Tribeless Nomad (tribelessnomad) wrote in lj_userdoc,
Tribeless Nomad

Documenting volunteer activities


I've looked at your posts in larch. As a way of gathering information, the template you've come up with is fine by me. As you know, some of the information being gathered for larch won't make it into official documents. The documentation you produce for the Volunteer Center will also need to be arranged a little differently, which is the point of this post.

This is approximately what I want the list of documents to look like (but most of the links don't work):

Information about volunteer activities:
OrientationVolunteer forums | Joining a volunteer team | ...
The Support CenterAnswering Support Requests | Support privileges
Documentation TeamsForms of documentation | FAQ maintenance policy | ...
Programming & System AdministrationLJ Server programming and administration | Client programming

The last row just links to other parts of the manual.

Each of the other rows will be a Chapter, in the Part of the manual called "Volunteer Activities". For all Chapters, the links on the right will point to the separate Guides which make up the Chapter. Every link in the left column will go to the table of contents for an entire Chapter.

The first Chapter, "Orientation" is where you'll have most freedom to introduce your own ideas. At least for now, we should probably plan to reserve the other Chapters for official policy documents (like the existing Support Guide).

Notice that many teams don't fall into any Chapter other than "Orientation". I can't really imagine that every team will have a Chapter's worth of documentation. Many teams, like lj_topic and userpics, haven't expressed interest in documenting their internal policies beyond what would fit into "orientation". I think that's fine. However, others like community_staff will probably be well documented in future, resulting in the addition of new Chapters occasionally.

I do want you to think in advance about whether it would be better in the long run to do anything differently than I've described. However, what I've described is what makes most sense to me right now.

You should also be aware that nearly anything you write about programming or sysadmin teams might be moved outside the Volunteer Center (to a different Resource Center). That remains to be decided.

So what I have in mind is that at first you'll
  • finish up the Guide to Joining a volunteer team.
  • come up with a plan for adding other Orientation Guides, or even for reorganizing the whole "Orientation" Chapter, and work with larch worshippersvolunteers to get the new Guides written.
  • convert some of the existing lj_userdoc policies to XML.
This plan is still quite flexible, but if you want to proceed differently, we should discuss the pros and cons beforehand.

You'll need to observe some important general principles of documentation, to ensure that what you write can be maintained successfully. I'll post about those separately.

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