[Mailman-Users] Custom Sign-Up Form

stephen at xemacs.org stephen at xemacs.org
Tue Oct 17 08:24:42 CEST 2006

Lindsay Haisley writes:
 > Thus spake Brad Knowles on Mon, Oct 16, 2006 at 06:11:28PM CDT
 > > At 8:03 PM +0200 10/16/06, Zbigniew Szalbot wrote:
 > > 
 > > >  Using this opportunity, has anyone thought of really making all these
 > > >  pages simpler, less jargon-free and more understandable for a typical,
 > > >  non-technical user?

 > > That's a wonderful idea.  However, since most of the people who 
 > > contribute to these efforts are people who've been around for a while 
 > > and who understand the importance of things like reading the FAQs, 
 > > this is kind of a self-selecting community.

 > > If you could provide some contributions in this area, that would
 > > be wonderful.

 > Anyone that does this kind of thing is a saint!  One of my big
 > beefs with a whole lot of open source software is that it's written
 > by, for and about geeks....  I have to re-work stuff a lot.

So it's not all about geeks after all: it's about anybody who can
write, code *or words*!  The geeks just got there first by writing the

 > For a project I'm working on I just de-geeked the Namazu search
 > engine example page, which used Emacs, FreeBSD and other techie
 > terms as search word examples.  I replaced all the geek words with
 > fruits and vegetables.  Everyone understands fruits and vegetables
 > ;-)

This is a *great* example of what to do.

I'm afraid that de-tech'ing the Mailman FAQ, however, is an example of
what *not* to do.  I think it should by and large *stay* techie.  If
you get referred to the Mailman FAQ, you are probably a list admin
with a problem.  In my experience, Mailman does very well at getting
the straightforword stuff right.  So if you do have a problem, it's
probably not straightforward.

Furthermore, email is a large complex system that is *fundamentally*
dependent on standards, which are inherently techie territory.

Sure, the FAQ could be improved.  But it seems to me that there's no
shortage of help available for admins on the list, if you look at the
FAQ but don't understand it.  I think effort in this area would be
better directed to adding more of the same quality stuff to the FAQ,
and improving the user pages and providing more examples etc that are
available with one click from the point where users are likely to get

IMHO, YMMV, etc.

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