[SciPy-Dev] SciPy docs: volunteers needed now!

Joe Harrington jh@physics.ucf....
Fri Jul 2 14:14:10 CDT 2010

Replying just to scipy-dev, to respect the other lists.

> > This year we have taken on the SciPy docs, which are bigger and more
> > technical.  A handful of very dedicated people has taken up the
> > challenge, and David Goldsmith is once again our able coordinator.
> > However, at the rate we are going it will take something like a decade
> > to finish.  We're writing just 700-1200 words a week.  I have had to
> > question whether it is worthwhile paying a coordinator for the effort
> > of just a few volunteers, as these people are fairly focused already
> > and there just are not very many of them.
> I wonder whether there is any other approach that we can explore to
> help generate more volunteer work?    Do you think it is mainly the
> difference between scipy and numpy that explains the drop-off?   Or
> something else?    To the extent that it is the technical differences
> - do you think there would be any point in trying to establish
> something like nominated experts or want-to-find-out type experts who
> will offer to advise on particular parts of scipy - even if they don't
> themselves write the docstrings?   Or anything else that might help?

We already looked for topical experts.  We have a few; David can
comment more.  In the end what we need are rank-and-file writers,
people who will take something on, learn about it, and write about it.
Yes, SciPy is more technical, but we've all dealt with harder tasks
than documenting SciPy.

Right now, we have just 1-3 people producing over 100 words each week,
and nobody has written 1000 words in one week.  Last year, we
routinely had 1000+ words from several writers each week.  We had
weeks that produced more words than we have produced this entire

Whether we gain the productivity by having many volunteers work a
little or by having a few (like Ralf Gommers last year) who dedicate a
large amount of time, there's a critical level of productivity we need
to achieve to make it worthwhile spending money on it.

I want to reiterate that I do very much appreciate the effort of those
who *are* participating, and that the wiki and project will continue
regardless of whether we have a paid coordinator.


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