At the start of 2016, through various sources, I discovered the Write the Docs community. Best thing that happened in my professional life. I was vaguely aware of the Write the Docs movement (and that is what it is), I decided to get involved because I was getting disillusioned by the other tech writing body I have been working with (the ASTC) for a number of years. I knew a few Australian based writers who were already a part of this community and their feedback was encouraging.
“Write the Docs is a series of conference and meetups focussed on all things related to software documentation”, is how the website describes it, but I suspect it has matured beyond software documentation. It is a rapidly growing community of anyone associated with, or involved with documentation, be it developers, customer support, technical writers or product managers.
While the Write the Docs has 2 conferences every year, one in Portland, Oregon (US) and the other in Europe (various locations), the community is also supported via a number of meetups hosted across a number of cities in US and Europe. It was time to get the Write the Docs to Australia. Our first Aussie WTD meetup took place in Melbourne on 9th Sept 2016.
Write the Docs Melbourne Sept 2016
The ever affable and enthusiastic Sarah Maddox accepted my invitation to speak at our first meetup and even flew down from Sydney specially for this. Thank you Sarah!
In her presentation, Sarah gave us the low-down on how to work with engineers to create, collaborate and produce API documentation. She stressed the importance of getting to know the engineers, their interests and participating in work activities such as hackathons with engineers.
During Sarah’s talk, she got the meetup attendees to live collaborate on a document she had shared before her presentation. At the conclusion of the talk, she discussed the comments from the live documentation. This was a way to demonstrate how tech writers and engineers collaborate on content.
After her talk, I gave the attendees a preview of my conference presentation on “When bad screenshots happen to good writers”. It was well received and I got some good tips and feedback on the presentation material.
The WTD Melbourne meetup has now over a 100 members who have signed up in a space of 6 weeks; members across a variety of professions and backgrounds, interested in the art of documentation.
Got an idea for a presentation? Know someone who is keen on sharing their knowledge of awesome documentation techniques? Have a burning documentation issue you need to address with fellow documentarians?
Get in touch with me through the WTD Melbourne meetup page and we can schedule something.