Season Of Docs 2020 - A Success Story
Written by Sue Gee   
Thursday, 07 January 2021

Season of Docs is a project supported by Google that aims to bring together open source organizations and technical writers with the aim of improving open source documentation. The results of the 2020 season, its second, have now been announced.


The idea motivating Season of Docs is that lack of clear and reliable documentation is one of the main shortcomings of many open source projects. To remedy this Google decided to encourage technical writers to gain experience in contributing to open source projects. The incentives offered to writers are stipends of $6000 US dollars or the equivalent purchasing power in participants local currency. Participating OSS organizations can also receive a $500 USD stipend per technical writer mentored. One paired up technical writers and mentors work together to build a new documentation, improve the structure of the existing docs, develop a tutorial, or improve contribution processes and guides. 

The first Season of Docs in 2019-20 resulted in 44 successful documentation projects. The second program was expanded and now Google has reported on the 2020 program results for standard-length projects, for which the writing phase was September to November 2020,  completed by 64 technical writers for 42 OSS organizations. A further 18 projects which required additional time continue until March 2021.

Looking at the list of successful projects reveals a wide range of projects. Some are updates, enhancements or restructuring of existing documentation while others start from scratch. Some projects are to provide sets of examples or tutorials while other create a portal or knowledge base for accessing such materials. 

The list of participation OSS organizations includes many high profile ones: Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Creative Commons, LibreOffice, MicroPython, NumPy, The Julia Language and The Linix Foundation. The Wikimedia Foundations project was to improve its onboarding processes and documentation standards and another that caught my eye was an Information Architecture Guide for TheGoodDocsProject that has the aim of helping people to use The Good Docs Project templates to create documentation for their own projects.

All the projects I sampled appeared to be well thought out and of a high standard, contributing to the overall aim of improving the quality of open source documentation.

Another of Google's aims for Season of Docs is that of fostering long term relationships between technical writers and open source. The results so far suggest this is being successful. At the end of the first, 2019, edition we relayed the news that 88% of the technical writers had has a positive experience and that 96% plan to continue contributing to open source projects. The results for 2020 are even better:

  • 96% of the technical writers had a positive experience
  • 96% plan to continue contributing to open source projects



More Information

Season of Docs announces results of 2020 program

Season Of Docs

Related Articles

Google Announces Season Of Docs 2020

Wanted! Technical Writers!

Season Of Docs Opens

Why Take Part In Open Source?


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Last Updated ( Friday, 12 February 2021 )