Subject Re: [IBO] Re: OT: Help files help
Author Helen Borrie
At 10:39 AM 07-02-01 +0000, you wrote:
>What I
> > not is money to pay the rent whilst I write it.
>And therein lies the crunch! I, like Christian (and I imagine many
>others), would be happy to pay in advance for your book (being fully
>aware of your knowledge and commitment), but I fear you still may not
>earn enough to make it worth your while, given the relatively small
>size of the IBO community. Have you done the sums to determine the
>breakeven point above which you could actually afford to eat again? ;)

Yes, of course. I fully intended to write this book. I chose to go
partly-employed in order to be able to do it. The prospects went AWOL on
July 25 2000...need I go into that?

>Or have you considered inviting possible purchasers to pre-register
>their interest with a deposit, to determine the real amount of

No. I've considered putting up an invitation for pledges (no CIF) to gauge
that. I'm constantly getting requests for details of where to buy the
book, those run at about 10-15 a week.

> > It's on the Agenda to review the component help over the
> > months. YOU can help us to prioritise this mammoth task by
> > sections you most want clarified. I'm the one who is collating
>stuff and
> > writing it up; and I'm also developing "IBOBase" for storing all
> > documentation, wish lists, etc.
>But this is what I feel somewhat guilty about. This type of project
>will always be limited by the amount of time that a small number of
>people are able to devote to it.

I'm being paid to collate it. Don't feel guilty - just help by submitting
your own favourite wish list items. A goodly part of writing effective
documentation is knowing what people most want to know about. If you
simply say "everything" there is no way to prioritise anything.

>I believe there are about 600
>members of this list, most of whom are probably keeping their own
>personal help notations in some form or another, as I am. Is there
>perhaps a way that this can be automated to allow the documentation
>to grow as fast as people are willing to contribute? Contributions
>could be automatically vetted by others who have a contrary view, so
>that incorrect information shouldn't be in place for very long. Or do
>you think I am under-estimating the role that human nature would play
>in this?

I wouldn't rule it out but I've had a *lot* of experience of people
undertaking to do things like this. Everyone thinks it's a great idea but
...somehow... they never get a round tuit, y'know?

I'll consider ANYTHING.

>I've fallen in love with this database rubbish, after years of
>microcontroller assembler programming, but I can't help but be struck
>by the apparent irony of hundreds (thousands?) of developers
>producing programs designed to retrieve and present information
>effectively, when our own internal information systems seem to be
>possibly lacking (though I accept this could just be my ignorance
>talking, hence the reason for this thread, to find out if there are
>better ways).

Oh, we can all design things, can't we? <g> Well, this IBOBase thing is
quietly happening in the background. Where we want to get to with it,
initially, is to give our main responders a Telnet client so they can query
the database and direct people to the appropriate FAQ entries. The FAQ you
see on the ibo site is just static, not coming out of the database at all,
really just somewhere to put a few weeks' work while I ploughed on through
the rest of the list material.

Incidentally, there's nothing worse in this exercise than people hijacking
threads. I'm often discovering valuable stuff lurking under some other
Subject, and I have to wonder what I've missed...

Well, ake, ake, ake, as we say in my homeland...gotta get back to those
FAQs. <g>


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