Each year we run an event called the Writing Day during the conference. This event is modeled after the concept of sprints, which are common in open-source conferences. The main premise is to get a bunch of interesting people in a room together and have them work towards shared goals.
To make the most out of the Writing Day, we recommend that you either come with a project, or be ready and willing to contribute to someone else’s project.
Here are some examples of projects that you might want to work on:
- Open source software documentation
- General documentation writing
- Best practices manual (For your company, or the world)
- Blog posts
- Tips and tricks
- Great works of fiction
- Love letters
- The Documentarian Manifesto
You get the idea.
All this adds up to a room full of smart people sharing your problems, your passion, and your goals. So be ready to learn some new things and to teach others what you know.
Even if you feel as though you don’t know that much, we know you have a lot to offer. Come surprise yourself with how much you can share.
Documenting a new project?¶
Check out our beginners guide to writing documentation. This should help you get started, and give you some ideas for how you can contribute to a project that you love.
Please bring a computer or some other mechanism with which to create written words. We’ll be creating and editing content, so make sure that you have the tools you need to contribute.
- Date & Time: Sunday, May 7, 9am-5pm Pacific Time.
- Location: Library & Astoria room (Bottom floor).
Exact timing information is available on our Schedule page.
During the conference¶
Attendees, folks looking for projects to contribute to, check out the Writing Day Cheat Sheet! It’s a great resources you can use during the conference to make the most out of Writing Day.
Project leads and volunteers, check out the Maximize your experience section of our Write the Docs <3’s OSS blog post for helpful tips and tricks.
Submit Your Project¶
We encourage attendees to submit projects for Writing Day in advance. You are more than welcome to bring a project, and announce it during the actual Writing Day.
Here are some of the projects that you can work on during Writing Day!
Welcome to Cyclone, we are building an analytics tool that shows how users interact with your content, starting from your docs to other areas like creating support tickets and APIs. We are designing our project to help understand what technical writers need and we want your feedback to help us focus on the most important features.
Looking to unleash the hidden superpower of technical writers? Imagine being able to see everything users do after reading your docs! We believe technical writers’ contribution deserves more recognition, especially in this tech downturn amid waves of layoffs. We hope folks can gain a few ideas about showcasing their impact after this exercise!
Join us for a day of creative brainstorming or daydreaming! Our goal is to create a space where to:
- Collaborate on developing metrics that truly reflect the impact of your work.
- Write a captivating blog post about your findings.
With your feedback and our expertise and passion for software engineering, let’s see which of these metrics can be brought to life!
Blueprint (morning session)¶
Blueprint is an experimental spec and toolchain to define the organization, structure, and layout of docs. You can use blueprint to scaffold, migrate, analyze, and validate documentation.
Use blueprint to create schemas that describe the structure of common doc types like reference docs, how tos, discussions, and tutorials. You can use schemas to create new docs as well as validate that existing docs conform to the given schema.
Blueprint is meant to work with any language via plugins and will come with built-in support for github flavored markdown.
Blueprint is at this stage more concept than implementation. Our Writing Day goal is to write the documentation for some of Blueprint’s core features!
Depending on time, we plan to cover some or all of the following topics. We believe the initial work here includes:
- blueprint spec: the syntax used in defined blueprints
- we will go over the syntax and clarify any ambiguity as well as add additional features: blueprint validate <schema> <targetFile>: check that <targetFile> matches a given blueprint
- we will go over what the output of validation should look like: blueprint migrate <schema>: mechanisms to evolve schemas over time and apply the changes to all docs that implement the schema
- we will go over the means of a migration, how this is implemented, and how a developer can define a migration: blueprint <your-idea-here>: new blueprint functionality
Additionally, we’d love to go over any burning pain points you have with docs that you think a tool like blueprint could solve.
EkLine is a software solution that integrates seamlessly into your content creation pipeline. It provides automatic quality checks, utilizing a unique blend of grammar, style, and custom rules to ensure consistency across your documents. We use advanced AI, machine learning algorithms, and a diverse set of proofreading tools, including vale.sh, for high-quality suggestions.
We are a software tool that makes technical writing easy, but ironically we are missing documentation for our customers.
Our Writing Day goal is to:
- Get input about our current tech stack
- Brainstorm on an effective documentation strategy
The Good Docs Project¶
The Good Docs Project is an open-source community of 50+ technical writers, doc tools experts, UX designers, and software engineers who are committed to improving the quality of documentation in open source. We aim to educate and empower people to create high-quality documentation by providing them with resources, best practices, and tools to enhance their documentation in open source and beyond.
Our project is divided into small working groups that consist of a few people collaborating together to work on a Good Docs Project initiative or focus area of the project. Throughout Writing Day, we’ll feature workshops that will give you a chance to provide feedback on these key initiatives. Your feedback will help us improve and shape our future roadmap!
Get an early preview of The Good Docs Project writing day agenda.
Hank is an experimental prototype to see whether we can fine-tune an LLM to function as a style guide editor. The initial results suggest that it could work. Let’s keep going!
We are looking for contributors to help create training data. This requires no programming experience whatsoever. Here’s how it works, pick a style guide rule, and then create 50 to 100 examples of “before” and “after” text for that rule.
For example, here is how you would format a style guide “before” and “after” rule against
the use of
please in a document:
Please click the button.
Click the button.
At the end of Writing Day we will create a new fine-tuned LLM and see if it “remembers” all the rules. Please put on your “scientist” hat and remember that this is an experiment… experiments don’t always work!
Rocky Linux is a community Enterprise Linux distribution for everything from desktops to hyperscale! It is under intensive development by the open-source community.
Our Writing Day goals:
- Review the Rocky Linux documentation against vale.sh
- Improve the grammar and style
- Edit docs to ensure our language is gender neutral, non-offensive, and fits word usage
Want to stay involved in documentation after Writing Day? Join our Mattermost Documentation channel.
The dbt Labs Docs team is a small but mighty team and Writing Day is the first time that we will be all together! We are looking for collaborators and dbt docs contributions. We have prizes for the top contributors!
Our Writing Day goals:
- Give potential contributors an overview of the open-source tool chain we use, Docusaurus and GitHub.
- Address open doc issues, issues labelled Good First Issue can be addressed with little dbt knowledge.
- Draft an operating model to help internal stakeholders understand how to interact with the dbt Docs team.
Writerside is an authoring and publication solution for writing technical docs built on the same platform as JetBrains IDEs. It comes with a handful of doc templates out of the box. You can use them to author common types of content like overviews, how-to guides, and reference material. Our goal is to share best practices and help writers who are starting new projects discover templates that help them achieve their goals.
We hope to expand our template library, to include:
- Templates for different industries and audiences
- Templates for entire projects
If you have experience in this area or are curious to know more, we welcome your participation. If you are about to start a new project, join us to see if these templates help kickstart your work.
At Raspberry Pi we build computers and microcontrollers, and develop the software, documentation, and other elements that support them.
The documentation for Raspberry Pi grew as we did: organically. Over the years, hundreds of community contributors have made thousands of individual pull requests, ranging from fixing small typos to contributing whole new sections.
Our online documentation is marked up in AsciiDoc, lives in Git, and is built automatically into a static site using GitHub Actions.
Raspberry Pi is looking for Writing Day attendees to contribute to our open-source documentation. We’re looking for contributions that focus on:
- Narrative structure
- Style Guide improvements
We’re looking forward to talking to you about the sort of issues (no pun intended) that come up when you’re dealing with a big corpus of unedited documentation that comes from a number of different sources — at the same time as incorporating new material into the documentation repo.
Step-ca is analogous to the popular public web certificate authority, Let’s Encrypt. It is an open-source certificate authority toolkit and ACME server for securely automating certificate issuance and management.
We’re looking for volunteers to help polish and make the style more consistent across our most popular doc pages. Our docs are technically correct, but are not very concise. We have opened issues for each of such pages and appropriately labeled them Writing Day.
Review each identified page and consider making the following types of improvements:
- Update and use Semantic Linefeeds consistently
- Apply guidelines from Google’s Developer Documentation Style Guide.
- Edit for grammar and style issues: convert passive voice to active voice, edit run-on sentences with multiple clauses, reorder concepts lists as needed, etc.
If you come across something you can’t fix, you’re welcome to create an issue on our repository.
Our developer advocate Linda is at Writing Day! She is available to help you understand exactly what’s needed for these tasks and to help work through any problems. We’re so excited to meet you and merge your pull requests!
GitLab Documentation (afternoon-only session)¶
GitLab is the open-core project behind the platform that empowers people to collaborate on their own projects, primarily to deliver software faster, and more efficiently.
The documentation for GitLab and the GitLab documentation website are open-source and maintained by GitLab team members and our community.
As with previous years, we want to invite participants to contribute! Participants can get a sense of how to contribute to an open-source documentation project, and how to use GitLab. The GitLab platform hosts many open-source projects, so participants will hopefully garner the skills to contribute to other projects!
Beginners are welcome as we’ll have instructions as well as people on hand to help.
Mutual Aid for Tech Writer/Documentarian Job Hunters¶
Coordinated by Kenzie Woodbridge, they/them. Kenzie has hosted this session for previous virtual Write the Docs conferences during Writing Day.
Are you thinking of applying for a new or different tech writer/documentarian jobs and would appreciate feedback on your resume? Or, are you responsible for hiring and know what you’re looking for in a resume and application? Let’s get together and offer each other some feedback on the important documentation we’re using to move our careers forward.
Let’s help each other get ready for the job fair!
Meet the Team, Test Your Docs, and Contribute to Ours.
Doc Detective is an open-source documentation testing framework that makes it easy to keep your docs accurate and up-to-date. You write low-code (soon no-code) tests, and Doc Detective runs them directly against your product to make sure your docs match your user experience. Whether it’s a UI-based process or a series of API calls, Doc Detective helps you find doc bugs before your users do.
Doc Detective supports tests in Chrome and Firefox today and plans to support tests for native iOS, Android, macOS, Windows, and Linux applications in the future.
Our documentation source files are available on GitHub, and anyone can contribute them:
- Take a look at the issues labeled “writing day”.
- If you don’t find something you’d like to work on, view all issues labeled “documentation” or browse the docs and find something else you’d like to improve (and log it in a new issue).
- Once you find the issue you want to work on, add a comment mentioning @hawkeyexl to inform us that you’re working on this for Writing Day (and tell us in person!).
- Create a pull request with your proposed changes.
- Once your pull request is reviewed and merged, it will appear on the docs site shortly!
Stop by to chat and build some tests for your docs. If you have any questions, you can reach out to us in person or on Discord.
Read the Docs¶
Read the Docs is an open-source hosting tool, mostly focused on Docs as Code. This sprint will give you a few options:
- Contribute to their public documentation which is on GitHub
- Try building your Docs as Code documentation on their platform
The documentation is written in Sphinx & reStructuredText, but you can try out your own project using any framework, as long as it’s open source.