The OpenStack manuals project had a really productive week at the OpenStack summit in Boston. You can find a list of all the etherpads and attendees here: https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/docs-summit
As we all know, we are rapidly losing key contributors and core reviewers. We are not alone, this is happening across the board. It is making things harder, but not impossible. Since our inception in 2010, we’ve been climbing higher and higher trying to achieve the best documentation we could, and uphold our high standards. This is something to be incredibly proud of. However, we now need to take a step back and realise that the amount of work we are attempting to maintain is now out of reach for the team size that we have. At the moment we have 13 cores, of which none are full time contributors or reviewers. This includes myself.
That being said! I have spent the last week at the summit talking to some of our leaders, including Doug Hellmann (cc’d), Jonathan Bryce and Mike Perez regarding the future of the project. Between myself and other community members, we have been drafting plans and coming up with a new direction that will hopefully be sustainable in the long-term.
I am interested to hear your thoughts. I want to make sure that everyone feels that we’re headed in the right direction first and foremost. All of these action items are documented in this WIP etherpad: https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/doc-planning
Some further highlights from the event…
· The documentation team was represented by myself, Olga, and Alex Adamov for the Project Update: Documentation on the Monday. If you’d like to catch up with what we talked about, the video is available online now: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jcfbKxbpRvc The translation team PTL, Ian Choi, also had a session about getting more involved with the I18N team. You can view that video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybFI4nez_Z8
· Ian and I also hosted the joint I18N and documentation onboarding session. We were visited by some friendly faces, and some new ones. Between Ian and myself, we discussed the documentation and translation workflows, and how to get involved (the mailing list, IRC channel, etc). Which was lots of fun :) we’d love to see more people there in the future, hopefully we’ll slowly get there!
· This week I was focusing heavily on making the community aware that the documentation team was struggling to maintain contributors, but continuing with the same amount of work. This was a heavy conversation to be having, but it posed some really interesting questions to key leaders, and hopefully raised appropriate concerns. Ildiko and I hosted “OpenStack documentation: The future depends on all of us”. This was a really interesting session. I was able to pose to the group of attendees that the documentation team was struggling to maintain contributions. Major Hayden was kind enough to take notes during the session, you can find those here: https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/doc-future The project teams that came and represented their groups were interested in discussing the project-specific documentation (is living in the project’s repo tree the best place?) and voiced concerns I had otherwise not heard before. I recommend reading the notes to get a better idea :)
· Kendall Nelson and Ildiko also hosted a session on the OpenStack Upstream Institute highlights. I recommend watching the video which is now live and available here: https://www.openstack.org/videos/boston-2017/openstack-upstream-institute-highlights
· One of the key takeaways from the summit was the session that I joint moderated with Melvin Hillsman regarding the Operations and Administration Guides. You can find the etherpad with notes here: https://etherpad.openstack.org/p/admin-ops-guides The session was really helpful – we were able to discuss with the operators present the current situation of the documentation team, and how they could help us maintain the two guides, aimed at the same audience. The operator’s present at the session agreed that the Administration Guide was important, and could be maintained upstream. However, they voted and agreed that the best course of action for the Operations Guide was for it to be pulled down and put into a wiki that the operators could manage themselves. We will be looking at actioning this item as soon as possible.
These action items will free up the documentation team to become gate keepers and reviewers of documentation. Our key focus as a team will be on the tooling for the docs.openstack.org site (including the API docs).
I’m really interested to hear everyone’s thoughts going forward – this is not set in stone. We need to change our strategy, and now is the time. If you’d rather reach out and discuss this personally, asettle on IRC is always the best place to find me.
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