After almost two years without official meetings and lack of success with recruiting new members, the Rust developers have officially pronounced the docs team dead.
According to core (and docs) team member Steve Klabnik the team was more of a relic of the early days of Rust. Back then, it was brought to life to help out with the documentation of the standard library, package manager Cargo, and some long-form docs such as the Rust book. It was also meant to help projects in the ecosystem which needed support in that area to make sure people don’t turn away from the language only because they’ve come across some frustrating tool they couldn’t use due to missing instructions.
But that was almost four years ago, and things have changed – not least because the number of people working on Rust has gone up quite a bit. Klabnik states in a blog post that “One team of folks writing docs for tons of other teams of folks doesn’t really work, long-term. In the short term, it was an absolutely necessary and good strategy. Today, it doesn’t make as much sense.”
Despite not being successful in getting new members onto the docs squat, the team’s track record includes a “pretty much filled out” standard library documentation, and generally helpful projects such as Rust by Example, the reference, the nomicon, and the rustc book and guide.
The progressing differentiation of development teams has also helped a bit with moving the documentation efforts forward. Though “most people just don’t like writing docs”, they kind of do them anyway nowadays. And thus the libs team adds initial docs for new APIs, the compiler team maintains the error index describing compiler errors, and the Cargo team is responsible for its project’s documentation.
Long form docs like the book are maintained by designated people (Klabnik, for example) who will keep up their work. But since there “aren’t really docs RFC these days” and the last docs team meeting was in August 2018, the time has come to officially say goodbye to the team.
Klabnik will resort to working on the core and book and thanks “everyone who’s been on the team in the past, and everyone who’s submitted documentation PRs over the years.” “A lot of people really love Rust’s documentation, and that wouldn’t have been possible without all of you.”