how to recruit writers

Karsten Wade kwade at
Wed Mar 30 20:26:50 UTC 2005

We definitely need more writers and content.  Here is a summary of my
recruiting spiel, and I encourage all of you to look for opportunities
to recruit new writers:

* When someone complains about the docs, ask if they are interesting in
helping to make them better.

* When someone posts any kind of doc, ask if they are interested in
making it a Fedora doc (such as Rahul just did on f-devel-l).

* When someone expresses a desire to help a particular project or just
open source in general, use the arguments below to see if they might
like being a doc writer.

Where to look:

* The LUG you are a member of and related technical groups (IEEE, SANS,

* IRC and other help forums.

* Within existing upstream projects, e.g. GNOME, Samba, etc.

In the latter case, a person might be able to get a document into Fedora
that wouldn't fit or be accepted in an upstream project.

Here is a modified spiel I sent out recently.  It's a bit long, but it
embodies all the ideas I've thought of.  I've used this same kind of
content in IRC to recruit folks.


The Fedora Project is looking for more writers.

You don't need to be a great writer.  That's why we have editors.

Look upon it as a chance to improve your writing skills while
contributing to the Fedora community.

If this intrigues you at all, please read on.

Maybe you've wanted to be involved with Fedora but don't know a way.
Or you want to expand your involvement.  Consider writing or editing
for the Fedora Docs Project (FDP):

  * Have closer contact with your favorite developers and projects.

  * Become or further expand into being a subject matter expert for
    your favorite topics.[1]

  * Gain reputation within the community.

  * Learn to be a better writer, editor, and technical reviewer.

What might you write about?

  * Be the release notes subject expert.

  * Installation or configuration of any software or hardware under
    Fedora Core, including any of the sub-projects such as Fedora
    Extras, Fedora Directory Server, and so forth.

  * General or security best practices, even abstracted from the OS
    but still relevant to Fedora Core.

  * Whatever interests you.

What is there to worry about?

"The toolchain is hard."

  If you don't know DocBook, it's definitely time for you to learn.
  Meanwhile, project members have volunteered to help anyone get their
  document converted into DocBook.  From there, you can teach yourself
  as you continue writing and maintaining.

  We are using the Wiki at and remain
  open to further toolchain/publishing considerations.  Heck, if you
  want to get to host a blog that to publish
  tips-n-tricks, that would be a great Fedora documentation effort.

"The amount of content is a lot to write and maintain."

  The FDP is geared to small how-to and tutorial documentation.  If
  you know your subject area, you can likely write a usable draft that
  is 80% complete content within a few hours.  Give it a try.

  You can contribute to a larger guide, such as a chapter or even a
  section.  This is currently true for the release notes, and may be
  how the Fedora Installation Guide is handled in the future.

  If you are writing about what you know and alrady use, then the odds
  are that you will be using it in the future and can easily maintain
  a document on the subject.  This is the difference between Fedora
  docs and the kind of documentation that Red Hat Enterprise Linux
  does:  massive guides are hard to maintain, while small tutorials
  and how-to docs can be practically painless to maintain.

"I hate writing."

  We need technical editors, especially if more writers start joining.
  We may need your help in an area you know about already, in terms of
  the toolchain, automation, CVS management, project management and so

  Since effective communication is a part of all of our lives, perhaps
  this is an opportunity for you to get free editing and writing
  advice.  This is especially helpful for non-native writers who would
  like to improve their English writing skills.

Interested?  Drop a note to fedora-docs-list at and tell us
whatever you want.

[1] To see what this has done for one Fedora wirter, google for
"selinux" and see the second full return.  The Fedora SELinux FAQ has
a lot of googlejuice.

## 30 ##
^^^^^^^^ -- This is an old newspaper usage for "that's all, stop setting

Karsten Wade, RHCE * Sr. Tech Writer *
gpg fingerprint:  2680 DBFD D968 3141 0115    5F1B D992 0E06 AD0E 0C41   
                       Red Hat SELinux Guide
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