In this talk, Claire Lundeby will discuss various types of support, both published materials and otherwise, for documentation contributors to open-source software projects. She will review shared characteristics for such published materials, in an attempt to identify genre conventions, as well as provide an overview of material provided by multiple open-source project communities and open-source documentation contribution events.
Lightning Talks are coming to Pleasanton September 13, in a meetup co-sponsored by Workday, Write The Docs, and East Bay STC.
The talks are an open-mike format that allots a few minutes (usually five) to each speaker so that the evening can include a multitude of topics. It’s a great opportunity to find out what’s going on locally in technical writing or for you to talk about a topic or project that others might want to know about.
If you want to find out more about Write The Docs or Workday, you can do that, too. To RSVP for the event, see the listing at Meetup.com.
See the Meetup event listing at for times and other details like the exact address and information about parking, transportation and other thing
Write the Docs – San Francisco Bay Area
San Francisco, CA 1,049Documentation Enthusiasts
We are people who care about making the reader experience awesome by delivering excellent documentation. We are writers, developers, designers, learning professionals, and doc…
Competitive Analysis: How NETGEAR went about learning from our competitors
Friendly Documentation: How NETGEAR is working on making its documentation friendlier
About Our Speaker
Lisa Pampuch, is the Director of Content Development at NETGEAR.
Lisa has been a tech editor, tech writer, tech pubs manager, and her role now also includes localization and non-tech writing (product data management, sometimes called document control) in her area of responsibility.
Our presenters will enlighten us with their thoughts and notes from the 65th STC Annual Conference in Orlando, FL, held in May 2018.
This is what STC Summit is all about:
People from all over the world and from all different backgrounds attend the STC Summit! And it’s not just technical writers who attend: project managers, consultants, content architects, web managers, professors, developers, illustrators, and policy writers are just some of the many people you’ll meet at the Summit.
The STC Summit session topics cover many aspects of technical writing: editing, project management, usability, content management, intelligent design, and publication production.
Come and hear about the sessions our panelists attended, the people they met, and what they learned.
Jane Wilson, STC President
Gale Naylor, EBSTC President
Philip Powers, SV STC President
To get ready for the meeting, read posts by Summit Attendees from other attendees:
Did you know that a member of the EBSTC chapter is the newly elected President of STC? We were both proud and honored to have Jane Wilson at our June 7 dinner meeting to share thoughts on the 65th STC Annual Conference in May. At her side were Philip Powers, president of the Silicon Valley chapter and Liz Fraley of Single-Sourcing Solutions. Liz Miller also introduced a special guest and a new EBSTC partnership. Read more…
Project SEED wants you
During the chapter business meeting, Liz Miller introduced Elaine Yamaguchi, featured in our recent article Planting a SEED to STEM Careers announcing a new EBSTC partnership. The Summer Experience for the Economically Disadvantaged (SEED) program welcomes any STC member who is willing to provide editorial support for a student applying for a college scholarship. Making 350 words in two boxes sing is no great effort for us. But the outcome of a couple hours and a few emails with a SEED student could result in a life-changing transformation for a budding young chemist’s college prospects. Learn more about the STC partnership in this short presentation prepared by Liz, Planting a SEED to STEM career. Once you are inspired, contact Elaine and CC Liz Miller.
STC Summit panelist summary
Philip Powers saw the importance of constant skill acquisition in a world where the tools of our trade are constantly evolving. With today’s improvements and uses for artificial intelligence (AI), technical writers who learn new skills and tools to navigate the shifting landscape are less at risk of being usurped by chat bots who (yes, who not that) are just smart enough to deliver “good enough” content. He hopes the integrated human+machine future for AI (think Ironman) wins out over the full robotic approach.
A writer with a sound systems engineering background wondered whether a machine could replace a human’s skill to design an effective integrated circuit. (The consensus was not yet.) A job seeker pointed out that having a great writing portfolio is not as valued today as having the depth of social media and multi media experience that younger candidates tend to have.
President Jane Wilson cited a few of STC’s ideas to maintain overall global society health and help smaller chapters survive, including a minimum chapter baseline (two officers: president and treasurer; quarterly meetings mixing social with educational; and a half dozen required financial, comunity engagement, and membership functions ).
Since the president was sitting right there (!), discussing the evolution of STC’s annual fees was irresistable to a couple of long-time members. Jane stressed that STC is already operating at a “bare bones” budgetary level, and STC leadership is looking towards ways to maximize the value. Among other ideas, a new Women in Technical Communications special interest group (SIG) coming and possibly another SIG focusing on medical and health writing.
Liz Fraley took time in advance of the June 7 dinner meeting to post Gale’s report as well as two other reports of the STC Summit on our web site:
Liz also mentioned a new program pairing writers with academics to author articles for the STC publications.
Highlights from Gale Naylor’s report
WordPress Workshops immediately following the Summit:
Recordings of both STC-hosted WordPress Workshops are now available to chapter webmasters. (STC.org is now available to host all chapter WordPress sites)
Jane Wilson: Have established “minimum requirements” for chapters (Chapter
Model). Chapter Buddies – coming soon.
Jim Bosquet: New requirements for Activity Report and Engagement Plan. (CAC
webinar on this is coming soon.)
Main Session and Pacesetter Awards
Ideas to engage young people and students to increase membership through social media and online meetings
How three chapters united after six folded to become the dyanmic new Florida Chapter
Find out what eight other chapters around the country did to achieve STC’s Pacesetter Awards and read Gale’s impressions of the Florida Chapter’s presention and the Leadership Day breakout sessions she attended in her full report
Open source software projects provide writers (and software engineers) opportunities to develop their skills, make meaningful contributions, and produce authentic work samples. These projects are almost always looking for people to help out, including writing documentation and testing. But how do you get noticed when the primary communication channel is a mailing list, and no one knows who you are? Learn how Gale Naylor leveraged her open-source experience to change careers and become a full-time technical writer at Facebook.
About Our Speaker
Gale Naylor, Facebook, was an aerospace engineer for 15 years, then taught herself Visual Basic and became a programmer/analyst. She started at Facebook in October 2016 as a contract Technical Writer and converted to a full-time employee position in March of 2017. She also has a master’s degree in Education and likes to design outdoor living spaces. She’s active in her local STC chapter and is currently Chapter President.
Date: Thursday, 3 May 2018.
Many STC members work as tech writers, but some are still figuring out how to break in to the business. A few years ago the EBSTC’s current chapter president, Gale Naylor, wanted to transition from a career in education into a tech-writing position, so she came up with a clever, methodical and ultimately effective strategy for making the leap. The best thing about it, as Gale explained at the EBSTC’s chapter meeting on May 3, is that her strategy is open to all comers willing to devote some time and energy to the open-source community. And it helped her land a job as a tech writer at Facebook.
So many of the software tools and computer standards the world depends on are not proprietary and not owned by private companies. Instead, it’s all public, or open-source, and managed by committees of academics, government employees, people seconded from regular jobs, and full-on volunteers. The engineers who define XML, TCP/IP and JPG, for example, or the programmers who write the Firefox web browser and the Apache web server, do their work through public committees.
Committee members volunteer on open-source projects for all kinds of reasons: because they want to keep up on the latest developments; because they want to influence the direction of a particular technology; because they enjoy the prestige, camaraderie and recognition that comes from helping out; because they want to give something back to the community. And Gale figured out that you don’t have to be a veteran programmer or highly-trained engineer to make valuable contributions on open-source projects. (Although, full-disclosure, Gale does have an engineering background, with a bachelor’s degree in astronomy and experience as an aerospace engineer before going back to school to become a teacher.)
Gale started out by researching what was hot in the open-source world and finding what interested her. She settled on the Apache Taverna project, a set of APIs for defining experiment workflows, including those used for astronomical research, joined its mailing list, and learned everything she could about Taverna. And though she didn’t have the skills to write code for the project, she got noticed by developing diagrams that helped the coders keep the project organized. She also began helping a coder with limited English to write up documentation explaining his work. As she continued to make herself useful in similar ways, she accumulated an understanding of APIs, knowledge of essential programmer’s tools such as Markdown and Git, and familiarity with how programmers work. When Gale applied to Facebook, she went in with a reputation in the open-source community and the skills that Facebook needed for documenting its developer APIs.
The open-source community is always looking for volunteers, so if you’re ready to get involved, check out the links to open-source groups on page 19 of Gale’s presentation.
EBSTC get-togethers are always the first Thursday of the month. On June 7, we’ll hear the impressions of members just back from the STC Annual Conference in Orlando . Hope to see you there, at our new meeting room in the San Ramon Marriott’s Bishop Grill.