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Créer un tutoriel peut paraître compliqué et fastidieux. Nous souhaitons changer cela !

Documentation means communicating your experience and discoveries – ensuring that others don’t make the same mistakes, and making the work we do stronger, as it can build upon the ideas and experience of many people rather than just ourselves.

Documentation is about turning an individual or group experience into our knowledge commons – something that can benefit anyone, anywhere, at any time.

OK, here’s an easy multiple choice question for you:

Who benefits from a well-documented project?

a) you
b) other people
c) the project itself
d) All of the above

Yep, the answer is d) All of the above.

How does it help YOU?

By documenting your project well, you have the immediate benefit of clarifying and focusing your thoughts – in order to communicate a messy discussion or a trial & error process to others, you have to filter & summarise. This process usually brings up other questions, other solutions, or aspects which you hadn’t even considered beforehand.

There’s also a huge benefit to Future You.

Now, you haven’t met Future You yet, but I think you would get on well with them, you have a lot in common. Future You is likely to be interested in the topic you’re working on now, and at some stage – perhaps in two weeks, in two years, or in twenty years – Future You will want to know what happened at that workshop. Future You does not have such a good memory as you think! Future You will need a refresher on what happened, access to the files that you used, links to relevant online resources, and a ‘how-to’ guide to reproduce or build upon the original process and results. By creating comprehensive documentation of your project, you are making Future You’s life much easier. Future You will be eternally grateful.

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Be kind to Future You! (Wikimedia Commons)

Documentation also helps you because it is the first step to building collaboration, to finding new ideas, to communicating your needs and encouraging contributions.
You can never know exactly who might be interested in working with you to solve your problems, but only through documentation and communication can you let them know you’re working on a problem in the first place.
Which brings us to…

How does it help OTHER PEOPLE?

Clear, easy-to-understand documentation allows somebody else to quickly understand what the challenge is that you’re working on, what you have tried so far, how far you have come, and what problems or interesting questions you have identified.

With this information, people looking through your documentation are able to very quickly understand if this topic is of interest to them, and if they can help in any way, whether that be by directly solving problems or contributing ideas, or else by spreading the word and putting you in touch with relevant people.

Good documentation saves the reader (your potential collaborator) time.

Maybe the experience that you have been through can help others to see the challenge from another perspective, maybe it will be directly relevant and useful to their work, or maybe they will see a connection between you/your project and other people in their network.

Without this information being presented in a useful, accessible and detailed way, they can’t even begin to understand what you’re working on, let alone help you or take the idea further.

How does it help THE PROJECT ITSELF?

You’re a human being (I assume… hello to any bots and sentient dolphins reading this as well!).

Human beings get distracted, their interests change, their circumstances change. Just because you’re interested enough in your topic to create a tutorial on Wikifab, doesn’t mean that you are committed and responsible for carrying this project with you over the course of your life. And you shouldn’t be!
Your project, and the ideas and discoveries around it are actually more resilient if it doesn’t depend on a single person.

Documentation is the first step towards freeing yourself of the heavy burden of sole personal responsibility, and allowing others to share the task of stewarding the project. It’s also an act of invitation and inclusivity. By putting your thoughts and experiences out there you’re inviting dialogue and improvement. You’re showing people that you invite and value contributions. And it means that if you get hit by a bus or attacked by a rogue sentient dolphin, your project and ideas will live on.

dolphin
you can never be too careful.. (CC-BY Ross Hawkes)

One more thing – you can’t possibly know who may or may not be able to help develop your project, or whom your project might be able to help. If you keep the information to yourself, only sharing what you deem relevant with people you deem relevant, you’re missing out on potentially useful connections. By making the information public, under an open license, anybody is able to use the information or pass it on to become useful to others.

For any good idea – particularly one related to the sustainability of our planet – its resilience and diffusion depend upon the contributions and stewardship of many different people – being overprotective of the idea, or choosing not to share it until it’s ‘ready’ can jeapordize its survival!

References

I originally post this article on the OSCEdays community forum and, as part of the Wikifab community, I am happy to share it here too.

-Sam Muirhead
@CameraLibre

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OSCEdays is an open, distributed and globally connected event. Experts, enthusiasts and innovators from across the globe work together in order to exchange ideas and solutions – prototyping systems, products and designs for an Open Source Circular Economy.

Picture the OSCEdays has a distributed hackathon exploring Open Source for a Circular Economy!

On June 9 this year, 70+ locations will simultaneously organise workshops, teardowns, co-design and prototyping in various cities across the globe. The main areas of research are:

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At Wikifab we felt the need to help the OSCEdays hardware projects to document and share their instructions in order to enable collaboration and conversation among the antennas.

We drafted a topic on the OSCEdays community forum that contains ‘best practices’ for writing a good technical documentation, find it here. It an open forum so feel free to join the discussion 😉

-Clément

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Wikifab, the open source hardware documentation platform is in beta version. Everybody can join it. You just need a Wikifab account, so ask for your early access if you don’t have one!

We’ve been focused on three things to simplify DIY project documentation:

#1. The friendliest and simplest user interface of any documentation tool.

#2. A powerful search engine to allow users search for a project by difficulty, duration, cost or list of materials.

#3. A page history that contains a list of the tutorial’s changes, including the date and time of each edit and the username of the user who made it.

What happens now?

Wikifab is in development and we believe we’re just getting started on our mission. Our goal is to empower individuals to share their technical knowledge with the rest of the world.

We will continue to launch additional features that make this product even better. We’d love your feedback. To become part of the conversation, ask questions or receive help, join our discourse chat room

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On wikifab.org, you will learn, step by step, how to make your own 3D Printer for under $100.

You will also learn, step by step, how to use a 3D printer and you will be able to download 3D models for free.

Call for maker : You know how to make a 3D Printer and want to share your knowledge with the rest of the world ? contact us and have your tutorial featured on wikifab homepage (tutorials@wikifab.org).

Photo credit : makerthemovie.com. Watch the trailer or download the full on http://makerthemovie.com/watch.

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The wikifab.org platform is under-construction. Today, we want to share with you the list of categories in which the tutorials will be sorted.

There are 19 categories :

  • 3D printing & 3D scanning
  • Arduino & Raspberry pi
  • Art
  • Artisans & Craft
  • Drones
  • Education
  • Energy & Sustainability
  • Fabrication & Furnitures
  • Fashion & Wearables
  • Food & Agriculture
  • Games
  • Hacks
  • Internet of Things
  • Kids & Education
  • Music & Sound
  • Recycling  & Upcycling
  • Robotics
  • Science & Biology
  • Wellness & Healthcare

This list is evolutive. Since wikifab is a wiki, anyone will have the opportunity to add or modify a category.

What do you think ? Did you easily find your area of competences ?

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On wikifab.org, you will learn, step by step, how to create a Radio Controlled Drone by yourself.

Call for maker : You know how to make a RC Drone and want to share your knowledge with the rest of the world ? contact us and have your DIY tutorial to make a Drone featured on wikifab homepage (tutorials@wikifab.org).

Photo credit : makerthemovie.com. Watch the trailer or download the full on http://makerthemovie.com/watch.

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This thursday we were lapaillasse​ to go deeper into the POC21.cc camp and to meet some of the candidates. It was also the first time we pitched the wikifab.org project.

We are so excited to see that the project meets great interests among the visitors. We also receive useful advices and great support…

What a fresh energy to help us pursue our mission !

For more information : 

» http://poc21.cc/
» http://lapaillasse.org

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Help us to make the best template to create standardized tutorials. See our first proposals below and share your thoughts with us.

On the tutorial’s header, we propose to displayed the following informations :

  • Tutorial title
  • Short description
  • Type of tutorial
  • Category
  • Duration
  • Difficulty
  • Cost
  • A picture of the final product
  • An author box
  • The creative common license
  • The list of the tools
  • The list of materials

Each step will be composed of :

  • a title
  • a content
  • from 1 to 3 pictures

Additional functionalities :

  • A button to follow a tutorial
  • A button to follow an author
  • An “I dit it !” counter
  • An “Add to favorite” button
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