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RE: Authorship

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mark Komarinski []
> Sent: Thursday, June 01, 2000 8:39 AM
> To: Pal Domokos
> Cc: ldp-discuss@lists.linuxdoc.org
> Subject: Re: Authorship
> Arright.  Enough talking about me as if I'm not here.

Apologizies if you got that impression from me.  We're just trying to hash
out issues and find the best course.

> My other problem is lack of information from the LDP 
> heirarchy.  Perhaps I'm
> not reading my e-mails enough.  I don't know.  The last I heard about
> mini-HOWTOs was that they'd be accepted in SGML or HTML.  I was never
> informed that the minis are being converted into full HOWTOs. 
>  I'd like
> to request that the powers-that-be explicitly cc: me for any policy
> changes so I can quickly document them and clear any confusion.

I'd like to appologize specifically for some of that.  We've had several
long, long, long discussions about merging the minis into the HOWTOs, and it
was my understanding that this was "going to happen", but we'd been holding
back on doing it for some reason.  Unless somebody objects to merging them,
with a good reason behind it, let's say that there aren't any mini-HOWTOs
any longer.  

As for formats, uhm, scary to open that can again.  Anyway, I think we need
to start a review process for NEW documents that could become part of the
LDP collection.  They propose writing their doc and all that Jazz on the
list, then go write it unless somebody else is/has done so.  When it's done,
they send a draft of it to the LDP-Submit list, in Any-Old-Format (tm).
Anybody who has the time and inclination replies to the list, saying that
they're going to take a look at the doc.  We give them a few days to take a
look and make sure that the document is acurate, and isn't written without
punctuation or capitalization.  Any changes proposed by our reviewers should
get sent to the author, and after a few days they can say "ok, I got this
feedback from the nice LDP volunteers, and make some changes".  This is the
version that will become part of the LDP's collection.  They can submit it
in any format for this initial version.  We'll encourage authors to write
the DocBook version on their own, but if they decide that they cannot do
that, we'll ask LDP and/or OSWG groups for someone to translate that to
DocBook.  Once the translation is done, it should not be hard for the author
to continue to use DocBook for future updates, and they should do so.  I
think that this gets us the best of both worlds, allowing people to easily
write documents without learning extensive new skills, and allows us to keep
DocBook as the format for our HOWTOs, giving us much greater capabilities
with them.  As the author updates their HOWTO, they may have markup
questions.  These should either be directed to the person who helped
translate from their original doc into DocBook, or to the LDP-Docbook list,
perhaps along with a section that they've updated.  This will allow them to
learn DocBook at their own pace, and will keep the documents meaningful.  

> Pal Domokos wrote:
> > 
> > Hi Gary and everybody,
> > 
> > Just a couple of notes to the main points (>> is Gary's, 
> >>> is Pal's):
> >[...]
> > 
> > I was talking about potential HOWTO authors. You are 
> talking about potential
> > HOWTO readers.
> The HOWTO-HOWTO has to make a few assumptions:
> 1)  The reader knows Linux (regular HOWTO authors do not have 
> this assumption)

Absolutely valid.  If they don't know anything about Linux, how can they be
writing a document that tells how to do something using Linux?

> 2)  The author doesn't know much about SGML or the tools to 
> create SGML.

Sounds good, but not going to be 100% true.  They could be reading the
HOWTO-HOWTO to get infomation about the conventions that we use, or about
how to get their document into CVS.  Definately should be in it's own
section, with a note in the readers guide about it.

> 3)  *big assumption*  The author wants to use Linux - meaning a
> large preference towards open-source or Linux-based tools.

Hmm...  From talking to one of our authors, this isn't necessarily true
either.  Not everybody is "into" Linux.  (You know who are, can I name
names?)  They may use Linux for task X, because it's the best possible way
to do task X.  They may use some other OS do to task Y, because Linux is
ill-suited to that, or because the other OS/tool is so much better suited to
it than Linux is.  I'll be happy to bow to majority opinion here, but I've
only hear 4 arguments (including mine), two on each side.

> Things got complicated because many of the tools had to change.  We're
> smack in the middle of the crossover from LinuxDoc to 
> DocBook.  Authors
> are everywhere trying to figure out what tools to install, how to use
> them, and what all these new tags are.  I'm trying, but I'm like the
> teacher that has to learn all about organic chemistry the day
> before you teach it in class.
> I'm not an expert in SGML or DocBook, nor did I ever claim I 
> was.  My history
> section has said from the beginning:
> This document was started on Aug 26, 1999 by Mark F. 
> Komarinski after two day's 
> worth of frustration getting tools to work. If even one LDP 
> author is helped
> by this, then I did my job. 
> I think I did my job.

And I'd have to agree.  You've been very helpful and open to comments from
what I've seen and heard.  I don't know what I'd do if I got some document
of mine re-written by somebody.  I'll stop here since I can't remember where
I was going to go.  Thanks to all, especially Mark for getting us going, and
Gary for bitching about every little damn thing.  :-)

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