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From "Dennis E. Hamilton" <>
Subject RE: Is it time to shut down this effort?
Date Sun, 24 Jul 2016 15:46:31 GMT

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Keith N. McKenna []
> Sent: Saturday, July 23, 2016 18:24
> To:
> Subject: Re: Is it time to shut down this effort?
> Dennis E. Hamilton wrote:
> > [BCC dev@ (really, this time)]
> >
> >> -----Original Message-----
> >> From: Keith N. McKenna []
> >> Sent: Saturday, July 23, 2016 10:28
> >> To:
> >> Subject: Re: Is it time to shut down this effort?
> >>
> >> Dennis E. Hamilton wrote:
> >>> [BCC dev@]
> >>>
> >>> Please be specific about what you mean by "this effort."
> >>>
> >>> The current documentation approach is to develop materials on the
> >> MediaWiki.  This wiki is typical in that it operates like an open-
> source
> >> project with commit then review (although there is a nice "Discuss"
> >> feature).
> >>>
> >>> If you mean the particular approach to reviewing and approving pages
> >> and having a kind of editor-in-chief, please say so.
> >>>
> >>>  - Dennis
> >>>
> >>>> -----Original Message-----
> >>>> From: Keith N. McKenna []
> >>>> Sent: Friday, July 22, 2016 20:36
> >>>> To:
> >>>> Subject: Is it time to shut down this effort?
> >>>>
> >>>> My answer to the question posed in the tittle of this e-mail
> >>>> unfortunately is yes. We have been moving by fits and starts for
> >> almost
> >>>> 4 years and have very little to show for it. I would like to hear
> the
> >>>> opinions of others though.
> >>>>
> >>>> Keith
> >>>>
> >> Dennis;
> >>
> >> This mailing list came into existence to coordinate the development
> of
> >> documentation for Version 4 under the Apache License. There never was
> >> and was never intended to be an editor-in-chief. For a lot of reasons
> >> this particular effort has produced a very limited amount of usable
> >> documentation.
> >>
> >> My personal feeling is that it should be recognized that it is not
> doing
> >> what it was intended to and either retired or reconstituted in a
> >> different form.
> >>
> >> I think that my personal position is pretty obvious from my original
> >> message and I wanted to solicit comment from other participants.
> > [orcmid]
> >
> > I am still unclear on what it means to "shut down this effort."
> >
> > Close the doc@ list?
> >
> > What action do you have in mind that would result in a shut down?
> >
> > Also, perhaps a broader request for assistance in documentation is
> called for.  This might go with the adjustments just made to the
> download page.  And there are lists (and the Community Forum) where
> power users might be encouraged to contribute to documentation on the
> wiki.
> >
> > The nice thing about the documentation is that there is always room
> for additions and improvements. Whatever there is at the moment is what
> there is.  Positive effort is not wasted.
> >
> >>
> >> Regards
> >> Keith
> Dennis;
> I specifically did not bring this to the dev list because I wanted to
> illicit responses from the members of the documentation list as to their
> thoughts before I came to the dev list with a concrete proposal. Since
> you insist on bringing it here I will bow to your insistence and express
> my thoughts her.

Keith, I think there is a misunderstanding about the purpose of the dev@ list.  It is the
place to work something out in the community that involves all of the stakeholders.

The reason for my BCC (and not CC: cross-posting) was so the conversation could remain on
doc@ but dev@ could participate, appreciating that there are participants on doc@ that are
not on dev@. 
So I failed at that, since the conversation has moved completely to dev@.  It's a weekend,
so we perhaps should not make too much about the fact of complete silence on doc@ so far [;<).
As you've seen already, there is discussion energy on dev@.  That there is a diversity of
opinion and there are differences is not a bad thing.  And remember, "don't feed the trolls."

It may well be that the doc@ list is not needed.  Perhaps the way for writers to communicate
is in the wiki structure itself.  We have the community wiki and we have the MediaWiki as
avenues for that although I am uncertain how comfortable technical writers are with a wiki
as a tumultuous open-source writing experience with distributed participants. 

 - Dennis

> It is very simple. The documentation list serves no purpose and should
> be closed down. We have tried numerous times to generate more interest
> in gaining volunteers to help with documentation to no avail. Your board
> reports have succinctly stated that the "documentation effort" is
> stalled. Trying to get more people is doomed to failure unless we can
> attract experienced tech writers that are willing to take the time to
> mentor new volunteers and to overhaul the wiki editing policy and the
> style guide to reflect current conditions and practices in the
> discipline. This has not happened and I do not see it happening in the
> future.
> It is time that we realize that writing documentation is a unique skill
> set and requires as much coaching and mentoring of new volunteers as
> does writing code. We need up to date policies and procedures on how to
> edit the wiki pages and we desperately need a coherent style guide on
> what documentation looks like. To the best of my knowledge we do not
> have anyone with the requisite skills actively engaged in the project
> that can provide those.

I agree that a technical editor with experience making these kinds of arrangements would be
of great assistance.
> Regards
> Keith

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