----- Original Message -----
From: " JamesBritt" <james / jamesbritt.com>
To: "ruby-talk ML" <ruby-talk / ruby-lang.org>
Sent: Thursday, September 05, 2002 11:21 AM
Subject: RE: Stibbsian


> > My first thoughts during the thread was that this community is able to
> > metabolize a disruptive comment and make use of it. Later contributions
by
> > Stibbs himself made me realize this guy is not rattling cages. He has
> > provided a thoughtful contribution.
>
> I don't see what was so disruptive, challenging or even quasi-trollish
about
> stibbs's comment.  He was simply recounting a personal acencedote, hoping
> the Ruby community could learn from it.

Well, what I considered quasi-trollish was this (just my opinion):
- He said that most of Ruby was not well-documented
- Someone said, give a specific example.
- He said, Like 97% of it.
- Someone said, Give a specific example.
- He said, I can't get any more specific than I already have.

And did you forget this post? I did think it was unnecessary:
|> Ground control to major tim, can you hear me? I don't think so. I do
|> believe your personal communicator has gone haywire and you are
|> receiving my messages backwards and sideways. Please report to your
|> nearest space post and exchange your personal communicator for a working
|> model. Over and out.

> What was interesting was the number of responses that said there was no
> problem, or that prolonged discussion was unproductive.  *They* sounded
more
> like trolls.

I think part of our lack of communication here is
our lack of precision. ("Our" meaning everyone involved,
myself included.)

Note also that this whole discussion is about *online*
documentation, so paper books (except where they exist
wholly or partially in online form) are not fully
pertinent here.

It's one thing to say that most of Ruby is undocumented or
poorly documented. I think that's false.

However, I think these statements are true:
- Support for documentation is inadequate -- e.g., rd is not even
  bundled with Ruby, is it?
- Standards for doc formats are missing or incomplete.
- There is no standard place for docs in a user installation.
- There is no centralized repository for documentation.

As for the "prolonged discussion" issue... well, I lean toward
Dan's side a little.

I'm very much in favor of meaningful dialogue leading to a
solution for a problem. But some things have been discussed
over and over on this list for two years or more, and the
same things are said over and over, and the ratio of chit-chat
to actual productive work gets higher and higher. After a
couple of years, it does sound like whining.

And as for the tendency to suggest that people bringing things
up should work on them... well, as long as it's not done in a
sarcastic or impolite way, that's natural.

Some people on this list get paid to do Ruby work. But none of
us is paid to contribute to Ruby itself. (Perhaps Matz is, but
for years, he was not.) It's a spare-time thing.

Massimiliano was not paid to do rpkg, nor Dave Thomas to create
rdoc. And the list could go on and on.

> It is to the credit of the folks on this list that discussions *can* be
> prolonged without degrading into name calling or religious wars.

*That* I can wholly agree with. The minor glitches in this
newsgroup/list are nothing compared to what I have grown
accustomed to in some communities.

Hal