How to manage open source community documentation
Can anyone provide advice or point to any guides on how to manage the open source software developer community in the written api documentation?
A typical, unmanaged starting point for most projects is having a wiki project where anyone can freely create pages, add content to existing pages, edit existing content, etc. The problem is that, despite the best intentions of people, wikis can easily end up disorganized, poorly written, incomplete, written in scattered voices, etc. etc.
So what can you do to improve the quality of your documentation?
I suspect the key ingredient is clear editorial / style guidance, something similar to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Encyclopedic_style#Information_style_and_tone . Can anyone point to an example of such a tutorial specifically for apis software?
Are there other methods that people have found helpful? For example. form a core team of editors and accept that much of the documentation that is added by the community is likely to be "heavily edited"?
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The short answer is that the solution is social / human and not technical. The way to get good documentation for any project is to have someone in charge of organizing a high level of documentation over time and then participating in the developer and user communities to ensure that the documentation stays up to date and continues to resolve issues and confusion. which users usually have.
Community projects have recognized that you need people with points (like "managers") for aspects of a project like "translation" and "release", as well as various components. The same is needed for documentation.
As far as tools go , Sphinx is really cool, although it is not a "wiki", you can use any source control system for your project to conveniently store documentation and set up a web server to restore documentation after commits / updates / pushes. This has always worked great for any project I've worked on.
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