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From Rick Moen <r...@linuxmafia.com>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] Please fix http://httpd.apache.org/userslist.html
Date Sun, 21 Mar 2004 18:39:22 GMT
Quoting Joshua Slive (joshua@slive.ca):

> [Top-posting to retain whole thread... See below.]

I've temporarily joined docs@ , but am no longer on users@, and so have
snipped that address for this reply.


Hi, Joshua.  Sorry about breaking threading (and going off-list), but I
was only on httpd-users long enough to post my request.  Greetings from
Austrian-ruled California.

> I really don't remember your name being there originally.  Has the
> authorship changed over time?

The authorship hasn't, but the listing of authors has.  Eric and I
originally were working on separate projects to write such an essay and
then joined forces.  Having been the one to code the DocBook SGML, Eric
(perhaps a bit oddly) at first listed only his own name as author.  The
essay remained that way for about its first year of existence, during
which time I repeatedly had people quote _my own text_ to me, in my own
very distinctive writing style.  (If you discern two different "voices"
in the essay, as I can, that's why.)

I mentioned to Eric several times how extremely annoying it was, when
that happened.  He kept saying it was impractical to hack the DocBook
stylesheet to support two author credits, but eventually did so.

> I do have a suggestion for you: Absolutely the first thing you see on
> your page is your email address, while the actual content (including
> disclaimer) doesn't come until you page-down about five times.  I bet at
> least 90% of the problem would go away if you simply moved your email
> address to the bottom of the page.

I'm pretty sure the reason Eric doesn't do that is that the format is
enforced by the DocBook Document Type Descriptions (DTDs).  However, you
could link, instead, to my pure-HTML version of the essay, at 
http://linuxmafia.com/faq/Essays/smart-questions.html , which I've
rearranged a bit (moving version history to the bottom).

Anyhow, I've just noticed that the Apache httpd Project pages I
mentioned...

http://httpd.apache.org/userslist.html
http://httpd.apache.org/usersdelist.html

...are more-or-less subpages of this text:
http://httpd.apache.org/lists.html#http-users

The latter page, thankfully, has a short-and-sweet warning to not send
questions to the author (singular) of the essay -- which is perfect,
other than (likewise) referring just to Eric as author.

So, you might want to use the warning text from _that_ page.  If you'll 
also fix the author credit there, it would be appreciated.  And you're
welcome to link to my site's rendition of the essay (URL above), if you
wish.

> It is really incredible how ... stupid ... (I can't think of a better
> word) people can be when searching for answers to a technical problem.

Yes, frankly I'm amazed at the presumption of writing to an individual
for free-of-charge technical assistance for an open-source project
maintained by a community.  Mind you, I have to deal with this sort of
idiotic behaviour _every_ time any software project, anywhere in the
world, links to the essay.  So, I hear from the cretinous element of
hundreds of software communities.  Inevitably, they see nothing wrong
with what they've done, and "just need help with one question".

It takes a great deal of forebearance to not rip the sender a new one --
though I have actually sent in formal complaints about one or two of the
verbally abusive ones, and gotten their Internet access revoked.

-- 
Cheers,     Founding member of the Hyphenation Society, a grassroots-based, 
Rick Moen   not-for-profit, locally-owned-and-operated, cooperatively-managed,
rick@linuxmafia.com     modern-American-English-usage-improvement association.

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