Recommendation 8: Prioritise documentation
Q 1 What is your Recommendation?
Documentation, instruction writing and evaluation needs to be treated as an integral part of Wikimedia work and as an outcome in itself. A lack of documentation actively excludes new community members, including the individuals within partnership bodies, and prevents effective collaboration. Investment in giving people the skills and support they need to be able to write good quality documentation will be needed. Documentation is a professional skill, not an innate talent, we should research how other organizations do effectively and allow for the possibility of this being a funded priority. To capture our institutional memory so it usable for all at all levels of engagement, including sharing stories, successes and failures we must prioritise documentation.
Q 2-1 What assumptions are you making about the future context that led you to make this Recommendation?
Documentation will continue to be important for community members and partners to gain knowledge and skills about Wikimedia projects. Volunteers will not spontaneously become enthusiastic providers of documentation without additional motivation or skills.
Q 2-2 What is your thinking and logic behind this recommendation?
Volunteers are generally not enthusiastic or equipped to create and update documentation, relying on volunteers to create suitable documentation hasn’t worked for the past 18 years. And this is a barrier to entry to participation for many based on different levels of knowledge and language abilities. Documentation is spread over several Wikimedia sites including Outreach and Meta which fulfil the same purpose often there are multiple out of date copies on the same subject (see the link).
Q 3-1 What will change because of the Recommendation?
- People will be able to become contributors more easily.
- Some misunderstandings and conflict between community members and new contributors will be reduced.
- Organizations that want to independently approach Wikimedia will find it easier to understand our tools or processes.
- Wikimedia Volunteers and Staff working with institutions would have an easier time advocating, negotiating and most importantly for a smooth and convenient partnership flow.
Q 3-2 Who specifically will be influenced by this recommendation?
- Anyone running a project that involves significant understanding of Wikimedia, technical or social skills.
- Anyone wishing to guide partners into working with Wikimedia or the partners themselves in understanding better our work.
- New contributors wanting to contribute to Wikimedia projects.
Q 4-1 Could this Recommendation have a negative impact/change?
- Documentation being seen as a chore and people rushing it
- People not understanding the value of documentation
- People not having the skills and knowledge to create good quality documentation, lots of poor quality documentation is produced
- That people may resist large changes to documentation because it is a large change
- People may be unwilling to share their knowledge as holding rare knowledge gives them status and authority
Q 5 How does this Recommendation relate to the current structural reality?
Currently we have a lack of good, accessible documentation and instructions and little incentive to create it.
Q 7 How is this Recommendation connected to other WGs?
Community Health have a similar recommendation