[Mailman-Users] Getting a Subscriber List

Roger B.A. Klorese rogerk at QueerNet.ORG
Fri Sep 22 23:06:29 CEST 2000

On Fri, 22 Sep 2000, Dan Mick wrote:
> 1) all those utilities have really obvious names (assuming English is a language you speak).
> 2) all have huge comments at the very top of the file explaining just what they do and what
>    options they take.
> 3) all give a usage message when invoked with no arguments or with -?.

Yes, they're a fairly good example of how to do this part of it.

> Well, I knew no Python when I started, and I had sense enough to look around me.
> Do you need to know the street map of a town by heart to stay our of intersections?

I'm not a programmer, and do not intend ever to be one again.  If I forget
everything there is to know about it, thaqt would be OK with me.  

You expose one of the fundamental issues at the heart of your line of
reasoning, though: the idea that user literacy has anything to do with
being able to read a single line of code.

> Like I said: if you want to rail against Open Software or complain that someone
> hasn't volunteered their time to solve your every problem, go somewhere else.

I'm not railing against Open Software, thank you.  I've used it, worked on
it, and made a living off addressing this specific deficiency: that people
don't do the whole project, or even consider that without the whole
project being delivered there is no package, but rather, do the parts they
want and assume someone else will do the "unimportant" parts like

> You didn't pay a cent for Mailman, and that gives you no right whatsoever to
> be petulant about lack of documentation.

You're confusing "free" and "free" again.  What I'm calling for is for
Open Source developers to have the discipline to know that without
documentation usable by the target non-developer user the job is not done
-- even if they don't like to do that part.

> I agree that having documentation for the utilities would be unquestionably better,
> but I find your attitude about it ungrateful and offensive in the extreme, especially
> when you try to bend a completely-different point to your own hobby-horse's purpose.

If you think that I am using this as a soapbox about a pet issue, you're
right.  If you think it's out of hostility toward Open Source, you
couldn't be more wrong.  I was serious about donating to subsidize the
documentation; I just wish people would realize that an undocumented
package, or one whose interface is user-hostile, will not reach beyond a
developer audience, and that's unfortunate.  

ROGER B.A. KLORESE                                          rogerk at QueerNet.ORG
PO Box 14309		                                San Francisco, CA 94114
"There is only one real blasphemy -- the refusal of joy!"       -- Paul Rudnick

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