Re: The book list
At 04:45 PM 11/16/98 +0100, Ole J. Tetlie wrote:
>*-Nils Lohner <email@example.com>
>| I'd keep it objective... commenting on 'good' and 'bad' doesn't really get
>| us anything and may ruffle some feathers...
>I would tend to agree. Those examples weren't very good. :-)
OBJECTIFY THE SUBJECTIVE
How about objectifying the subjective, by creating a polling mechanism.
Existing consumers could "vote" on whether the book is excellent, good or fair.
On important issue is that most books have a few excellent chapters and a
lot of mediocre chapters. If I am dealing with mail transport, I want
books with excellent coverage of the topic of interest.
This brings up additional subjective factors that are very useful. What
percent of the book is devoted to topic areas? Is the book suitable for a
beginner, experienced or expert reader? For example, it would be helpful
to find a book that has 20% or more coverage on mail transport, at the
"experienced" or "expert" level.
Maybe, rather than trying to objectify the subjective, it might be better
to simply provide a "Reader Comments" page associated with each book where
readers could enter their comments (perhaps in descending date sequence).
Maybe this could be implemented with each book having an attached FAQ
maintained via FAQ-o-matic. As long as anonymous comments were not
allowed, things should remain civil. The book's author can always be
invited to add rebuttal comments to the books "FAQ".
When you get ready for input, if you will post a Template (SGML or HTML)
for the Book Review, I will send you my information. If you provide a
block for my subjective comments, I will gladly provide my opinion.
I would think this notion of the Book List maintainer providing the
acceptable template would make the merging task easier. From my
perspective it would be handy if the Template were stored on the Book List
web page so that I can drag it via the clipboard into my email text area.
I don't know if it is customary, but it makes sense to me that an email
address be setup (perhaps even a listserv) that receives all the Book
Review input. Presumably a person willing to submit a book review would
first check-out the Book List site before submitting a review.
It seems to me that the Dictionary, the Book List, the Tip List and most
documentation that is in the form of a List, lends itself quite nicely to
automation. Are there existing free software products that can be applied
to build self-maintaining web List books? I haven't seen this exact thing
done but lots of web sites seem to be heading in this direction.
I don't want to start a holy war. Assuming suitable On-line Book List
creation software doesn't exist. If I were interested in writing a "proof
of concept" product, would I be smartest to use Perl, Guile, etc. Let me
explain why I am asking this question. I assume that most of the pieces
necessary to automate these Lists already exists and that all I would have
to do is gather up a bunch or already written pieces and stitch them
together. Given the focus and the experience of the debian-docs
maintainers, in what language am I most likely to find the necessary
pieces, already written?
I believe the Template should have a standard copyright notice block
placing the Book Review submission under the GPL (or LGPL if mixing with
non-copyleft is desired). I believe the Book List should refuse to post
Book Reviews that are improperly licensed.
Copyright(c) 1998 Lyno Sullivan; this work is free and may be
copied, modified and distributed under the GNU Library General
Public License (LGPL) <http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/lgpl.html> and
it comes with absolutely NO WARRANTY; mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org