Season Of Docs Opens
Written by Kay Ewbank   
Monday, 08 April 2019

The Season of Docs program is now open to applications from organizations. Season of Docs is a project supported by Google that aims to bring open source organizations and technical writers together.

Google's aim is for the Season of Docs to give open source projects the opportunity to engage the technical writing community, and hence to improve their open source docs. For technical writers, the project aims to provide an opportunity to gain experience in contributing to open source projects and to learn about open source code.


The need for better documentation of open source projects is a need that few people will argue with; some of the best software is made more difficult to use just because of a lack of documentation, so this seems a worthwhile project from all sides.

The first stage of the project is now underway, and open source organizations can apply. The deadline for organization applications is
April 23, 2019 at 20:00 UTC

Applications from organizations should include one or more projects that would be a good target for a technical writer to work on. There are examples of project ideas on the website, and the organizations need to describe one or more specific projects based on the open source project’s actual documentation needs. The project organizers suggest the applications include mentors who will liaise with the writers who are experienced in the organization’s processes and tools. 

Organizations "in good standing" will receive a stipend per accepted technical writer at the end of the program. This is regardless of whether the technical writer's project is successful or not. Google expects to accept a maximum of two projects per organizations and for the 2019 pilot is limited to a maximum of 50 projects in total.

Once the deadline has passed, Google will publish the list of accepted mentoring organizations, along with their ideas for documentation projects. At that point it will be the turn of would-be technical writers to explore the project ideas, choose the project they’d like to work on and submit their proposals to Season of Docs between the start date of May 29 and the deadline of June 28. Both organizations and Google will review proposals during July with accepted technical writer accepted on July 40. After a month for organizations and technical writer to get to know one another and refine their projects document development with guidance from mentors is scheduled to start on September 2 and last 12 weeks with a final week allowed for submission of projects and evaluation of mentors. Google will publish the list of successfully-completed projects on December 10.

To be eligible to participate as a technical writer you must be:

  • At least 18 years old at time of registration.
  • Able to demonstrate prior technical writing experience by submitting role descriptions and work samples.
  • Eligible to work in your country of residence during duration of program.
  • A resident of a country not currently embargoed by the United States. 

As with Summer of Code, Google is offering stipends based on location. These are optional and can be waived and are only paid out after a successful project evaluation. The base amount is $6000 in the United States but purchasing parity means it works out at $3000 for most third world countries and goes up to $6600 in a couple of countries with a high cost of living.  All participants in successfully-completed projects will receive a Season of Docs T-shirt. and as this year's T-shirt will be the inaugural program T-shirt this will be a trophy with bragging rights.

Given the dire need for well-written and technically accurate documentation of open source projects this seems like a really good initiative and hopefully will become an annual program that will encourage technical writer to become enthusiastic about working in open source.



More Information

Season Of Docs

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Why Take Part In Open Source?

Over 200 Open Source Orgs Mentoring GSoC 2017

Google Summer Of Code 2016

Google Shrinks List of GSoC Open Source Organizations

Google Code-in 2017 An Epic Achievement


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Last Updated ( Thursday, 09 May 2019 )