Write the Docs Australia: 2 years and counting…

This Friday, 20th July 2018 marks Write the Docs Australia’s second birthday.

Last year, when I documented A year of documentation goodness I had a fair idea of how I wanted to contribute to and build this community. I am amazed at how the community has grown over the last two years and the friendships and opportunities it has provided to a very diverse group of people who care about and are passionate about documentation.

I hope it has benefitted the community as much as it has to me in terms of personal growth, knowledge sharing, learning, and networking.

Challenges

Organising the community meetup events and the conference has been one of the most challenging roles outside of work. I have learnt a lot about building and growing a community, finding speakers and convincing them to speak, promoting the community, and organising the logistics of the event.

Russell Dickenson and Brice Fallon-Freeman (Brisbane), Sarah Maddox and Michalina Ziemba (Sydney), Nicola Nye (Melbourne), Leticia Mooney (Adelaide) and Shauna McGee Kinney (Perth) have been a huge support in helping me start, organise and keeping the city-specific events running smoothly.

In order for this community to grow organically, it is important for members to support us by attending, volunteering, take every opportunity to speak and share their knowledge and promoting the community within their organisations. Documentation is critical to any role, product, system, process and this community provide a good environment to nurture this passion and add to your skills and professional networks.

Membership stats

Speaking of members, the Write the Docs Australia membership now stands at 479 and while not all of them are regular attendees, we’ve certainly established a steady credence of attendees and volunteers for our events. Luckily, the varied nature of our talks has encouraged a range of people to attend, depending on the presentation topic, which has always brought about different perspectives, ideas, and questions.

Here is some data provided by Meetup.com:

WTD_Joins
Member joins
WTD_Going
Active/passive participation

Slack channel

The Australian WTD slack community has close to 97 members.

In the same time range, the Write the Docs slack community now stands at 4186 (was 2206 same time last year).

Write the Docs Australia events

We’ve certainly had a very busy 12 months with 15 events across Australia:

  • 4 in Brisbane
  • 3 in Melbourne
  • 3 in Sydney,
  • 2 remote sessions,
  • 1 each in Adelaide and Perth and
  • The first one-day mini-conference/event (Add Sarah Maddox’s blog link)
  • Collaborated with Young Coders AU and Justin Cheong to hold a Draw+Code+Write workshop for kids. It was very well received and we hope to do this again.

A big thank you to all the speakers who volunteered and readily presented and participated in our events.

All things documentation

  • We talked about Content Strategy, Design errors, UX documentation, working with chatbots, SVG for tech writers, history of Australian games industry, minimalism in documentation, developers documentation, imposter syndrome, Information Architecture, Q&A around tech writing teams and hiring, contributing to open source docs, moving docs from word to web, ethics and documentation, doc fix-its, API documentation and knowledge management.
    From a pure attendee viewpoint, there is just so much documentation goodness people are willing to share and so much to learn if you are documenting in any aspect of your role.
  • We had 2 remote sessions: a lunchtime session on docs-like-code presented by @Anne Gentle all the way from the US and another Australia-wide one featuring 5 lightning talks and 2 presentations on release notes and devrel from members all across Australia.
  • We had founders, writers, content strategists, graduate students, developers, UXers, QA, product owners and engineers attend, network, speak and share their experiences.
  • We had ongoing support from companies like Atlassian, General Assembly, Red Hat, and BigWorld/Wargaming who hosted our events and sponsored food/drinks generously.

All of these events have been undertaken by volunteers on their own time and in addition to their busy schedules, so a huge shoutout to everyone involved in keeping the community going.

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What’s coming up in 2018?

The first full 2-day Write the Docs Australia conference takes place in Melbourne on 15 and 16 November and we hope to make it a regular feature on the Australian tech/ documentation as well as the Write the Docs conferences calendar.

Before the conference, we will have another round of meetup events across

There is a possibility of another WTD event (in collaboration with UX and CS communities) in Adelaide.

We will round up the year with another remote session (details to be confirmed) in December.

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