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From "Keith N. McKenna" <>
Subject Re: Is it time to shut down this effort?
Date Sun, 24 Jul 2016 02:09:20 GMT
Patricia Shanahan wrote:
> Should we add "Experienced lead technical writers" to the list for the
> download web page changes?
> On 7/23/2016 6:23 PM, Keith N. McKenna wrote:
>> 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
>>>>>> 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.
>> 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.
>> Regards
>> Keith

It can't hurt, but I don't see it having any more success than other
efforts that have been made over the last 4 - 5 years.


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