[Grok-dev] Re: Python UK meeting and Django
faassen at startifact.com
Wed May 7 09:19:33 EDT 2008
Jan Ulrich Hasecke wrote:
> The problem with documentation and marketing is that it does not pay for
> oneself. If you develop a new library you might use it for your
> customer, who will pay you. If you do documentation or marketing noone
> will ever pay you. But the amount of work is huge. I would plead for a
> fund for marketing and documentation.
On the one hand I'm sympathetic with this idea. I'd love to get paid to
write Grok documentation, something I'm doing anyway as a volunteer.
On the other hand, such an approach worries me. You *can* make a
community contribute a lot of documentation. The Grok project is example
of this: we set up some channels to accept documentation and encouraged
people to write it, and now we have a lot of documentation. It's not
perfect, we could use a lot more, but it does keep getting better.
My worry is that if you set up a fund to do marketing and documentation
you separate it from the community too much, and take away from the
community the responsibility of having to care about these topics. I'm
convinced that we, as developers of the platform, need to care about
attracting people to our platform (where we can call these people
"users" or "developers").
Writing documentation also helps you think about how things can be done
better. If something is hard to explain, it may be a what we're trying
to explain is too inconsistent or complicated. If it's hard to convince
people to use our stuff, that means we might need improve our stuff,
too! Having a separate group of people do this may lead to a disconnect
that shouldn't be there.
Did someone in the Django project get paid to write its documentation?
What about its marketing? Do we know? It'd be interesting to find out.
We have some historical examples of documentation-writing in the Zope
community too (the Zope 2 book), and naturally the Zope 3 books.
Now I imagine some of my worries of a disconnect could be reduced if we
approach this the right way. What we absolutely want to avoid is to make
community members less involved in documentation and marketing. The
responsibility should ours. We should feel it is ours.
Having people paid to improve Grok (in whatever way) in the process of
doing their daily work (where the goal tends to be the use of Grok for
some purpose) tends to be accepted by community members, I think. It
doesn't distort the operation of the community much. I've been trying to
organize some of my work that way. Having people explicitly being paid
to improve Grok as the primary goal may be another matter (but I'm sure
many of us, including myself, would enjoy being paid for that :).
This whole discussion is of course rather premature, money is not
forthcoming at this moment as far as I'm aware.(I'm Dutch enough to ask
to please do make me aware if I'm wrong! :)
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