Open Source vs Narrow-mindedness
A reply of a friend to one of my posts reminded me of writing this short post regarding the writing of good documentation for any given Open Source project.
We all know that most great projects that have been developed by the community possess good documentation that help all those that, sometimes, have some kind of difficulty using them. But there are also many great projects out there that lack any type of documentation entirely! It is my belief that this shouldn't happen!
It is also known that some great minds forget that others think differently and may struggle to use their software. Unfortunately, most don't have the time to develop the software and to write the documentation that should accompany it. Others are so narrow-minded that don't even bother thinking about that or don't value the contributions of those that dedicate their time to writing or translating the documentation.
The most precious possession that any human being has is not his/her/their expertise, it's her/his/their time! So, how come that so many developers don't care about giving the due credit to those who help making their software great by writing or translating their documentation? Why don't they value their work and time?
Let me give you an example: I was the main translator of Mastodon into Portuguese. But who knows about my work? Only those who cared reading my posts about having had my mastodon.social account deleted due to some ignorant people who — probably — reported a toot I had written, which wasn't offensive nor did it defend violence against anyone, like the mastodon.social team stated. Did they even care about reading the toot? Can they read Portuguese? It was an historical toot based on Wikipedia material!
Now, back to the main point... While Mastodon is a great piece of software, would it be so good without good documentation and without it being translated into so many languages? So, why haven't I been able to find the names of the people who have done that work anywhere?
And this question takes to this final thought: Shouldn't the community join together and gather a team of willing volunteers to work on the writing of good documentation for noteworthy projects? It might be something like a “foundation” dedicated to establishing the link between the brilliant minds and the users of Open Source Software through the creation and translation of support documentation.
Only when something of the kind happens, when we all work together to include everyone, from the developers to the users, considering everyone in between and recognising the value of their time and expertise, will we be able to talk about Open Source vs Narrow-mindedness and not Open Source and Narrow-mindedness!
As you might imagine, right now, I'm a bit cautious about giving **my time ** to contribute to any project that I think won't value it in a dignifying way...