Tangent: Documentation developers & support providers in a gift economy
Posted Dec 9, 2005 10:22 UTC (Fri) by Duncan
In reply to: FOSS.IN: A report
Parent article: FOSS.IN: A report
> Little drops of water, Little grains of sand....
Very encouraging to read that report.
Hmm... The rest of this goes off on a tangent that I didn't intend when I
clicked that reply button. <g> However, I think it's worth posting, and
am looking forward to the reaction of others, if any.
As it so happens, I'm sort of in the position of that docs guy, here in
the US. I don't "write developer" very well, but I "read and speak
developer" well enough to get by, and, according to the number of "thanks"
posts to various lists and groups (and places like LWN, as well, thru the
comments) to which I've contributed and continue to contribute, I do
better than many at explaining things.
One thing I've noticed is that even tho the community (of which I consider
myself very much a part) /says/ it has a great need for those doing
documentation, it doesn't always (as in very seldom) do such a good job at
providing the traditionally recognized "gift economy" reward -- community
recognition -- to docs developers, at the same level it provides it to
code developers, and does even worse for those that pitch in daily, day in
and day out, on the various forums and lists.
Don't get me wrong. I'm sure most doing so, myself included, recognize
just as well as most contributor coders do, that they've gotten back far
more than they could ever invest, in just the use and breadth and depth of
FLOSS software available to them, but regardless, we all suffer from the
lack of documentation. Anyway, it remains fairly obvious that those in
the community doing the coding continue to reap the biggest rewards a gift
economy can provide, while those doing the documentation and support
generally get far less. Is it any wonder, then, that the economy tends to
produce more code than it does documentation and support? As long as the
reward structure remains, the relative supply ratio will likely remain as
well. That's just life.
It'd be interesting to see discussion of any proposed solutions?
to post comments)