Welcome to the Just Write Click blog. I’m Anne Gentle, a community documentation coordinator at Rackspace for OpenStack. I serve on the OpenStack Technical Committee and consistently advocate for OpenStack users and contributors. The OpenStack doc team provides both administration guides and API references for running and using OpenStack. I connect new OpenStack contributors and mentors through the GNOME Outreach Program for Women. 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.
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 now 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.
I 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.
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.
Recognized as one of the top ten technical communication influencers in 2011 and 2012 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.
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
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.