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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 Azuma Hazuki on Monday June 05 2017, @05:56PM (1 child)

    by Azuma Hazuki (5086) on Monday June 05 2017, @05:56PM (#520870) Journal

    Strictly speaking, the compiler *is* your audience, but so is anyone else who has to maintain it. In effect, you're trying to express yourself in a way the compiler can read that also makes sense to a human. We can trust the compiler to break the code down to its component machine-code no matter how it's written, so long as it's written correctly; for the sake of other humans, though, you should pretty-print it.

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  • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday June 05 2017, @07:26PM

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday June 05 2017, @07:26PM (#520925)

    Documentation isn't just for programmers, either. A vast swath of open source code completely lacks user facing documentation.

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