Vilnius 2019 notes: Documenting a new field

Notes from the documenting a new ecosystem talk at Write the Docs Vilnius 2019

Published: July 4, 2019

Write the Docs Vilnius 2019 saw some excellent talks. Somewhat belatedly, I’m writing up my notes. Here’s the second.

Speaker: Chris Ward
Agency - Podcasts and blog

New field - new ecosystem

There are challenges and opportunities when documenting a new field. Chris spoke from his experience producing documentation for blockchain products, particularly Ethereum.

Challenges:

  • Communicating complex tech
  • Breaking through hype, scepticism and disinformation
  • Uncertainty: will the project and the tech endure?
  • “Graveyards of GitHub” - constant change, endless new projects, subsequently abandoned. Makes it hard for people to know what to learn.

When choosing a new tech to learn, or a new project to work on, consider:

  • What is relevant to you?
  • What is relevant to your audience/user base?
  • Will the new and shiny enduire and deliver?
  • Is the product support by one person, or a team? How active is the community?

Documentation in the middle

Tech writers interact with many groups, including dev, marketing, support, and even the end user. This puts you in a good position to balance inputs and facilitate teamwork and communication. Become a user advocate.