[Mailman-Users] Getting a Subscriber List

Roger B.A. Klorese rogerk at QueerNet.ORG
Fri Sep 22 23:39:18 CEST 2000

On Fri, 22 Sep 2000, Dave Sherohman wrote:
> While that may be true in the general case, the target audience for Mailman
> (or at least the command-line portions of it) is not general non-developer
> users.  It is system administrators.

True.  And I am a system administrator who is too busy to write code.

> Decent sysadmins are, at the very least, technically competent.  They may not
> know much about how to write code, but (in a *nix environment - again, this
> is the environment that Mailman seems to be designed for) they can at least
> recognize the rough purpose of a script by reading its source.

...but they shouldn't have to.  Yes, I occasionally look at the top 10
lines of a script rather than dig out a manual... but if there's a man
page, I look there first.

> Thus, they
> should know to try calling programs with arguments such as -?, -h, or --help
> and, if that fails, be capable of reading and understanding an explanatory
> comment block in a script, even if they know nothing about the (programming)
> language the script is written in.

Yes, but.  Again, why should we *have* to?  "You got it for free -- lower
your expectations" is an unfortunate expression of how people should
interact with Open Source software... especially since in some areas, like
quality, we get to *raise* our standards.

> I'm not saying that Mailman shouldn't have manpages (I agree that it should).
> Nor do I think that it would be bad for it to be fully and comprehensively
> documented.  However, not all software is targeted to the same audience and
> different audiences require different types and amounts of documentation.


I guess the only-slightly-exaggerated summary of my initial point was "the
command isn't fully written till its manpage is."  It was the watchword
for commercial and internal projects I've been associated with, and it's a
good one, I think.

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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