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From "Sean Dockery" <>
Subject Re: FAQ (was Re: MY ATTIT...)
Date Tue, 11 Feb 2003 22:50:45 GMT
The simple fact is that people post questions because they lack answers to
those questions.  They lack answers because they can't be bothered to invest
time in searching for those answers (i.e.: won't RTFM) or perhaps just don't
know where to look for those answers.

The ASF web sites are great, but the documentation sometimes assumes that
the readers have attained a level of expertise that perhaps they haven't.
The largest problem I experience when reading through ASF documentation is
that must of it is written from a technical reference stand point.  It is
the difference between knowing how to do a thing and knowing what (and why)
things must be done.  I am not knocking ASF efforts;

The FAQ (as I am imagining it) does not merely have to be about answering
questions; it could be a platform which can be leveraged to find out where
to go get answers.  Many of the responses in the newsgroup are currently
instructions about going to this web site or that web site to read a given
document.  There are several dozen HOW-TO resources on the ASF web sites and
elsewhere that should be referenced and leveraged.

Having a FAQ isn't necessarily redundant.  I personally like to purchase two
or even three technical books on a particular subject so that if one of the
authors explains something awkwardly or inadequately, I can look to another
author's explanation to gain a richer understanding.

I do not believe that ignoring people who post questions which are off topic
is the way.  The mailing list would be moderated if that view were
prevalent.  (People who blatantly abuse guidelines after they have been
instructed on them can be ignored, however.  Ignoring posts is one common
method by which list members can punish repeat guideline offenders.)  On the
other hand, having a focused resource might avoid 2 or 3 out of 10
questions--depending on how easy it is to search the FAQ and how
comprehensive the answers are.

The specific issues for me about writing a FAQ is that writing effectively
isn't always easy.  If the deliverable is expected to be worth it, I expect
the time commitment for such an endeavor would be daunting, too.

Do I know answers to question that are posted on the mailing list?  Yes, I
know a lot of the answers.  For the answers I don't know, I often have a
resource at my fingertips in which I can easily find the answer.  Do I want
to help people?  Yes, I do.  I revel in learning things and teaching things.
I also hope that I am earning some level of recognition in the community
through answering questions.  That is to say, I am still vainly seeking
elements associated with level four of Maslow's hierarchy of needs.  :-)

Perhaps efforts spent composing a FAQ might be better spent on contributing
to existing documentation such as the Tomcat book project.
(  I haven't decided what I'm going to do
either way.

What other projects exist does anyone know of that could use a leg up?

If having people follow the mailing guidelines is important, lobby to have
the guidelines page link added to the mailing list footer.

PS:  I do not consider this message to be off topic as it discusses Tomcat
documentation--which is directly relevant to Tomcat implementers,
administrators, and web application developers.

Sean Dockery
Certified Java Web Component Developer
Certified Delphi Programmer
SBD Consultants

----- Original Message -----
From: "Bill" <>
To: "Tomcat Users List" <>
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2003 13:21
Subject: Re: FAQ (was Re: MY ATTIT...)

> Wouldnt it be sufficient for the users of this list to simply stop
> replying to people when they do not follow the very simple set of rules
> set out on the apache website?
> I personally dont feel we should be catering to people who so obviously
> are making no attempt to conform to proper list usage.  If people
> stopped replying to questions that were not appropriate to the list,
> these people would eventually get fed up and leave.  At worst, they
> start posting tons of flames to the list which is already happening
> anyway.
> Mr Burris for instance has been told by several members of the list,
> that this is not the appropriate forum for JSP/java yet many of the same
> people who have given him this response still continue to answer his
> questions.  This shouldnt happen.
> Some might think this a harsh way to deal with the problem since it may
> mean that some newbies will not get the proper help.  However, if they
> followed the directions for subscribing to the list, then they should
> have read, and shouldnt be
> having these sorts of problems. If they didnt take the time to read it,
> tough.
> On Tue, 2003-02-11 at 13:25, Sean Dockery wrote:
> > I'll think about it.  :-)
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "Tim Moore" <>
> > To: "Tomcat Users List" <>
> > Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 09:43
> > Subject: RE: FAQ (was Re: MY ATTIT...)
> >
> >
> > Well AFAIK nobody's written one.  Do I hear a volunteer? ;-)
> >
> > --
> > Tim Moore / Blackboard Inc. / Software Engineer
> > 1899 L Street, NW / 5th Floor / Washington, DC 20036
> > Phone 202-463-4860 ext. 258 / Fax 202-463-4863
> >
> >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: Sean Dockery []
> > > Sent: Tuesday, February 11, 2003 10:38 AM
> > > To: Tomcat Users List
> > > Subject: FAQ (was Re: MY ATTIT...)
> > >
> > >
> > > I am surprised that there isn't a FAQ that is circulated
> > > periodically--such as those automatically reposted to USENET
> > > newsgroups.  Or perhaps a more formal document that comes out
> > > of
> > >
> > > Comments?
> > >
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