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  • 2018-01-09 Meeting Agenda and Notes
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LaRita Robinson

Ryan Steans


Discuss Ask to Steering Committee

Jen interviews

Email with Richard

Ryan Steans" <> wrote:

Hi Karen, Richard and Evviva,

I’ve been working with the Documentation Working Group since November, and at the Samvera Partner’s Meeting, it was suggested that the Documentation Working Group use some funds to pay for services to improve documentation.

The group has come up with a figure and propose it to the Steering Committee.  Not to bury the lede further, the amount is $10,000.  This would pay for the hiring of a Tom Johnson (not our Tom Johnson), who is a Jekyll developer and who could help us reformat our documentation site for better usability.

I am wondering if you can provide a pathway for me to bring this to the Steering Committee.




Ryan Steans

Avalon Project & Community Manager


Richard Response


I'd suggest you get a detailed proposal to Steering ahead of our f2f meeting on 20/21 January. Preferably sooner rather than later so that we have time to digest it before any discussion.



Typed on a mobile device - please forgive brevity and/or typos!

Richard Response 2:


If there is a secretary for the group it’s likely me – but it will be perfectly acceptable that you just mail

Likely this is stating the obvious, but it would probably be useful if, in addition to the detailed proposal, you could forward a couple of recommendations for Tom Johnson from people that folks on Steering will respect opinion-wise (in addition to yourself, of course!).




A proposal that's more detailed - what we intend to do.  

(about Jen's Documentation process for getting expert to talk)  Has anyone talked to him about participation - Tom Johnson.

Jen had not great luck, people who are overtaxed.  

Returning to email - Jekyll Tom Johnson - has anyone been in touch with Jekyll Tom Johnson?  Tom Johnson 2?  Drew will recalibrate and get set to talk to Tom.  

Desire to see this solved.  

Jen and LaRita - ask about versioning for sure, and adding more levels into the menu - look at older notes

Bess - we need to be in a stronger position for argument

LaRita - it's tough, because we're in the middle

Bess - is this fruitful?  It would be a first for the steering committee to cough up the money.

Jen - maybe he's unapproachable.  Maybe it's less - maybe it's easy and cheap?  

Bess - what needs to be done - what will be accomplished for the money?

Jen - Want better lefthand navigation and versioning.  Find someone who can help us do technical editing.  Maybe get someone to do technical writing - get material into order.

Bess - are these the same proposal?

Jen - Maybe we do need a technical editor that we need to pay for.  What's the most efficient way for everyone involved?  See money as beneficial thing, trying same solution to get overtaxed people to do more work for free, and if we have money from community, we can put toward pilot project we want to do.  

Bess - they're not going to give us money for an experiment.  Needs to be for A specific thing with A specific outcome.

Jen - Get a specific developer for a specific site.  After we have results - maybe get a technical editor to help us wrangle our content.

LaRita - with a technical editor - we get consistency of writing on the site.

Bess - If we want to ask for money, we need to pick a priority and pick that thing.

LaRita - Jeckyll 

Lynette - benefit of Jeckyll, no time spent learning Samvera community.  Jeckyll is an isolated thing.  Comes with a base knowledge right from the start.  

Bess - I like that for reassons Lynette said, also a good first place to start.  If we're doing interviews or bringing in an outside technical editor if bulit ontop of a clear documented practice around how we're managing documentation.

Jen - Even if we can't get it into a site, we need these problems solved.

Bess - Focus on what we're asking for.Is Tom Johnson the guy who invented Jeckyll?

Lynette - he wrote the theme.

Bess - could you provode some bonafides was asked.

Drew - he may say this is a terrible idea.  He may not want to do this.  But he is actively developing his theme.  Looking at his website, he is a technical writer, according to his GitHub bio.  Apparently has some tech savvy.  He also seems to be involved with teh Write The Docs Group.  I know a guy from Kansas who is super involved with the group.  It's like Code4Lib biut for documentation.  

Bess - yeah, they have recommendations.

Drew - they have a slack channel.  Asking feasability of the two requirements of ours - left nav and non-linear versioning - being distinct between versions of individual pages

Lynette - right we're versioning multiple gems

Drew - I've never seen a doc site that handles that.  You usually can look at a complete new site or an old site.  Don't usually see anything that documents multiple gems/ versions on same site.

Bess - if we had someone with a background in technical writing and origanzing documentation, maybe he could advise us?  Maybe there are patterns we could be following.  Love to get his opinion.  Would it be worth asking - how much it would cost to do an initital consult?  4 hours of his time?  That could help us flesh out a larger proposal.

Drew - I was going to email him at his GitHub, if you want to be CC'd let me know

Jen - could give us casual updates in slack 

Drew - I will tell him I ill share this with our group

Jen - if he's in community documentation, he'll be familiar with thsi situation. 

Bess:  what about an initial ask of a small amount to get a proposal?

Lynette - that's a good idea.  A 4 hour investment to increase our knowledge will be very useful.

Drew:  3 layers of left nav?

Everyone:  yes. 

Lynette - ask "this is why we feel we want 4 layers of indentation" we want to hear his opinion of why or why not to do that

Bess - we're good for sending this guy an email.  I recommend we not follow up with steering until we hear back from him.  I'm ins teering, anyway, so I'll let them know we're moving on this and asking for a small consultation, give a small proposal.  Then maybe come back for a larger ask.

Jen - not much time yet to do the interviews.  People run into real time pressure problems.  New year, not right before holidays.  Worthwile to do another proposal like a Skype interview to get the info for documentation.

LaRite - ask the preferred method fo rinfo sharing.  Type it out?  Skype?  I would liek to type, but everyone has their own method.  Depends on preferred method.

Jen - so, I don't.  Reach out to Adam, trye,e sme, GIrarlo, Justin... a good size of people of that calibre that can either answer an email or who can give an hour in teh next two weeks.  I can follow up with Giarlo.

All:  okay.

Jen - okay, I'll follow up with him, something in next two weeks, despite your constraints, let me know if you can do an email in next two weeks or if you want to do a different format.

Bess:  sounds good.  Give people options!  One of the options I'd like to offer - a phoen call interview other person is going to edit.  I'd be willing to do as interviewer or interviewee.

Drew:  Groupthink on my letter - have to share mys creen.

Bess - your letter is good.  We want to prompt him for a conversation with us.

Lynette - versioning 

LaRita - the verisioning is showing in teh left menu, we want it to not show in left menu

Jen - we'd really like to talk with you, we have some needs - put at top of letter

Bess - make clear we're going to pay him "Are you availble for a paid, hourly consultation and how we might approach these issues?"

Jen- we're an open source community - etc... all going in letter at this point (we're wordsmithing here)

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