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Re: Authorship

On Fri, 02 Jun 2000, Gary Preckshot wrote:
> Mark, you're getting some good feedback from new authors. David Merrill, Joe
> Cooper, and Arnault Claden just told you that they're having real problems
> getting the tools working. These are not old hands, but new authors whose
> feedback is invaluable in determining how useful your howto is to the intended
> audience. I'm just the most vocal of the set. I also used what worked for me.
> There's a real need for identifying sets of tools that work well together and
> also the use of DocBook as LDP prefers it. In short, your howto stands at the
> crux of becoming the prime policy document of the LDP, at least as far as
> incoming authors are concerned.

Okay, I'm going to attempt to get my tools up and running this weekend,
starting tomorrow afternoon. I'll go through the required steps one by one, and
report feedback to the group as to my success or failure. I'll keep notes on
what I do, any errors or omissions I find in the HOWTO, and any other
suggestions and/or criticisms that occur to me. Hopefully, this will be a good
research project into the HOWTO's helpfulness.

As an observation: the HOWTO-HOWTO will probably get a lot of reader feedback,
because many readers will join this list, as I did. We are a captive audience.
By addressing the difficulties that we encounter even with the HOWTO, you
should be able to make it better and better.

Mark, I wonder if you expected it to turn into such a major project. Thank you
for writing it.

BTW, I'm assuming that the currently posted HOWTO-HOWTO includes all of your
latest changes.   

> I don't think it would be a good thing to fragment the HOWTO-HOWTO into a bunch
> of little topical howtos.
> 1) It sends new authors all over the place when they should have "one stop
> shopping".

This is especially problematic in dead tree format. In HTML, links make going
"all over the place" pretty easy, and one could argue that it is exactly what
the web was designed to enable.

However, nobody suggested breaking it up into "a bunch of little topical
howtos." Tony only suggested separating the DocBook tools information. It is
legitimate to question what information is appropriate in the HOWTO-HOWTO, and
what belongs elsewhere. I think it's safe to assume that information would only
receive its own HOWTO if it was large enough to warrant it. Tony just said that
"figuring out how to set up the tools is complex enough to warrant it's own
HOWTO." If setting up Apache, or a firewall, or a cluster are given HOWTOs,
then why not setting up a DocBook environment? The only question is whether or
not the subject matter is large enough to warrant it, and from what I've seen,
it is.

Brings up a question, though: how do you link into another HOWTO? It would be
nice to be able to link directly into HOWTOs when you reference them. This
could even be used to generate a topical index for the entire LDP, or to link
to glossary items. I imagine direct links to Jargon file entries as a
possibility. Is something of this nature a possibility, or are there issues I'm
not seeing?

Is this something that should go into the HOWTO?

> 2) It defuses the responsibility for a coherent policy to several squabbling
> authors.

I don't understand this. What does "diffuses(sp?) the responsibility for a
coherent policy" mean?

Most of the conversation has been well reasoned, even if occasionally
rough-and-tumble, occasional flame excepted. As long as the arguments are on
the issues and not personalities, that's ok. "Squabbling" is perjorative.

> 3) It avoids the issues.

If the issue is how to organize and structure information in the LDP, and I
think it is, it addresses the issue. Is there some other issue?

David Merrill

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