Great products are supported by their users. Your users could be much more than customers. They can help you support and promote your product. At Syllogist, we believe in creating vibrant communities of users who share their experiences and insights.
Not only does documentation help create better communities, but user communities can help create better documentation. Your users are the best source for first-hand insight in using your product. Experienced users enjoy the recognition of their contributions and become more loyal to your product. At the same time, they help you support and educate other users. Everybody wins.
Some types of documentation are more easily done by user communities than others. Tutorials and demonstrations are particularly amenable to community development. They allow users to write about the things that excite them the most.
Regardless of what you ask your community to do, you have to manage and foster the community to keep it active and to ensure quality output that reflects well on you and your product. Setting up a wiki without tending to it won't produce the results you want.
Managing a community is different from managing paid employees. We know what makes communities work.