:

Thanks, but no presentation decks, please!  That is one IBM skill I
hope to escape by working on open source ;-)

My general view is this:  After 10 years of we have
about as many volunteers as the status quo will ever get us.  If
someone is really interested and able to contribute to the project,
they either are doing so already, do doing so for LibreOffice.   This
is due to the great work OOo did over the years raising awareness of
the project.

The move to Apache changes things somewhat.  The project is now a
community-led project, not a corporate-led project.  It now has a
permissive license.  This changes the equation and could bring in some
new contributors.   I think this will mainly be new
corporate-sponsored contributors.  Not exclusively, but the changes
that the move to Apache will bring  will be particularly attractive to
such contributors.

If we want to do better than that, then we need to do more then the
status quo.  We cannot just do the same things and expect better
results.  We need to do more than just migrate/translate/rehost/move
OOo to Apache.  We need to up our game.  This requires more
volunteers, of course.  But the magic is, by expressing a bolder
vision we can attract the kinds of volunteers that can make this

Ask yourself, if you were not already involved, and had a history with
the project, what would interest a person of your skills in
volunteering? That's the kind of person we want to attract!

I'm not a documentation expert, but I've noticed some trends:

1) Moves to using structured formats that allow content to be more
easily sliced and diced and targeted to different outputs.    DITA is
one way of doing it, but similar approaches could be based on ODF.

2) Collaboration with users.  Several companies do this their online
doc.  Each page allows comments, a thread at the bottom of the page
for user's to enter additional observations, tips, corrections, etc.

3) Multi-media.  It is amazing what a 30 second video clip can teach
you about pivot tables that would take pages of text to explain.

4) Tightening the bounds between documentation, product help, support
and training.  That goes back a to 1) above, the structuring of the
information to make it reusable.

Would things like the above attract more interest?


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