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From "Craig R. McClanahan" <>
Subject Re: ~rant~ Docs, user list, etc.
Date Thu, 14 Jun 2001 16:29:44 GMT

On Thu, 14 Jun 2001, Robert Slifka wrote:

> I've only recently re-subscibed to the user list, but so far, since last
> summer, the average quality of question seems way down.  I guess it's a
> testament to Tomcat's increasing popularity.  People think, "oh, Tomcat!"
> then they come here and email to the user list, "How do i install and
> configure Tomcat?"  I'm sure the committers get this all the time, but in
> 2-3 days of answering questions, I've started to get personal emails as
> well!
> Rather than continue to bludgeon people with documentation they refuse to
> read (as one poster writes, "...hence i would like to get your ideas rather
> than just reading through the docs") is there something else that can be
> done?
> Maybe more mailing lists than just user?  tomcat-apache, tomcat-install,
> etc.?
> Or maybe a configuration validation program that does more than just check
> syntax (a la httpd's)?
> I'm trying to take some intiative here, but I've been out of the loop since
> Oct 2000 or so =)
> Thoughts anyone?
> - r

I've definitely gone through the same emotions w.r.t. the TOMCAT-USER
mailing list.  However, I'm not sure that splitting it into multiple lists
would really help things.  Consider:

* Some users already don't read the web site description of what
  each list is for, and try to ask newbie questions on TOMCAT-DEV.
  You're going to end up getting any question the user wants to ask
  on any of the lists.

* From the point of view of someone willing to answer questions (at
  least once in a while), that would just give me three lists to
  scan instead of one.

* Since TOMCAT-USER is archived in various places, it's easier to
  point people at a single archive of a larger list to be searched,
  instead of telling them "search the tomcat-apache archive, but there
  were also some answers to this question on tomcat-install".

Better docs would help.  Better external resources (magazine articles and
books) would help.  Software that is easier to configure would help.  But
users will always be with us, and need their questions answered :-).

Volunteers to do any or all of the above are welcome -- the committers
will be eternally grateful!

Craig McClanahan

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