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Re: Processing HOWTOs

On Jan 26, 10:21am, Stein Gjoen wrote:
> Subject: Processing HOWTOs
> > IMHO, while the LDP is amazing, let's not kid ourselves about quality.
> >
> > The quality control is non-existant.  There is no tagging of documents
> > to versions, no consistency of distribution variations, no tracking of
> > user stats and no stakeholder review, and many ancient docs which
> > should be weeded out are kept because "they are all we have on that
> > subject".
> Sadly true. So when is the core team going to post a request
> for new authors or maintainers on news:comp.os.linux.announce ?
> It wouldn't cost to try.

There is no longer a core team; there are volunteers. If you would
like to take on that task, I think everyone involved with the LDP
would be most appreciative!

> >     >>  To this aim, we need a charismatic leader or group of leaders,
> >     >> who can accept and refuse works without offending anybody.
> >
> > No, we need a process whereby docs can be rated and comments attached
> > by the user base.  We need stats to show which docs are actually read,
> > and a followup process which asks the reader if the doc was actually
> > helpful.  This is basic Customer Support 101.
> To get proper stats we also need to promote. I did some automated
> web promotion of my HOWTO and raised the hit counts from
> about 50 a day to 300-500 a day. What has the core team done in
> this respect? This is hardly the firt time I ask/suggest but I
> have yet to see an answer. Some actual hit stats from the LDP
> site would tell us how we are doing.

Again, anyone part of this mailing list, anyone that has used
the LDP, anyone that likes what they see can assist in promoting
the LDP. Posting to the ng's is no doubt a good place to start.
Placing links to the TPL on individual websites is another.

> > Maybe we should treat authors like software authors: When someone is
> > the maintainer of a software package, they put their email address on
> > it. They _expect_ to receive bug reports and gripes which are then
> > folded back into the software to improve it.  When it gets to be too
> > much for them, they hand the reigns to someone else.
> >
> >   How about this: A new display engine on the website which lists the
> >   requested doc in the right frame, but down the left margin lists
> >   the title, the date, author contact info and the version numbers of
> >   mentioned software.  Below this is a survey form that says "How
> >   useful is this doc?"  Then, once we have a significant database of
> >   reviews, when someone searches for a doc, the search results page
> >   shows the title of the document followed by its review metrics, its
> >   age and the version numbers.
> Good idea, I second this.

I *like* the idea, but I'm worried about us modifying the display
in any way, shape or form...especially using frames. Call it

How about, for a start, just a simple way to provide feedback - a
page linked to from the other "main" pages we have on the LDP? It
may at least help to garner some form of feedback. I realize it isn't
quite the fine-grained functionality we'd like to have/need, but it
is a start.

I can put together a form and then collect and/or email the
results from each inquiry; if this is an approach we decide
upon. Like I said, it's a starting point; it might remove the
intimidation factor some people might feel wrt emailing an
author directly.

> > Maybe a requirement for LDP authors should be an explicit ownership
> > clause in the submission process which says "You agree to maintain
> > this component" --- if someone doesn't want the great hoards of users
> > sending them email to complain about a typo, them maybe an LDP doc is
> > not for them, or they should add their doc to the "unmaintained" list.
> >
> > Part of this is also proper dating of material.  All LDP docs should
> > say right at the top the date of last revision, and the search engine
> > results must tell me this.  What good is it to find a ppp-2.1 or a
> > kernel-2.0 doc?  Maybe I really am looking for help with old
> > technology, but I will bet real money most queries against the LDP
> > search engine are looking for help with the most recent Linux
> > distributions --- the vast majority of the Linux users out there today
> > have been using Linux for less than a year.
> Again this is not the first time this topic comes up and many
> authors were approached by a 3.rd party willing to take up that
> job. Nothing has been heard of since.
> I proposed an automated cooperation with Freshmeat, another idea
> that sunk mostly without a trace. Yet when I check the place
>    http://freshmeat.net/search.php3?query=HOWTO
> I find 17 HOWTOs have quietly been registered, and tracking
> numbers and dating is done, an example:
>    http://freshmeat.net/appindex/1999/06/26/930410556.html
> Looking closer I notice it is possible for users to make
> comments directly to those web pages. It does look like
> Freshmeat ALREADY has done what we have talked about.
> Secondly being tracked in the Freshmeat database also
> means your updates will automatically be announces to
> Linux Weekly News.
> Looking closer I see some more interesting programs, check out
>    http://freshmeat.net/appindex/1999/04/01/922967500.html
>    http://freshmeat.net/appindex/1999/09/20/937809864.html
> >     >> This is how free software works: there always is a maintainer
> >     >> who accepts and refuses contributions, and nobody ever sends in
> >     >> stuff pretending it gets accepted.
> >
> > And so there should be, but, like software, we want a maintainer for
> > each and every doc, not one all powerful overlord for the entire
> > collection, and like freshmeat, the LDP need not pass any judgement
> > but let the community at large determine the worth of each.
> I suggest we get a TODO list of good ideas up. Many ideas come
> up again and again and sink without trace. I think even a TODO
> list was mentioned some time ago but funnily enough nothing
> happened.

Start sending me items, I'll put one together.


Greg Ferguson     - s/w engr / mtlhd         | gferg@sgi.com
SGI Tech Pubs     - http://techpubs.sgi.com  | 410-785-2334 
Linux Doc Project - http://www.linuxdoc.org  |

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