7 Reasons Why I am Open-Sourcing My Ebook about the Future of Work
“Crowdsourcing As a Shortcut to Techno-Utopia” is already a free book out there for the world to read; it is hosted here on Medium.
The book is about the future-and-present potential of crowdsourcing. I hosted it here on Medium because that made it easy for people to reach, and it enabled easy sharing, chapter-by-chapter, via social media. (This came in handy, for example, when some of my chapters were added to Medium channels like Virtual Reality Pop.)
This was great, but the strategy had a few drawbacks. My new home for it (links below) will be ten times better! Let me explain…
Here are 7-reasons I’m switching platforms and hosting my book on GitHub and Github Pages:
1. I want it to be a better book.
With more eyes (and keyboards) on my book, I will be able to make edits, additions, and changes that I didn’t have time to make myself or had not even considered.
2. As the author, I want to practice what I preach.
I love the idea of version control, and a book about how great crowdsourcing is that doesn’t use some form of crowdsourcing to make it is just waiting to become a punchline… (i.e., If crowdsourcing is so great, why didn’t you…)
Furthermore, GitHub is a fantastic example of how crowdsourcing/versions-control-systems can work on a large scale. Clay Shirky addressed this a long time ago, in 2012, with a fantastic Ted Talk:
3. I want to give my fellow writers and colleagues a friendly portal leading them into the world of both crowdsourcing and version control systems
When I first entered the web dev space, I had a heck of a time getting my head around Git, GitHub, version control, the command line, code editors, and other tools and workflows.
Luckily, I stumbled upon lots of great tutorials. My favorite was this one: “GitHub for Poets” a video tutorial series. This series helped me get into the swing of things while sticking to a form factor familiar to me as an English major, a poem.
Now, with my Ebook project, people can use the knowledge they gain from tutorials like this to make their first easy-yet-meaningful contributions.
If you are new to the idea of GitHub and version control, check out my post on Github Pages for the Budding Technical Writer.
4. I am inspired
I came across a few examples of open source books and one open source software project that caught my eye:
- The Lightning Network Book
- How Many Days Until Halloween is an open-source project that is super-friendly for beginners. This project has an amazingly detailed contributor guide and other resources that helped guide me while creating my own. I learned about this project at the Write The Docs conference, 2019, in a speech from Shannon Crabill (Video below).
In addition to these projects, I was inspired by static websites, a format popular in the developer documentation field. It is a popular method of working on software documentation collaboratively (A.K.A. Docs As Code method).
5. I want a portfolio piece highlighting my love of developer tools/docs as code
As someone switching careers from copywriting to developer documentation, I want to show potential employers that I understand the value of docs and how to navigate the space.
This is also a great way for me to showcase my experience writing onboarding and other contribution instructions.
6. Content should age gracefully
All books, especially those about technology age over time. Wouldn’t it be nice if readers could suggest updates to keep things fresh? Well, as long as I have readers, this work will be able to.
7. I want readers, and I want to inspire entrepreneurs
I am hoping that by giving people another reason to work with my content, more people will consider reading about the wild, wacky, and neglected ideas about the future of crowdsourcing and what it means for human productivity, communication, and work.
My main goal is to inspire startups, entrepreneurs, investors, and developers to consider baking crowdsourcing directly into their business models.
How do you contribute?
I’ll spare you the details here, but be sure to check out the contribution instructions, and see if you can find a way to improve the content.
Note: Contribution instructions are basic at the moment. The instructions will improve over time as I spend more time on this project and as I learn more about what contributors need.