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Re: Wanted: introductory page for all teams

On Tue, May 29, 2007 at 08:15:08PM -0400, David Nusinow wrote:
> > > The only thing I've ever heard about helping out with the website is that
> > > it's a herculean task that no mere mortal should attempt.
> > 
> > Where did you hear this?
> Word of mouth, usually in conjunction with promises that the site would be
> updated to not look like it came from the 90's and no visible improvements
> in that area. I'd heard about meetings at debconf/debcamps to work on this,
> and yet the site still looks almost identical to the way it did when I
> first downloaded Debian back in 1999. People said it was a big task, and if
> it was true then that would explain the lack of visible progress despite
> all the discussions.

Those kinds of things should be documented so that they can be discussed and
decided upon, otherwise it's just, well, chatter.

> > How does all that documentation we have had for years at
> > http://www.debian.org/devel/website/ in any way say or imply that
> > "helping out with the website is a herculean task that no mere mortal
> > should attempt"? How do all those relatively clueless translators who
> > simply know two languages manage to get things done? Are they all immortals?
> Translation is fundamentally different than restructuring the website and
> bringing it up to modern standards. From what I understood, one of the
> reasons why it was so hard to restructure the site was because it was
> carefully set up for easy translation, making it tied to specific tools. I
> didn't care enough to investigate further.

The translators have to learn various intricate editing methods so that they
can update stuff: version control, WML syntax, various files with different
meanings and structures, template files, separate strings in po files, etc.
Occasionally they actually have to edit the right bits in pieces of Perl
code :) So I can't help but think that the knowledge they have to acquire is
not fundamentally different to the knowledge required for someone to take
the English parts of the web site and shuffle them around.

Again, it would help if people wishing to change the English version would
articulate their thoughts clearly. (As opposed to saying "all this you
have there should be deprecated".)

> > > I trivially had access, as does everyone else on the XSF, even non-DD's,
> > > making it incredibly easy to actually do work. As far as I'm concerned,
> > > the web site should be deprecated in favor of the wiki.
> > 
> > It's not trivially easy to do, therefore it sucks?
> > 
> > What's next in this fine line of reasoning, I wonder? It doesn't have
> > a MS Windows GUI that my granny thinks is trivial, therefore it sucks?
> I don't consider my job in Debian to maintain the website. I consider my
> job to help maintain X. I've taken it upon myself to work on the XSF wiki
> pages because it's useful and important, but it's clearly a secondary
> concern to actually working on the software. Given this, anything that
> makes the job easier and more trivial so I can focus on what I consider to
> be important is a very valid reason.
> I think that any tool that lets us do this should be considered. Debian
> isn't in the website creating business, we're in the Free Software
> Distribution creating business. If a tool, like a wiki, makes it
> substantially easier for us to go about that business then yes, I think we
> should use it.

The problem there is we can't just jump to the conclusion that that
particular tool is the right one for the job.

> > Can you please realize that this kind of unsubstantiated blather actually
> > hurts the feelings of the people who are making a good-faith effort to
> > keep the web site working?
> I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings, nor am I trying to criticize
> anyone. I had heard that overhauling the website (not just keeping it
> working) was a big task, and that shouldn't be interpreted as heaping
> scorn on you or anyone else.

Well, maybe you didn't mean it that way, but the idea that all this current
work should just be deprecated in favour of some new thing doesn't seem very

Maybe it should, but all those man-hours that the hundreds of webwml
committers[1] have spent working on the problem should be acknowledged,
and all the good stuff must be carried over to the new solution,
regardless of the bad stuff which gets thrown out.

[1] currently there's 124 of us, over the years there were probably even more

     2. That which causes joy or happiness.

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