Re: "...the list"

Michael Sattler, San Francisco (msattler@jungle.com)
Fri, 16 Dec 1994 13:38:32 -0500


At 00:12 12/16/94, Gary Vankirk wrote:
>
>I think Stan Boris' idea of periodic mailing of the FAQ is a good one, but
>only if someone is willing to commit the time to keep it up to date.

Got that.

>Perhaps an up-to-date FAQ could be automatically mailed to new subscribers,
>this might cut down on rehashing stuff for the "newbies" (like me). I read
>the FAQ from the Cornell ftp-site, but things have come a long way since
>that document was created.

Hmmmmmm. Perhaps we could mail a pointer to the web site as part of the
"Welcome to the CU-* Mailing List". Dick? Joanne?

>I understand that Michael Sattler has put an
>up-to-date FAQ on the WWW, but some users (again,like me) seldom have time
>to actually plug into the Net.

I don't get this. Each time you use CU-SeeMe you "plug into the Net." Any
user who has the desire and sophistication to consider using CU-SeeMe has
the wherewithall to fire up a web browser to read a living, dynamic,
on-line document. Just as most of us don't download the READ-ME each time
we get a new version, you don't have to access the web site on a daily
basis. Only when you need up-to-date information.

>I work mostly over a modem and mail is the
>most viable medium for me, I haven't opened Mosaic in over a month. I don't
>think you can expect people to go to a WWW site, not that it's unreasonable
>to think that people will use it, but unrealistic to expect them to.

I've worked in the software industry for thirteen years now; I don't expect
people to read the supporting documentation that came in the box. Tim and
I have taken on the effort of making it available for them to read and for
you, the regulars, to say "That's a FAQ. Look at..."

>I prefer to live in a world where it's OK to ask a "stupid" question
>without being told it's a stupid question, even if sometimes they're being
>asked of me.

Agreed, without reservations. The beauty of having a central resource you
can point people to is (1) you spend less time typing the same message
again and again, and (2) people begin to get the idea that maybe it's in
the FAQ. It's not uncommon on many USENET newsgroups to have the FAQ
available at a central location (rtfm.mit.edu) or posted frequently. If I
believed a straight text document (or even a Microsoft Word document) would
be the best and most useful medium for instructing newbies and keeping
regulars informed of changes, I would have done it that way.

But given Tim's vision of searchable archives of our messages, available
soon from the same web site, it seems appropriate to use the net to assist
users of a net-based app. If someone doesn't want to read the FAQ, I can't
stop them from posting the top ten beginning questions, but I can try and
do something positive to give us more time to play and give them more
satisfaction at seeing the complete answers (as generated by us, the
CU-SeeMe community).

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Michael Sattler <msattler@jungle.com> San Francisco, California |
Digital Jungle Consulting Services http://www.indstate.edu/msattler/ |
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