Needed: Drupal programmers who can write!
There's a lot of energy right now in the Drupal Documentation Team, which is great! My docs team co-lead Ariane has put together a team of dedicated folks who are regularly contributing to the Drupal.org on-line documentation, and their efforts are really paying off in better documentation.
But there isn't quite so much energy in the API/programmer section of the docs team, which I'm in charge of, so I'd like to make a Call to Action. What I'd like to have on the Docs Team:
- At least 10 regular "programmer/writer" contributors -- people who are PHP programmers, either familiar with Drupal or wanting to get more familiar, who can write documentation for other programmers.
- Each contributor dedicating perhaps an hour a week, as time permits. A good choice of the hour to contribute would be Tuesdays at 1pm Los Angeles time during our IRC-based (#drupal-docs) weekly "documentation office hours" (here's a sample documentation office hours announcement -- find more updates on the Documentation Team group page).
- Each contributor either making API documentation patches, reviewing API documentation patches, or doing other projects identified in the "sprints" on the Documentation Team group page -- for instance, the current programmer-writer sprint is working on finishing the Drupal 6 to 7 module and theme update reference pages.
If you'd like to get started:
- Read the page on how to make API documentation patches.
- Find me (jhodgdon) on IRC (#drupal-docs channel) for help.
- Sign up on the docs topic sub-group members page in the API documentation section.
Why would you want to do this?
I find that writing API documentation is fun and rewarding -- I got recognized as one of the top 10 patch contributors to Drupal 7 due mostly to writing API documentation patches. They're mostly fairly quick and easy, and non-controversial, so when you write a documentation patch, it will probably get accepted -- unlike the struggle it is to get a code patch accepted. So you can get many instances of a small amount of glory for your valued efforts!
That said, I'd welcome suggestions on how to recruit and retain programmer-writers... What I've seen in the past couple of years is that quite a few programmers have decided they want to contribute to the Drupal project, and have started by making an API documentation improvement patch. This is of course welcome and helpful, but most of these contributors have then stopped after one or two patches, and either moved on to other contributions (core code patches, contributed modules, etc.), or given up on contributing to the project -- I'm not sure which. It takes a certain amount of time and effort to educate new contributors on code and documentation standards, how to make patches, how to find what to work on, etc. So although I am happy to do this, it would be much more efficient if some of the new contributors would stay on and keep making API documentation patches. I hope they all feel that their contributions were valued and recognized... what else can I do to help retain them?
Post your suggestions here, please!