Welcome to the Just Write Click blog. I’m Anne Gentle, and I work on OpenStack at Cisco. I serve on the OpenStack Technical Committee and consistently advocate for OpenStack users and contributors. I’m learning about making products from open source projects.

I am a leader within the OpenStack doc team, providing both administration guides and API references for running and using OpenStack. I connect new OpenStack contributors and mentors through the GNOME Outreachy Program, offering internships for women in open source projects.

I wrote Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation based on my experiences with social media applied to documentation authoring, reviewing, and distribution. I am working on community documentation with OpenStack as a Content Stacker and would love to have more writers join us in the cloud. I am very interested in people and who adopt social web methods for technical documentation, customer support, and Agile documentation. You can view my resume if you’d like to see my work history and experience.

© Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

I have acquired many interests in technical documentation over the years, including structured authoring, social media, XML models for software documentation such as DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture), blogging, online user assistance, and writing in an Agile development environment.

Did I mention that I’ve authored a book, Conversation and Community: The Social Web for Documentation, published by XML Press? I’m pretty proud of it. It’s available on amazon.com.

Loving What I Do

I have a lot of energy because these busy but balanced days fill me up rather than tire me out. I’ve created a life that lets me enjoy my husband and kids and the mom shift that happens afternoon to evening. I think I have a lot of unique experiences and lessons learned to offer to others who are considering social documentation.

collageI must admit, I love to be busy. I volunteer at schools whenever I can. I am a volunteer maintainer of the One Laptop Per Child user manual housed at FLOSS Manuals. I’ve learned so much about using wikis for documentation from working on this project. I was the lead for the STC Intercom Editorial Advisory Panel to guide the editorial calendar for 2009.

I had a book reading at the South by SouthWest Interactive Festival. I’ve presented at DocTrain and the STC Summit as well as local presentations to the STC Austin group and the Central Texas DITA User Group.

In college at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana, I got a bachelors of science in Chemistry. A summer internship in an analytical lab in Michigan testing nutritional supplements and infant formula showed me I was a little klutzy with pipettes (thumb pipetting gets you very little accuracy) but I did realize that I enjoyed reading the manuals for the instrumentation. A  year later, I pursued and obtained a Masters in Technical and Scientific Communication at Miami University in a year and a half while working full time at the Center for Chemical Education during the last year of my degree pursuit.

Succinct Professional Profile

Eager to engage information professionals and spark action using a unique combination of education and experience as a writer in the computer industry and volunteer in the open source community. Recognized thought leader and innovative coordinator of unique documentation solutions with community events and user-generated content such as wikis and blogs.

Key Experiences

Lead the community documentation effort for OpenStack consisting of 130 git repositories governed by more than twenty related programs. Written in Python, OpenStack projects enable any organization to provide cloud computing capabilities on standard hardware using open source software. Applications written on OpenStack are beginning to grow.

Gathered competent documentarians to write about OpenStack. Grew numbers from 79 docs contributors to 130 docs contributors in six months from April 2013 to November 2013. Now working with 195 contributions between November 2013 and March 2014.

With Adam Hyde, I coordinated and participated in the second FLOSS Manuals Book Sprint, resulting in a 250-page manual for One Laptop per Child written in five days in a wiki and a surge in community growth.

Demonstrated thought leadership as one of the first ten nominated bloggers on talk.bmc.com. Connected directly with our customers, sometimes leading the group in popularity with 10,000 hits a month. Steve Carl is a popular blogger there still, with very good reason – he writes about his enterprise Linux experiences really well. I blogged for my former employer, BMC Software on talk.bmc.com from 2005 to 2007. I wanted to continue blogging about technical writing, information architecture, topic authoring, social media, and other technologies that catch my eye. So when I left BMC, I started just write click.

Implemented method for using Oracle content in BMC Software products using on-demand XSLT, automatically formatting and displaying an explanation and user response for database errors. See Integrating Partner Information Using XML and XSL for details.

Integrated O’Reilly learning materials directly into a BMC Software product using online Help system in a new way, enabling BMC Software users to search O’Reilly content and offer expert advice for database administration. I never wrote this up as an article but it was an interesting experience in the early days of Safari.


2014 Winner of IO Award for technical achievement, Rackspace

2013 Anne Gentle Travel Scholarship Award, OpenStack Foundation

2012 Central Texas Women of Influence, Austin Business Journal

Recognized as one of the top ten technical communication influencers 2010 through 2014 by MindTouch, a social business platform vendor.

Recognized as one of the top 100 employees out of 6,000 at a corporate recognition event at BMC Software in 2006.

Distinguished Chapter Service Award from the Society for Technical Communication (STC), 2001.

Professional Presentations

Managing Medical and Health Data With OpenStack, a Wearable Sensor, and Smart Apps, OpenStack Summit Tokyo October 2015.

Collaborating on GitHub for Open Source Documentation, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing October 2015.

Journey into Continuous Glucose Monitoring Technology as a Parent, Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing October 2015.

Women in Technology: Be That Light, Rackspace booth presentation at South By SouthWest (SXSW) Interactive, March 2014.

Four Years In Panel presentation at the OpenStack Summit, Paris, France November 2014.

Writing Enterprise Docs with an Upstream Co-presentation with Lana Brindley, the OpenStack Summit, Paris, France November 2014.

You’ll Never Look at Developer Support the Same Way Again, the OpenStack Summit, Paris, France November 2014.

On Writing the OpenStack Operations Manual in 5 Days, Panel presentation at the OpenStack Summit, Portland, OR, April 2013.

Contributing to OpenStack presentation and demo for Pyladies Austin, June 2013.

Meet the OpenStack Technical Committee, Panel discussion at the OpenStack Summit, Hong Kong, November 2013.

Social Media, Social Networking, and Social Relevance in Tech Comm:Conversation and Community, Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand, Auckland, New Zealand, October 2012.

OpenStack Documentation in the Open, Austin OpenStack User Group, Austin, Texas, July 2012.

Sprints and Stacks: Building a Documentation Community, Open Help Conference, Cincinnati, Ohio, June 2011.

Introducing docs.openstack.org, Lightning talk at the O’Reilly Strata OpenStack Meetup, February 2011

OpenStack Overview for Austin Cloud User Group, Austin, Texas, December 2010

Strategies for the Social Web for Documentation presented at the STC Summit, May 2010

Documentation Needs? How FLOSS Manuals Can Help presented with Janet Swisher at Texas Linux Fest, Austin, Texas, April 2010

Collaboration and the Power of the Social Web presented to the Willamette Valley STC chapter in Portland, Oregon, October 2009

Documentation with Wikis, Blogs, and Online Communities and Climbing the Levels of Collaboration sessions for STC Summit May 2009

Documentation as Conversation presented to the Austin STC chapter in October 2008, the Houston STC chapter in November 2008, presented to Refresh Austin in August 2009, and available as a recorded webinar from Scriptorium Publishing.

Panel participant for Getting Inside Information on Collaboration panel with Sarah O’Keefe, Kirsty Taylor, Michael Priestley, with Moderator: Char James-Tanny at the STC Summit, June 2008

Moderator of Meet the Bloggers session with Scott Abel, Tom Johnson, Scott Nesbitt, Darren Barefoot, and Aaron Davis at DocTrain West, May 2008

Co-presented Structured Wikis with Stuart Mader at DocTrain West, May 2008

Presented Integrating Partner Information Using XML and XSL at the  Annual STC Conference May 2004


The Agile Executive: Agile Across the Enterprise: Prioritizing Value in Support and Training December 2009

STC Puget Sound chapter newsletter: Interview in the article, Writing for Free/Libre Open Source Software November 2009

STC Intercom: Embracing the Un: When the Community Runs the Event January 2009

WikiSym Proceedings: Using Structured Wikis for Software Engineering September 2008

STC Intercom: Building a DITA-Wiki Hybrid April 2008

The Content Wrangler: Anne Gentle vs. JoAnn Hackos: Is there a Documentation Wiki in Your Future? September 2007

STC Intercom: The “Quick Web” for Technical Documentation September 2007

Hyperviews Online: Using a Content Management System (CMS) for your STC community web site September 2007

CIDM Newsletter: Writing End-User Documentation in an Agile Development Environment June 2007

WritersUA: Integrating Partner Information Using XML and XSL October 2004

Newsletter article (PDF): Evolution of Online Help October 2000

Podcasts and interviews

Podcast interview with Anne Gentle, information developer at BMC Software, Inc. on talk.bmc.com August 2006

Answering Tough Questions about Wikis – Interview with Anne Gentle on Tech Writer Voices October 2007

Podcast interview with Scott Nesbitt and Aaron Davis on their Communications with DMN show September 2008

Podcast with Anne Gentle about her Conversation and Community book on  Tech Writer Voices August 2009

Video Interview with Ellis Pratt of Cherryleaf consulting September 2009 (part 1, part 2) Book also featured in their History of Technical Communication in 7 minutes video.


Board Member, Gethsemane Lutheran Children’s Ministry, 2008-present

Chair, Editorial Advisory Panel for 2009 STC Intercom, 2008-2010

Member, Central Texas DITA User Group, 2006-present

Member, OASIS Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA) Technical Committee, 2005-2007

Senior Member, Society for Technical Communication, 1995-present

Please feel free to email me at annegentle at justwriteclick dot com.


  • June 28, 2007 - 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Hi Anne – following your post on Tom’s blog. I’d be happy to get together to discuss wiki’s and other emerging documentation technologies. Drop me an e-mail. – Alan

  • July 16, 2007 - 9:00 pm | Permalink

    Hi, Anne! We sure do miss you. Thanks for being such a wonderful writer and blogger on TalkBMC. Let me know if I need to do anything more for you in helping you transition your blog.



  • March 30, 2008 - 1:07 am | Permalink

    Hi Anne, found your blog from Tom’s blogroll. You’ve been a technical writer for quite long. You’ve probably seen a lot of changes in how technical writing and documentation are done over the years. Look forward to reading more posts from your blog.

    I’m also a technical writer, in Shanghai.