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From Leo Simons <leosim...@apache.org>
Subject Re: Interesting Anti Pattern...
Date Mon, 15 Dec 2003 11:07:35 GMT
Niclas Hedhman wrote:
> <quote src="http://www.keelframework.org/mission.shtml" >
> Anti-Pattern: Documentation Problems
> 
> The best feature of open source is also its downfall - wildly varied forms of 
> documentation, with its most important form also being its most problematical 
> - mail lists. Funny thing is, most of the time it isn't just a lack of 
> documentation, there is usually too much, and you can't find what you need 
> without going through email archives for hours at a time. 
>  
>  Solution:
>  Keel attempts to reduce documentation to javadocs, and online FAQ's editable 
> by users, such as with Wiki. Email is the big problem, and we request users 
> to not use it for documentation - if you answer a question, answer it in the 
> Wiki FAQ, and use email only to furnish a link to right place in the Wiki 
> FAQ. 
> </quote>
> 
> Do we have this problem?

yes, and I think its actually a big one throughout the software world 
(not just open source). Wikis are one form of knowledge management tool 
that can work well. I've also seen knowledge management tools with 
e-mail support; actually, I built half of one of those about a year ago. 
I think the key is finding a way to combine the free-formness of the 
wiki with the "direct communication" feel of the mailing list.

Forcing everyone to use wikis only is a problem as well: I think many 
people will not even attempt to use the project in that case.

It should be possible to "reply" to the addition of a question on a 
wiki, to be able to "comment" on wiki pages via e-mail, etc etc. I don't 
think any current wiki has an e-mail interface, though.

cheers!

- LSD



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