Pantheon Community

WebOps Wednesday AMA: Joan Edwards - Ask me about docs and community engagement

Hi, I’m Joan Edwards, a Senior Technical Writer at Pantheon who’s based in New York.

Before joining Pantheon’s Docs team, I wrote docs for a number of open-source projects. A hefty part of my technical writing duties was not only creating docs, but trying to drive community engagement - because a common challenge for many of the teams I worked with, was getting consistent and meaningful docs contributions. I quickly learned that an open-source project without good docs is just not sustainable. To be a thriving community you need to have contributors, and to get contributors you have to have established (documented) processes and organized information. Having lackluster, incomplete, or unreliable documentation really inhibits project growth by discouraging community engagement.

Never have Kevin Costner’s words “If you build it, they will come ‘’ held more true than when speaking about docs and community engagement in open-source (Okay… I’ll admit that’s a bit hyperbolic, but it definitely is somewhat true!)

Being at Pantheon has been so enlightening, and also very different from my previous roles. There is an amazing community here and folks are just eager to ask questions and share knowledge; it’s wonderful! It’s always awesome to scan our docs repo and see all the amazing contributions! I am really excited to see how we will continue to drive and sustain that engagement.

Ask me anything! Please note, I am much more likely to have a decent answer if the question is related to any of the following topics:

  • Contributing to open-source projects that address social change
  • Drupal Asheville 2021
  • Write the Docs
  • Nicolas Cage
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Hi Joan! :wave:t5:

Thanks so much for sharing you experience with everyone! I didn’t know you were based in New York. Love the big :apple: I used to live in Brooklyn!

A hefty part of my technical writing duties was not only creating docs, but trying to drive community engagement - because a common challenge for many of the teams I worked with, was getting consistent and meaningful docs contributions.

:arrow_up: Yes to this! The beauty of community is actively listening, being an advocate for change & contributing to that change. I would love to hear any ideas you may have around how we can encourage more community contributions. Any suggestions top-of-mind? Also LOVE that quote by Kevin Costner! This one also had me giggling :arrow_down:


My favorite response – no worries, we have a Doc for that! :slight_smile:

We are also just as excited to have you here at Pantheon @joan.edwards :pantheon: You have already made such a big impact & I am super excited to work with you on all the things!

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@joan.edwards your contributions here have already been so helpful. Thank for making my life easier!

Top question,
What is your favorite Nic Cage movie and why is it Con Air?

How was training at Drupal Asheville? piggybacking on that one, how do you see docs and trainings relationship with one another?

P.S. I have a giant stick of wood by my bed for my eventual Vampire’s Kiss Halloween costume.

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