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Re: volunteer

On Sun, May 21, 2000 at 11:11:24PM -0500, w trillich wrote:
> 1)tinker with the debian.org web pages to make it more
>   difficult for newbies to NOT find what they're
>   looking for. examples:

I like what you mention under here.  Not that I'm any kind of expert or
experience debian developer type, but it all sounds like common sense to
me.  I believe the correct thing to do is check out the website source
(which is under /ddp/wml or some such place on the CVS server;
instructions for accessing the CVS server are under "developers corner"
on the website), make your changes (it's all in WML, the Web Meta
Language, not HTML), and submit patches to the debian-www list.

>         - languages available (use nationality flag icons)

Nationality flag items is a bad idea, from what I've heard in numerous
discussions in the usability field.  What flag do you use for "English"?
The Union Jack?  Most USAians don't associate that immediately, nor do I
(for instance) as an Australian.  What about countries with more than
one language?

Better is to use the languages' own names for their languages, eg
English/Francais/Deutsch/etc.  I believe that's what's already there.

>             [need to fix "??????? ?? (GB) ?? (Big5) 
>             ??? ??? Dansk..." regardless]

I imagine that if you don't know the language's own name for itself,
using English names is probably the best bet.  So these should probably
be "Russian", "Korean", etc.  Part of the problem here is character
sets; an interim measure might be to use a romanicised version of the
foreign name.   I believe most non-Roman alphabets have heuristics for
mapping their character sets to ours when necessary.  I know that, for
instance, Japanese, Chinese and Vietnamese do.

>     d. have the right column remain news-like

I dislike the three-column style of web design, but that's just a
personal preference.

> i think it's safe to assume that the more-knowledgeable
> folk have less trouble navigating, so we can put their
> stuff further down in the hierarchy or at least further
> down on the page, giving ease-of-discovery precedence
> to the new/prospective users of debian/linux.

I'd be happy for the "developers corner" link to be al lthe developer
stuff that's linked from the front page.

> online html documentation must be updated so that any 
> reference to 'currently' is replaced with 'as of xx/yy/zz' 
> to reduce misinformation--such as the outdated comment 
> that "hamm (2.0) is the current debian release."

I agree.  If you find something that has this, submit a bug via the bug
tracking system (see http://debian.org/Bugs/ I believe).

> 2) start on a script (perl? shell? locally-served cgi?) 
> called, perhaps, "NEWBIE" that'll take any number of arguments 
> and scan the local newbie's system for
>         - locate <xyz>
>         - apropos <xyz>
>         - man <xyz>
>         - info <xyz>
>         - /usr/{share/,}doc/<xyz>{,-doc}/*
>         - http://www.*.debian.org/doc/<xyz>
>         - /var/cache/apt/*
>         - dpkg -S / dpkg -L
>         - iterate thru $PATH to find matching commands
>         - other suggestions?
> and display command options to display the documentation sought.

There's a discussion about pointers to documentation going on on
debian-devel at the moment.  I think it should probably also be on
debian-doc... I'll try and Cc it over here.

I don't think your idea of a script is appropriate, however. I'll have
to think a bit to explain why I don't like it, but my version 0.1
argument is that it gives new users yet another command to use to find
help, and one that's system dependent (unless you can convince the
appropriate people that such a command would be "required" by the
system, and even then that only covers Debian).  I'd rather make sure
that common starting points (the Debian website, manual pages,
/usr/share/doc/) have pointers to all the right information, and that
that information is, at least in part, goal-focussed and written with 
the end-user in mind. 


Kirrily Robert -- <skud@netizen.com.au> -- http://netizen.com.au/
Internet and Open Source Development, Consulting and Training
Level 13, 500 Collins St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone: +61 3 9614 0949  Fax +61 3 9614 0948

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