Tag Archives: Season of Docs

Season of Docs announces the successful 2020 long-running projects

And, that’s a wrap! Season of Docs has announced the 2020 program results for long-running projects. You can view a list of successfully completed technical writing projects on the website along with their final project reports.

15 technical writers successfully completed their long-running technical writing projects. During the program, technical writers spent a few months working closely with an open source community. They brought their technical writing expertise to improve the project's documentation while the open source projects provided mentors to introduce the technical writers to open source tools, workflows, and the project's technology.

Congratulations to the technical writers and organization mentors on these successful projects!

What’s next?

Program participants should expect an email in the next few weeks about how to get their Season of Docs 2020 t-shirt!

If you were excited about participating, please do write social media posts. See the promotion and press page for images and other promotional materials you can include, and be sure to use the tag #SeasonOfDocs when promoting your project on social media. To include the tech writing and open source communities, add #WriteTheDocs, #techcomm, #TechnicalWriting, and #OpenSource to your posts.

If you’re interested in participating in a future Season of Docs, we’re currently accepting organization applications for the 2021 program. Be sure to sign up for the announcements email list to stay informed!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Season of Docs 2020: 5 Technical communication learnings as an open source contributor

Open source contributions have always intrigued me as they are a good way for developing skills needed in the real world. When I stumbled upon Season of Docs (SoD) 2020, while watching Amruta Ranades technical writing videos, I was thrilled to find an opportunity that serves as a bridge between technical writers and different open source organizations. I was intrigued by how there is an open source software or tool addressing different industry needs (eg: HR, video editing, education, robotics, etc), and how the lack of good documentation moderates the user adoption.

Figure 1: Open source projects are resourceful for developing new skills and building new industry connections

This blog post summarizes my technical communication learnings while working as an open source contributor with CircuitVerse.

Documentation audit is key: To prepare my technical writer application, I audited available documentation of five organizations for the following factors:

  • What documentation is available?
  • Who is the target audience?
  • Does it cover all the functionality?
  • Does it cover end-user needs?
  • Is the documentation any good?
Based on my findings, I further narrowed down my choice to two organizations. While preparing the SoD proposal for CircuitVerse(CV), I drafted a content proposal plan that included a mixed bag of video prototypes, tutorials and existing content improvement and remapping to illustrate my ability to understand real world problems and tech integration capabilities. You can find my final project proposal, which got me selected as a participant for Season of Docs 2020 with CircuitVerse here.*

*A special shout out to Audrey Tavares (a past-participator of SoD 2019, Oppia) for answering my queries and guiding me through the process.

Know your audience: When SoD concluded in December 2020, I had produced a series of video tutorials and rewritten the complete documentation for the CV simulator. You can find the complete project report here.

Audience analysis is key to the success of a documentation project. Do your research and ask enough questions to understand your audience and discover vital facts.

In my case, I concluded from my initial findings that the primary audience were students, but the mentors corrected me that the primary audience are educators. This provided a cue for the team that the message is not clear and we revised the content layout to cater to the primary audience.

Secondly, avoid assumptions, and be prepared with agreeing to disagree––conflicts can be healthy!

Write documentation for an evolving platform: Documentation empowers users to feel confident about the product and build trust. One of the key pain points of working on open source documentation is that the platform is continuously upgraded with new features and functionalities. So how do you strike a balance?

While the CV videos had some UI discrepancies, I focused on making sure that the user guide content (that is live) is detailed enough, and gives users clear instructions on how to accomplish a task. I learned that videos play a key role in demonstrating a workflow while the text documentation must be detailed and updated frequently.

Build up developer and documentation tools proficiency: Contributing to open source projects expands one’s familiarity with real world practices, including working with different tools like Adobe Camtasia, GitHub and Markdown. While my comfort level with GitHub grew, I learned better practices for working with Markdown for a large data set. I used the Docs to Markdown add-on for Google Docs to transpose the content in markdown before uploading it to GitHub.

Focus on fluid communication skills while working with subject matter experts: The SoD opportunity allowed me to experience working in a distributed, collaborative environment across borders and geographies––replicates the traditional corporate world.

While my mentors were receptive to my suggestions, I made an effort to keep them apprised about the progress and missing deadlines of the project. For instance, I improvised the documentation deliverable midway with their consent. I realized that it was important to have good, clear documentation available for the available popular topics before adding new content.

When my mentors and I were in doubt, we reached out to the CV Slack community for user feedback on different aspects.

Warming up as an Open Source Contributor
Although my project with CircuitVerse has been successfully completed, I look forward to my continued journey with CircuitVerse, and continued open source contributions with other organizations in 2021. If this is your first time applying for Season of Docs, refer the FAQ for technical writers to gather more insights into the program. You can also give a shout out to the extremely helpful program admins at [email protected] or post your queries on the Season of Docs Slack channel.

Guest Post by Pragati Chaplot Jain – Season of Docs Participant

SoD and technical documentation in an open source organization

Featured image


Documentation in open source organizations is a complicated job because there are so many new edits and issues occurring daily, that without a dedicated team, they become challenging to manage. Since open source organizations mostly rely on volunteers it is not unusual for a small task to take longer than if full-time team members were dedicated to it. Time is of the essence when improving documentation; since as contributors continue to add value to the organization, chances are there will be more work content to continuously work through. Season of Docs (SoD) aims to aid with documentation in an effective way.

SoD creates an environment where freelance technical writers can work with an open source organization for 3–5 months. The technical writers can get paid and the organizations get a dedicated individual to take care of their documentation —a win-win for everyone.

I had the opportunity to work with ESLint under SoD 2020, where I was able to learn quite a lot, with the aim to improve and organize the Configuration Documentation of ESLint. From understanding the work of ESLint and the structure of the existing documentation to managing a short-term project and collaborating with other volunteers, the project was filled with learning experiences. The best aspect was that I realized the worth of my contribution, but also felt appreciated all along. Often, technical documentation and communication are not given much attention but with SoD it was different.

The Positives

A different perspective

A freelance technical writer, in most cases, is a person who is not a part of the organization. An external perspective with the existing documentation can point out some issues which may otherwise go unnoticed. Additionally, since the freelance writer is entirely dedicated to the task they’re able to solely focus on that task.

Collaborative environment

One of the best things about open source organizations is the level of collaboration. While working in such an environment, where everyone is so willing to help and to give valuable input, a freelance contributor does not feel alienated at all. There is a lot of valuable feedback and the work of a technical writer is both respected and appreciated.

Some Challenges

As in any other project, documentation in an open source organization is not free of some hiccups.

Understanding the content

Freelance technical writers have limited time to get acquainted with the objectives and the content of the open source organization, making things a little hard if the writers have not previously interacted with (or heard of) the organizations they are working with. Reflecting on my own experience, I feel that this was a major concern for me since I had no previous experience with linting software.

Thanks to the 'community bonding period' however, which lasts for almost a month before the project officially begins, the freelance writers can get some understanding of the organization and the content.

Time

Since most of the contributors are working voluntarily, their engagements can prolong the process of review and feedback, which can make meeting the project deadline feel challenging at times

Overcoming the Challenges

It doesn't matter if you're working under the SoD umbrella, contributing to strengthen your portfolio, or trying to gain more practical experience, the following tips can be helpful.
  • Communication is key. It is important to convey your concerns regarding time, commitments, and other engagements so that the expectations are met.
  • Ask questions! You won’t know everything about the project.
  • Be flexible. Your project might change after you start working on it, and things don't always go as you planned.
  • Use the 'community bonding period' to interact with your mentor and other collaborators, indulge in small tasks, and get to know the people and the organization.
  • Value the work and feedback of others. Everyone who is a part of the community is trying to add some value to the organization.
SoD serves as an excellent platform in bringing technical writers and open source organizations closer.

Guest Post by Khawar Latif Khan – Season of Docs Participant

The 2021 Season of Docs application for organizations is open!

Season of docs icon

Google Open Source is delighted to announce Season of Docs 2021!

The 2019 Season of Docs brought together open source organizations and technical writers to create 44 successful documentation projects. In 2020, we had 64 successful standard-length technical writing projects and are still awaiting long-running project results.

In 2021, the Season of Docs program will continue to support better documentation in open source and provide opportunities for skilled technical writers to gain open source experience. In addition, building on what we’ve learned from the successful 2019 and 2020 projects, we’re expanding our focus to include learning about effective metrics for evaluating open source documentation.

What are the 2021 program changes?

Season of Docs 2021 will allow open source organizations to apply for a grant based on their documentation needs. If selected, open source organizations will use their grant to hire a technical writer directly to complete their documentation project. Organizations will have up to six months to complete their documentation project. Keep reading for more information about the organization application or visit the Season of Docs site.

Technical writers interested in working with accepted open source organizations will be able to share their contact information via the Season of Docs GitHub repository; or they may submit proposals directly to the organizations and will not need to submit a formal application through Season of Docs.

Participating organizations will help broaden our understanding of effective documentation practices and metrics in open source by submitting a final case study upon completion of the program. The project case study will outline the problem the documentation project was intended to solve, what metrics were used to judge the effectiveness of the documentation, and what the organization learned for the future. All the project case studies will be published on the Season of Docs site at the end of the program.

How does it work?

February 9 - March 26 Open source organizations apply to take part in Season of Docs
April 16 Google publishes the list of accepted organizations, along with their project proposals and doc development can begin.
June 16 Organization administrators begin to submit monthly evaluations to report on the status of their project.
November 30 Organization administrators submit their case study and final project evaluation.
December 14 Google publishes the 2021 case studies and aggregate project data.
May 2, 2022 Organizations begin to participate in post-program followup surveys.

See the timeline for details.

Organization applications

Organization applications are now open! The deadline to apply is March 26, 2021 at 18:00 UTC.

To apply, first read the guidelines for creating an organization application on the Season of Docs website.

Take a look at the examples of project ideas, then create a project proposal based on your open source project’s actual documentation needs. Your goal is to attract technical writers to your organization, making them feel comfortable about approaching the organization and excited about what they can achieve.

Organizations can submit their applications here: http://goo.gle/3qVxArQ. Organization applications close on March 26th at 18:00 UTC.

Technical writers interested in participating in the 2021 Season of Docs should read our guide for technical writers on the Season of Docs website.

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at [email protected].

Join us

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Check out the timeline and FAQ, and get ready to apply!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Season of Docs announces results of 2020 program

Season of Docs has announced the 2020 program results for standard-length projects. You can view a list of successfully completed technical writing projects on the website along with their final project reports.

Seasons of docs graphic
During the program, technical writers spend a few months working closely with an open source community. They bring their technical writing expertise to improve the project's documentation while the open source projects provided mentors to introduce the technical writers to open source tools, workflows, and the project's technology.

For standard-length technical writing projects in Season of Docs, the doc development phase is September 14, 2020 – November 30, 2020. However, some technical writers may apply for a long-running project. The technical writer makes this decision under consultation with the open source organization, based on the expectations for their project. For a long-running project, the doc development phase is September 14, 2020 – March 1, 2021.

64 technical writers successfully completed their standard-length technical writing projects. There are 18 long-running projects in progress that are expected to finish in March.
  • 80% of the mentors had a positive experience and want to mentor again in future Season of Docs cycles
  • 96% of the technical writers had a positive experience
  • 96% plan to continue contributing to open source projects
  • 94% of the technical writers said that Season of Docs helped improved their knowledge of code and/or open source
Take a look at the list of successful projects to see the wide range of subjects covered!

What is next?

The long-running projects are still in progress and finish in March 2021. Technical writers participating in these long-running projects submit their project reports before March 8th, and the writer and mentor evaluations are due by March 12th. Successfully completed long-running technical writing projects will be published on the results page on March 15, 2021.

If you were excited about participating, please do write social media posts. See the promotion and press page for images and other promotional materials you can include, and be sure to use the tag #SeasonOfDocs when promoting your project on social media. To include the tech writing and open source communities, add #WriteTheDocs, #techcomm, #TechnicalWriting, and #OpenSource to your posts.

Stay tuned for information about Season of Docs 2021—watch for posts in this blog and sign up for the announcements email list.

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source Programs Office

Season of Docs announces 2020 technical writing projects

Season of Docs has announced the technical writers participating in the program and their projects! You can view a list of organizations and technical writing projects on the website.

The program received over 500 technical writer applications, and with them, over 800 technical writing project proposals. The enthusiasm from the technical writing and open source communities has been amazing!

What is next?

During the community bonding period from August 17 to September 13, mentors must work with the technical writers to prepare them for the doc development phase. By the end of community bonding, the technical writer should be familiar with the open source project and community, understand the product as a whole, establish communication channels with the mentoring organization, and set clear goals and expectations for the project. These are critical to the successful completion of the technical writing project.

Documentation development begins on September 14, 2020.

What is Season of Docs?

Documentation is essential to the adoption of open source projects as well as to the success of their communities. Season of Docs brings together technical writers and open source projects to foster collaboration and improve documentation in the open source space. You can find out more about the program on the introduction page of the website.

During the program, technical writers spend a few months working closely with an open source community. They bring their technical writing expertise to the project's documentation and, at the same time, learn about the open source project and new technologies.

The open source projects work with the technical writers to improve the project's documentation and processes. Together, they may choose to build a new documentation set, redesign the existing docs, or improve and document the project's contribution procedures and onboarding experience.

General timeline
August 16Google announces the accepted technical writer projects
August 17 - September 13Community bonding: Technical writers get to know mentors and the open source community, and refine their projects in collaboration with their mentors
September 14 - December 5Technical writers work with open source mentors on the accepted projects, and submit their work at the end of the period
January 6, 2021Google publishes the list of successfully-completed projects

See the full timeline for details, including the provision for projects that run longer than three months.

Find out more

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Check out the FAQ for further questions!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Program Managers, Google Open Source Programs Office

Insights from mixing writers with open source

The OSGeo Foundation participated in Google’s first Season of Docs, where Google sponsored technical writers to contribute to open source projects. The Open Geospatial Foundation (OSGeo), is an umbrella organization for around 50 geospatial open source projects. I’ve contributed to a number of these projects over the years and co-mentored the two Season of Docs technical writers allocated to us.
Screenshot from the OSGeoLive distribution we've been documenting, available under a CC-By license.
During our involvement we discovered that, like many open source projects, we knew little about:
  • The state of our docs.
  • What we were aiming for.
  • What our priorities were.
  • The details of the challenges we faced.
  • How to improve.
We learned:
  • How hard it is to keep tech docs current.
  • Skillsets from multiple roles are needed to create good docs.
  • Open source’s docs and writing processes are immature when compared to software development.
It is an exciting problem space with high-value challenges ready to be tackled. It reminds me of the early days of open source before it became trendy with business.

What should tech writers work on?

Open source communities welcomed the chance to have tech writers improve our docs, and expressed a pressing need for it, but found it challenging to articulate what exactly needed fixing.
  • People explained that their project docs often hadn’t been updated between doc releases.
  • Some projects had noticed new features that had not been documented.
  • Other projects had issue lists—collating observed deficiencies—but had no systematic review.
  • Most observed that docs were created by developers with no formal tech writing training.
  • Many noted that docs written by non-native language speakers and would benefit from grammatical review.
But where should we start? We needed to decide on what we wanted, what we should work on first.

What’s the definition of good docs?

And then we realized that we didn’t have a good definition of “good documentation.” For our software projects, we have a comprehensive incubation process to assess the maturity of software and the project’s community, but we couldn’t find a similar set of metrics to define “good documentation.” So we started TheGoodDocsProject, to collate “best-practice templates and writing instructions for documenting open source software.” This helped us define what we were aiming for, and prioritize what we can achieve with our available resources.

Documentation audit

Once we knew what good docs looked like, we were then able to audit the status of project’s docs:
  • What documentation do we have?
  • Does it cover all the functionality?
  • Does it cover end-user needs?
  • Is the documentation any good?
We discovered that the quality, currency, and completeness of our OSGeo docs were immature when compared to the quality software they described.

It takes a village to raise good docs

In researching open source projects’ documentation needs, it’s become clear that crafting good docs requires multiple skillsets. Ideally, a doc team would have access to:
  • A developer with a deep understanding of the software being described.
  • A software user who’s able to explain the application within the context of the application’s domain.
  • An educator who understands the principles of learning.
  • An information architect who understands how to structure material.
  • A writer who writes clearly and concisely with good grammar.
  • A translator who can translate docs into multiple languages.
  • A DevOps person who can set up doc build pipelines.
  • A community builder, facilitator, and coordinator, who can inspire collective action, capture offers of help, and help all these different personas collaborate together.
Technical writers usually have a high-level understanding of most of these domains and their skills are often under-appreciated and under-utilized, especially if directed with a vague “just clean up the grammar and stuff”. The best docs typically have been influenced by multiple stakeholders, which can be partly achieved using templates to collaborate between domains, timeframes, projects and organizations.

Tools for documenting open source projects are painful

We experienced significant difficulties trying to convert between writing and software toolsets. We love the versioning of git, are frustrated by clunky Markdown interfaces, and want access to editing and review workflows of Word and Google docs, along with grammar and syntax plugin tools such as Grammarly. Translation tools such as Transifex are pretty cool, too.

If a project were to address this use case, it would be an awesome gift to the open source community. Having someone write an application which addresses this use case would be helpful. Maybe there is an idea in here for a future Google Summer of Code?

Achievements during OSGeo’s Season of Docs

We’re quite proud of our achievements during OSGeo’s participation in the Season of Docs. Our allocated tech writers have amplified the effectiveness of our existing documentation communities, and our documentation communities have amplified the effectiveness of these tech writers.
  • Felicity Brand worked with around 50 of OSGeo’s open source projects to update their Quickstarts as part of our OSGeoLive distribution of software.
  • Swapnil Ogale worked directly with GeoNetwork’s documentation team, auditing the breadth of docs, and their quality, setting up templates for future docs to work towards, and updating a number of the docs.
Further:
  • We kicked off TheGoodDocsProject—“Best practice templates and writing instructions for documenting open source software.”
  • In conjunction with the OGC and ISO spatial standards communities, we kicked off an OSGeo Lexicon project, to coordinate official definitions for terminology used within the OSGeo context. This will apply best practice definitions to prior haphazard glossaries.
  • We did a deep-dive analysis of the documentation challenges faced by QGIS, one of OSGeo’s most successful projects. Surprisingly, their biggest problem isn’t a lack of tech writers or complicated tools (although they are factors). The key problems center around:
    • Poorly capturing community goodwill and offers of assistance.
    • A lack of direction.
    • Struggling to keep up with a rapidly evolving software baseline.
    • Insufficient writing expertise.
    • A high technical barrier to entry.
    • Documentation and training being generated outside of the core project.
    • Awkward documentation tools and processes.

Season of Docs 2020

Does tech writing interest you? If so, check the Season of Docs projects for 2020 and consider taking part.

By Cameron Shorter, Google technical writer and geospatial open source developer

Season of Docs announces participating organizations for 2020

Season of Docs has announced the 50 participating open source organizations! You can view the list of participating organizations on the website.

During the technical writer exploration phase, which runs from now until June 8, 2020, interested applicants explore the list of participating organizations and their project ideas. They should reach out to the organizations to gain a better understanding of the organizations and discuss project ideas before applying to Season of Docs. Technical writer applications open on June 9, 2020 at 18:00 UTC. 

For more information about the technical writer exploration phase, visit the technical writer guide on the website.

What is Season of Docs?

Documentation is essential for the adoption of open source projects as well as to the success of their communities. Season of Docs brings together technical writers and open source projects to foster collaboration and improve documentation in the open source space. You can find out more about the program on the introduction page of the website.

During the program, technical writers spend a few months working closely with an open source community. They bring their technical writing expertise to the project's documentation and, at the same time, learn about the open source project and new technologies.

The open source projects work with the technical writers to improve the project's documentation and processes. Together, they may choose to build a new documentation set, redesign the existing docs, or improve and document the project's contribution procedures and onboarding experience.

How do I take part in Season of Docs as a technical writer?

First, take a look at the technical writer guide on the website. The guide includes information on eligibility and the application process.

Then participate in the technical writer exploration phase, create a technical writing application and prepare your application materials. On June 9, 2020 at 18:00 UTC, Season of Docs will begin accepting technical writer applications and publish a link to the application form on the website. The deadline for technical writer applications is July 9, 2020 at 18:00 UTC.

Is there a stipend for participating technical writers?

Yes. There is an optional stipend that technical writers can request as part of their application. The stipend amount is calculated based on the technical writer's home location. See the technical writer stipends page for more information.

If you have any questions about the program, please email us at [email protected].

General timeline

May 11 – June 8Technical writers explore the list of participating organizations and project ideas
June 9 – July 9Technical writers submit their proposals to Season of Docs
August 16Google announces the accepted technical writer projects
August 17 – September 13Community bonding: Technical writers get to know mentors and the open source community, and refine their projects in collaboration with their mentors
September 14 – December 5Technical writers work with open source mentors on the accepted projects, and submit their work at the end of the period
January 6, 2021Google publishes the list of successfully-completed projects
See the full timeline for details, including the provision for projects that run longer than three months.

Care to join us?

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Examine the timeline, check out the FAQ, and apply now!

By Kassandra Dhillon and Erin McKean, Google Open Source

A Season of Docs story

Lack of clear and reliable documentation is one of the main shortcomings of many open source projects. Last year, Google set out to help change that by announcing the first ever Season of Docs

Season of Docs is an initiative that brings together technical writers and open source projects to collaborate for a few months, benefitting both the communities and writers.

This is the story of Audrey Tavares, one of the writers who signed up for Season of Docs.

Turning incipient curiosity into an opportunity

In 2019, Audrey was completing the Technical and Professional Communication program at Glendon College, exploring technical writing out of curiosity. One of Google’s technical writers, Nicola Yap, completed the same program and visited Audrey’s class in March to talk about her career. It was an enlightening experience, showing technical writing as an attractive alternative with plenty of opportunities, and introducing Audrey to Season of Docs.

For Audrey, this experience meant stepping into unknown territory—she knew nothing about open source software. Naturally, the first step was to familiarize herself with the communities and understand the software development paradigm. After spending time learning she submitted her Technical Writer application—which was accepted—and was assigned to Oppia, an online educational platform.

Main challenges

Audrey had two mentors to help her on her journey: one in India and the other in the United States. As you can imagine, this revealed the first challenge—time zones. While the first few days were stressful, as navigating schedules across time zones was a daunting task,with a little work, they soon came up with an arrangement that worked for everyone.

The second challenge was learning the tools. For most of us, writing a document involves opening a word processor and typing some text, however, Audrey was about to find out, things are a bit more intricate when it comes to documenting code.

When presented with the choice of a documentation tool set, Audrey decided on Write the Docs. It seemed like a very popular tool among open source communities. How hard can it be to use, right? Well, it’s not so much about how difficult it is, but how different it is for someone unfamiliar with a common software development workflow since it entails learning a few things:
Audrey was not dismayed. She pushed forward and gradually learned these new tools. Both mentors were always available, willing to help, and answered all of her questions. Their mentorship was key to her success.

Every end is a new beginning

After Season of Docs was over, Audrey decided to remain part of the Oppia community to actively contribute to make the platform even better.

The experience allowed Audrey to walk away from Season of Docs with a new set of technical skills, communication skills with software engineers, an extended professional network, and a new item in her résumé. She now works as a technical writer for a software company in Toronto.

Applications for Season of Docs 2020 start on April 13 for open source organizations and on May 11 for technical writers. Check the official announcement to learn how to participate.

By Geri Ochoa, Google Cloud

Announcing Season of Docs 2020

Google Open Source is delighted to announce Season of Docs 2020!

Season of Docs brings technical writers and open source projects together for a few months to work on open source documentation. 2019 was the first year of Season of Docs, bringing together open source organizations and technical writers to create 44 successful documentation projects!

Docs are key to open source success

Survey after survey show the importance of good documentation in how developers choose and use open source:
  • 72% of surveyed developers say “Established policies and documentation” is a key decision factor when choosing open source
  • 93% of surveyed developers say “Incomplete or outdated documentation is a pervasive problem” in open source
  • “Lack of documentation” was the top reason developers gave for deciding against using an open source project
Open source communities know this, and still struggle to produce good documentation. Why? Because creating documentation is hard. But...

There are people who know how to do docs well. Technical writers know how to structure a documentation site so that people can find and understand the content. They know how to write docs that fit the needs of their audience. Technical writers can also help optimize a community’s processes for open source contribution and onboarding new contributors.

Season of Docs brings open source projects and technical writers together with the shared goal of creating great documentation. The writers bring their expertise to the projects, and the project mentors help the technical writers learn more about open source and new technologies. Communities gain new docs contributors and technical writers gain valuable open source skills.

Together the technical writers and mentors build a new doc set, improve the structure of the existing docs, develop a much-needed tutorial, or improve contribution processes and guides. See more ideas for technical writing projects.

By working together in Season of Docs we raise awareness of open source, docs, and technical writing.

How does it work?

April 13 – May 4Open source organizations apply to take part in Season of Docs
May 11Google publishes the list of accepted mentoring organizations, along with their ideas for documentation projects
May 11 – July 9Technical writers choose the project they’d like to work on and submit their proposals to Season of Docs
August 10Google announces the accepted technical writer projects
August 11 – September 11Community bonding: Technical writers get to know mentors and the open source community, and refine their projects in collaboration with their mentors
September 11 – December 6Technical writers work with open source mentors on the accepted projects, and submit their work at the end of the period
January 7, 2021Google publishes the list of successfully-completed projects.
See the timeline for details, including the provision for projects that run longer than three months.

Join us

Explore the Season of Docs website at g.co/seasonofdocs to learn more about participating in the program. Use our logo and other promotional resources to spread the word. Check out the timeline and FAQ, and get ready to apply!

By Erin McKean, Google Open Source