This page is about how you can encourage users and developers of open source projects to improve documentation.

General observations

  1. People often are afraid of modifing documentation even if they are good enough. Best developers are actually most afraid of screwing it up.

  2. In open source projects, wrong documentation with typos is better than no docs, because others will quickly correct it.

  3. People don't know if their writings have any sense because they don't know when their work is read. They need appreciation. Show them that people read their work.


  1. Intentionally leave some typos in documentation to encourage people to edit wiki and give them easy wins.

  2. Expert writers are usually too busy to write documentation. Don't ask them to write some doc, write a bad and wrong one and then ask them to improve it.

  3. Write thanks to the volunteer writers publicly (i.e. on Twitter).

  4. Give personal permission to edit doc, i.e. on IRC.

  5. Copyedit wiki every few days so it looks active.

  6. Encourage people to point out what is missing. This is also a proof for the writers that somebody has read their work.