Mikey Ariel

Technical writer | Red Hat

You might know her as That Docs Lady, and you won't be wrong! Mikey spent the better part of the last 10 years documenting super-geeky enterprise software, most recently for OpenStack Platform at Red Hat. She is also on the global community team for Write the Docs, a Django Girls alumni, and a documentation coach for open-source projects.

Since crash-landing on open-source planet in 2013, Mikey presented talks and wrote articles about docs, DevOps, and community. She also runs documentation workshops, hackfests, and sprints at developer events, primarily for the Python and Django communities but also Fedora, Plone, KDE, and NixOS.

Docs or it didn't happen

If you ever skimmed through a README, tried to follow a quickstart tutorial, attempted to decipher an error message, or typed '--help' in your console, congratulations -- you have encountered documentation!
Long gone are the days of massive books with never-ending stories about your software. Today's users are smarter and less patient, which means that we no longer need to document all the things, as long as what we do document is clear, concise, helpful, and accessible. And that's where the real work starts.

Documentation requires some attitude adjustment, since prose doesn't neatly compile into binaries as code does. But Don't Panic(tm)! No matter what your role is in the community, you can apply a few key principles from the technical writing world to make your project more docs-friendly, and therefore more user- and contributor-friendly.