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RE: Slashdot reply final



Well, it looks like David has some good points again.  Funny thing, he
always seems to have something good to say.  :)

> -----Original Message-----
> From: David Lawyer []
> Sent: Tuesday, February 15, 2000 1:09 AM
> To: Guylhem Aznar
> Subject: Re: Slashdot reply final
> 
> 
> On Mon, Feb 14, 2000 at 09:26:24PM +0100, Guylhem Aznar wrote:
> > ***************************************************
> > 
> > Thanks a lot to Slashdot readers for the comments they submitted.
> > 
> > Our announcement may have seemed "empty" but you provided 
> us with lots
> > of good feedback regarding the LDP in general, and that will help us
> > in improving our quality.
> > 
> > While reading the comments, I took a paper and wrote down 
> the different
> > problems people had.
> > 
> > Some will not be solved immediately, some are now solved :
> 
> Others are outside our scope while others can be solved if we get more
> people to help in the effort.

Ooh, I like that.  

> 
> > 
> >   - web site design : FIXED (http://www.linuxdoc.org)
> > 
> > Each of your comments were precious to help us improve its 
> appearance
> > and ease of use.
> Many of your comments were important.  Don't say this but some
> comments were little more than unreasoned, and nonsensical flames.
> They were correctly given a 0 rating.

Semantics, but that's a good point.  I don't have strong feelings either
way, since I never read /. comments.

[snip]
> > 
> > If your LinuxDoc or DocBook source contains errors, I'm sorry but we
> > won't process the document.
> You mean if it contains known errors we will not process it until the
> errors are fixed.
> > 
> > Please test it first
> > 
> >   - You should check the documents : FIXED
> > 
> > We already do!
> > 
> > Since november, a peer reviewer team is trying to proofread each
> > submitted document.
>
> We are not really trying to proofread each one since we don't have
> enough people doing it.  It would be better to say "we would 
> like to be
> able to have our peer review team proofread each submitted
> document."

With the ammount of maintenence it takes to keep some HOWTOs up to date,
this is certainly true.  I haven't been proofreading any of them becuase I
don't have time to do them all, and we don't have any way of determining
"who's turn it is".  

> > However, there are far too many docs submitted to ldp-submit for our
> > small team to adequately proofread each document. If you 
> would like to
> > help us please subscribe to ldp-submit
> > (mail ldp-submit-request@lists.linuxdoc.org).
> >
> 
> >   - XXXX and YYYY HOWTOs are outdated/unmaintained
> >     (http://www.linuxdoc.org/sorted_howtos.html)
> > 
> > Please update the document and submit the new version to 
> the LDP if the
> > license allows modifications.
> >
> Most readers are not about to go to all the work to update an outdated
> document and many of them don't know enough about it to even be able
> to do this.  So we should no ask them so bluntly to do this.

Well, we should offer something here, if we don't ask them so bluntly, what
do we say?

> 
> > We will be happy to include your new version (News HOWTO 
> and SCSI HOWTO
> > are especially old!).
> > 
> >   - I just found ZZZZ HOWTO which is not part of the LDP yet
> > 
> > Then please contact the author and ask him to send his document to
> > ldp-submit@lists.linuxdoc.org
> > 
> > Chances are we will include it, unless it contains errors, has a non
> > free license, or duplicates an existing document.
> > 
> >   - license problem, GNU/Linux... FIXED (http://??? 
> manifesto license guide)
> > 
> > We have a manifesto and a license guide on the first page.
> > 
> > Both are currently being revised.
> 
> The License Requirements in the Manifesto are not currently being
> revised as far as I know.  There is a proposed revision to 
> the Manifesto
> suggested by Stallman to place more emphasis on the GNU aspect of
> Linux, but it is not really very significant.  I'll post more about
> this later.  So I really wouldn't say anything about them being
> revised.  There is an ongoing discussion of license issues, however.
> > 
> > We will not impose any license but rather have some criteria and
> > requirements (free redistribution for ex.)
> 
> We already have this free redistribution requirement.
> > 
> > And if you don't like "LDP", just remember netscape/mozilla : it's
> > written LDP but it reads GNU Linux Documentation Project.
> > 
> >                                 *
> > 
> > Writing documentation is not as sexy as writing software
> > (To quote a slashdotter, "Honestly, how many users want to read
> > documentation? How many of them see a fat manual and feel happy?")
> 
> I would not say this.  Documentation is talking directly to the reader
> and thus may merit as much fan mail as software authors get.

That doesn't seem like rationale for not saying it, but rather rationale for
disagreeing with it.  The idea here is that it's harder to find people to
write docs than it is to write software.  If you compare the ammount of Open
Source (or whatever term you use) software to the ammount of Open Source
documentation, I you'll notice a huge discrepancy.  This isn't to say that
there isn't any, but just to say that there is far less than there is of
software.

> 
> > 
> > We do need more authors. Unfortunately, not everyone can be a good
> > author. It requires a combination of writing skills, technical
> > knowledge, and the willingness to accept criticism that 
> improves your
> > final product.  Thank you all for your responses--we hope that you
> > continue to let us know your opinions on the LDP.
> 
> Are not most authors willing to accept reasonable suggestions and
> constructive criticism?  I've never gotten any hostile criticism yet.
> Also, the above might tend to scare away some potentially good
> authors.  For example, one could take over the maintenance of an
> existing doc without a thorough technical knowledge of the subject.
> Then one could improve their technical knowledge by feedback from
> readers, surfing the web, reading parts of books, etc.  We can accept
> below-average writers and help them become above-average writers.

I would expect that most authors are willing to accept good critism, but we
want to make sure that potential new authors are aware that they will get
critism, and sometimes they'll get people just bashing their docs.  I can't
comment on what the linux community does for documentation, since I don't
have any right now, but I haven't gotten any flames on my other free docs.
I think that without a pretty decent understanding of a technical subject
before you can write a document on it.  If someone wants to take over a
document, they should already have read that document, and done plenty of
research on the web and usenet.  After they've learned about it, then they
should look at taking over the "un-maintained" one.  We can certainly take
below average writers and help them become better, but I don't think they
should be taking over a document until they know what they're doing.
Thanks,
        Greg


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