I actually am
a technical writer, and I like
it. Now that I have been working in the field for a while, I'm chary about getting involved with F/OSS projects because the F/OSS community in general tends to treat non-programmers as not worth bothering with or listening to, even though a lot of us who'd really like to get involved are working professionals with good track records. I don't need to get treated like shit and ignored on a volunteer project when, if I get treated like shit and ignored in the corporate world, I'm at least drawing a paycheque. (Nothing eats like food, after all.)
I've seen far too much of the attitude around that programmers should write the documentation, because the programmers know the application best (as if that's a particularly good criterion by which to create documentation!), and IME that really only accomplishes two things: It makes your programmers (who'd rather be programming, quelle surprise
) cranky, and it pisses off your user base, when the documentation reads like something that has been hacked together by someone who doesn't know the first thing or care a whit about documentation. Brill
Now, if someone were serious about getting technical writing students involved in F/OSS projects, I'd recommend contacting these folks: Cooperative Education and Career Services
at the University of Waterloo, and the Rhetoric and Professional Writing
and Rhetoric and Communication Design programme people. They do co-ops at both the graduate and undergraduate levels in those programmes, and, at least when I was there, seem to be quite open to unconventional project ideas...