Wow, I never finished this, sorry ...
On Fri, 2008-10-17 at 14:09 -0400, David Nalley wrote:
So the pieces I see as missing from this posting are:
Thanks, always good to prod me for more information. Sometimes I don't
know that I know what I know and others don't know it. :)
What are the responsibilities of a lead writer (hopefully a more
verbose explanation than 'everything')
The idea of a lead writer is similar to a project manager. It is
someone who is ultimately _accountable_ for making sure something is
brought to completion. (Detailed list below.) That is different from
being _responsible_ for each part. Multiple people can share that
responsibility, but only one person can really be accountable.
IMO, this is a lot to ask of a person volunteering their time. It's
similar to owning a software package, except I think it is generally
harder. It is actually more akin to being the lead developer in an
upstream project *and* the downstream packager.
For that reason, I think the idea of a lead writer accountable for so
much is not sustainable. It is a stop-gap answer until we can do more
with automating many of the functions a lead writer has to do manually
right now. Automation (CMS) combined with defined processes and a
highly visible list of work to do for each release is going to turn the
lead writer job in to something much more like a software packager.
''Current Lead Writer Accountable For:''
* Work with project leaders to set schedule for each release
* (Help) recruit additional writers
* Parse the work for the document into individual responsibilities other
writers can take on
* Ensure all of that work is done in time for the schedule
** May have to do the work yourself if no one takes on the job or is
unable to complete in time
* Deliver translation files according to the schedule
* Edit or coordinate editing
* Final polish, packaging (if done), and publication (on docs.fp.o)
''Ideal Lead Writer Accountable For:''
* As above, except:
** Once the schedule is set, it can be fixed in to the CMS
** Self-service for writers/editors to take on at-will
** Connect with project-wide recruitment
** Minimizes chances of things slipping between the cracks
** Translation files, packaging, and publication automated
Am I missing anything there?
What are the qualifications for a lead writer?
* Be able and willing to be accountable for something from start to
** Project management
* Do *not* need to be a highly accomplished writer or editor, but able
to recruit and direct people who can do those tasks
* Stick around or have been around long enough to fully understand the
job and be somewhat self-sufficient
* Enthusiasm and patience, especially patience
* Ability to nag without making enemies
What is the typical time investment for a lead writer?
Hard to know other than personal experience. For six of the months of a
year (non sequential months), the work load is small, maybe a few hours
a week of organization, writing, recruiting, and collaborating with
Presuming a reasonable amount of organization and tools that don't waste
time, during the more active of the six months, it should be:
* Five to ten hours a week for four+ months
* Ten to fifteen hours a week for the weeks leading up to freeze and release
What tools are used and which of those need to be known ahead of
The full tool set can be learned on the job. DocBook XML with either
the fedora-doc-utils or publican toolchain (or both?). Wiki gardening
may be helpful. Comfortable with using or learning multiple SCMs, in
specific, git, svn, and cvs are used currently.
One question you didn't ask was, Why do all this? Maybe that is a
follow-up. Presuming that one already wants to contribute to Fedora and
is balking at the potential time commitment, I focus on the fulfilling
* Good for your career. Red Hat has already hired from within the Docs
project, and other companies may do the same. Your noted abilities as a
contributor to an important upstream means you are valuable for many
employers before they hire you.
* If you want to write and publish books, it's an impressive resume
builder. In fact, because our work is openly licensed, you can use it
as the basis for a larger work.
* If you do your job well enough, you reduce the workload by splitting
it amongst many other people. Take the release notes as an example.
That was a full-time person's job that we have turned in to a few hours
work each release for most of the contributors involved.
Karsten Wade, Community Gardener
Dev Fu : http://developer.redhatmagazine.com
Fedora : http://quaid.fedorapeople.org
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