“W.T.F.M: Write The Freaking Manual”

Developers: You spend hours, days, months, perhaps years refining your masterpiece. It is an expression of your life’s work, heart and soul. Why, then, would you shortchange yourself by providing poor or no documentation for the rest of us?

I think this is symptomatic of an inherent arrogance of software developers. People who have laboured on a project consider their work to be trivially easy to understand, while people struggle to even wrap their heads around what the project actually is.

I have seen this in the Django community in particular1, but I’m sure it’s endemic to the developer community at large; people with a few IRC visits and Stack Overflow questions to their name will have many grumpy encounters to regale you with.

It’s a big step that we now have a response to “RTFM”: WTFM.

  1. Some of the most popular Django apps are also some of the most poorly documented projects I have seen. Django developers frequently have to scrounge Google Groups and Code sites for answers to how a project works—if at all.