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posted by n1 on Monday June 05 2017, @10:15AM   Printer-friendly
from the git-gud dept.

The Open Source Survey asked a broad array of questions. One that caught my eye was about problems people encounter when working with, or contributing to, open source projects. An incredible 93 percent of people reported being frustrated with “incomplete or confusing documentation”.

That’s hardly a surprise. There are a lot of projects on Github with the sparsest of descriptions, and scant instruction on how to use them. If you aren’t clever enough to figure it out for yourself, tough.

[...] According to the Github Open Source Survey, 60 percent of contributors rarely or never contribute to documentation. And that’s fine.

Documenting software is extremely difficult. People go to university to learn to become technical writers, spending thousands of dollars, and several years of their life. It’s not really reasonable to expect every developer to know how to do it, and do it well.

2017 Open Source Survey

-- submitted from IRC


Original Submission

 
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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday June 05 2017, @01:13PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) Subscriber Badge on Monday June 05 2017, @01:13PM (#520707)

    Documentation is a thankless job - you do a great job of documenting the existing setup, then the coders and testers change it all and your documentation is broken, but nobody cares enough to help you fix it.

    Autogenerated documentation like doxygen at least moves the problem closer to the source... still impossible to get coders to slow down and update the comments even when they're right there in the header of the subroutine, but when it's broken, the git-blame function at least gives you a name to go after to try to get some "what the hell were you thinking here" to go with the obvious stuff.

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