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Re: geekness

At 01:24 PM 5/27/00 -0700, you wrote:
>Guylhem Aznar wrote:
>>Everytime I hear people complaining of the "geekness" of LDP documents, I
>ask myself a question : what can we do?
>You can review the modification I'm making of the HOWTO HOWTO and provide
>I'm a newbie and a professional technical author, and I took on the HOWTO
>both to learn DocBook and to learn how to be an LDP author. It has the
quality of
>"geekness" in spades. You'll see what I mean when you read the modified
>So how do I put it up for comment? I don't have a web site of my own, and
I need
>some place to upload it. That's one of the geeky things you do - ask for
>to request comments and never supply a way to do it.

Hmmm, well, couldn't you e-mail your revision to the original author?

>>You need a technical background to write documentation, and we can't
>afford translators.

>Just because you have a technical background doesn't mean you can't write

I think you're as guilty of making assumptions as the technogeek authors
are when they wrote their documents. They understand the language they use,
so they assume we can too. Because you know the principles of good writing,
you assume that others can too. I spent half my life as a teacher. I
disagree. Some are just not cut out for it. And even if they could, why
should they? Wouldn't the Linux world be better off if they stuck to
geekwork and let people with better writing skills revise their documents
for them?

Besides, if Linux is anything, it is a community effort. Having many hands
stirring the stew is the strength and beauty of Linux.

>>Maybe should we ask newbies a hand to translate our documents to common
>I'm going to give you a bigger hand: an outline of how to write. You're
far too
>focused on the mechanics of SGML to the extent that you concentrate on
>rather than what your readers need.                               George S. 

I don't see anything wrong with having someone volunteer to do nothing more
than do the SGML coding. I certainly know zero about SGML. And I have no
great desire to learn. I wouldn't want to bother using my writing skills to
modify an LDP document if I had to learn SGML to do so.

I think all the problems can be worked out. I don't think there is one
solution that fits every document in the LDP. Some may be OK as they are.
Others may need more work. That work can be done by the original author, by
a newbie, by both as a team, or any other combination. Ditto for new
documents being created.

I do like the idea of enlisting the newbies. The more I think about it, the
more I like this notion. It gives them a sense of belonging to the club, if
nothing else. And you can't ask for anyone better able to target the
writing to the newbie reader. 

Perhaps a little advertising for newbies would produce some results --

"Do you have good writing skills? Are you a newcomer to Linux? The LDP
needs YOU!" Put that on the LDP home page, or any other Linux site that is
frequented by newbies. Considering the number of newcomers every month,
you'll probably get more responses than you need.

OK, now I'm rambling. I'm definitely going to shut up now. :)

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