Musing about Write the Docs and ASTC and STC and more
So many options to choose from! As a technical writer in Australia, I can join a Write the Docs Australia meetup, the ASTC (Australian Society for Technical Communication), the US-based STC (Society for Technical Communication), and more. I’ve been putting some thought into the differences between Write the Docs on the one hand, and organisations such as ASTC and STC on the other. For me, they all have their place and membership of all of them is valuable.
I’m currently a member of Write the Docs Australia, and have also attended Write the Docs meetups in San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Portland. I’m a paying member of the ASTC and the STC, and support both by presenting at conferences or webinars whenever practical. I’ve also presented sessions at conferences organised by other bodies, such as TWIN and tekom.
For me, Write the Docs differs from the more formal organisations in that it’s an informal community of people interested in technical documentation. The heart of the community is a series of meetups that happen in various parts of the world. There are also a few annual conferences. You don’t need to join an organisation – you just join a meetup, and then turn up.
Write the Docs is focused on documentation, rather than on technical writing. The community explicitly welcomes anyone with an interest in technical documentation. This includes technical writers, engineers, UX designers, support engineers, editors, and more.
The primary focus of Write the Docs meetups is API docs and developer tools, but other types of tech docs are becoming popular too. It’s up to us, the members of the community, to decide what we talk about.
So, for me, there’s a place for both types of organisation, even in a community of writers as small as Sydney or Melbourne. My aims are to share knowledge, learn, meet people, and spread good cheer.
And I haven’t even touched on the various social media groups and mailing lists on Slack, LinkedIn, LISTSERV, and so on.
What brought on these musings? The first Sydney Write the Docs meetup ever is at 6pm on Thursday 3rd November. Come along if you have an interest in, or a story about, tech docs – from any perspective.
Have an idea for a talk for future meetups? Add questions or comments to this post, or add them as comments on the meetup page. Swapnil Ogale, the founder of Write the Docs Australia, would love to hear your ideas!