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Re: Permission to submit HOWTO

On Sat, 10 Jun 2000, Gary Preckshot wrote:

> 5) because of rugged individualists using straight
> text editors to write SGML manually, there's a
> move afoot to use a non-standard version of
> DocBook without many end tags and reduced nesting.

Unfortunately, your logic is worth about as much as your opinions, Gary.
The tortuous way in which *your* mind works is not true for everybody. 
So could you please adapt your cynicism to _constructive_ comment in

Relating what writing tool is being used to produce text, to a writer's
understanding of how SGML functions, is quite simply a non-sequitur.

You, of all people, should know that writers use *whatever* tool
suits _their_ working habits best, even if it's ill-suited to the _job_ 
in hand.
But you'll not change them.  So probably you shouldn't even try.

As for learning the ins and outs of SGML markup, and the SGML
"philosophy" -- in my estimation the LDP is doing a very good job
in producing a global team of text editors who are self-trained in the
subject.  No-one else is going to do it -- so help 'em get there; don't
knock 'em down on the way.  Levels of competence within the group go
from highly skilled to total novice, and we must all learn to live
and cope with that fact.  And help where we can.

Snide remarks to writers on which editing tools are `best' to use are
_guaranteed_ to start flame wars.  Helpful comments provoke healthy
discussion in which members of a group help each other move forward --
not slag each other off. (Sure it isn't some macho attempt to display
more peacock feathers than anyone else?)

*Many* of the semi-automated markup editors you would advocate permit
"cross-nesting" of tags; of those which don't, many take longer to learn
to use than does learning a handful of tags on which to build future
competence in learning the full set.  Almost all would require a
graphical user interface.
[Personally, I use emacs + psgml.  Most of the time.  But I am also
capable of Q&D manual editing under filerunner, if I have to. Or
pico. Or vi (which I loathe and detest). Or whatever comes to hand.
And I am also *ferocious* about sloppy markup.  Even in HTML.]
Everyone to their own liking.

I would venture to suggest that those writers who don't see the danger
in not using both start and end tags are currently blind to the
knock-on effects further down the text-processing chain -- not lazy, as
you suggest.  If you feel so strongly about editing techniques and 
methods, have you not then thought about producing an SGML Editing-Tools
HOWTO of your own?  Where you can let rip with your personal views on
what constitutes `good' and `bad' technique?

This is a self-organising community -- there IS NO management to bitch
at.  That's worth remembering.  Responsibility is there for whoever
wishes to assume it.  Responsibly.

Martin Wheeler         -         StarTEXT - Glastonbury - BA6 9PH - England
[1] mwheeler@startext.co.uk                      http://www.startext.co.uk/
[2] mwheeler@startext.f9.co.uk

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