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[Savannah-hackers] Re: troubles with new Savannah project
Robert J. Chassell
[Savannah-hackers] Re: troubles with new Savannah project
Wed, 18 Sep 2002 20:52:11 +0000 (UTC)
> * First, I submitted a description during the `Register new project'
> process, but the project page says
> This project has not yet submitted a short description. You can
> submit it now.
> Why should I resubmit what I have already submitted?
Because, as explained in the help you should have already read while
registering your project, the description you wrote previously was
only targetted on us, savannah-hackers, dealing with your project
I don't see anything about this in
which is where I would expect to find that info.
> Also, in any event, the page does not explain how to submit the
In the text you paste previously, there's a link to the "project
public info edition".
No, there is not any such button! Obviously, you think there is a
useful button there, but I don't see it, not in:
where it says: `This project has not yet submitted a short description.'
I don't see any button in the Admin page either. Not in:
With a correctly configured web browser, it should be obvious.
My Web browser is correctly configured.
> The registration process did not say anything that I remember
> about filling in this page as well as the page for registration.
> Is this another page that has to be filled out? If so, the
> fields should be a part of the registration process, otherwise,
> people like me will not realize that the registration process is
If you do not want to fill out this page, don't do it. You are free to
give - or not to give - to users informations.
This is good information. I did not know this. I thought that the
description that you put in the registration was for the users.
Also, the registration page should have a note that repeats this
information, right next to the button (that does not yet exist) that
enables the person to put this info into the Summary page
See the FAQ to have more details about the registration process.
I thought I had got all the info necessary for setting up this site.
I read the parts of the FAQ that appeared relevant. I did not expect
any problems -- I thought the documentation would do me fine.
The point is, the main Savannah page did not tell me this, nor did the
registration documentation. They should have.
> * Second, on the project page, I try to access the `Project
> Homepage' which is in a location called `Public Areas'. However,
> I receive an error message that says:
> You don't have permission to access /software/softfree/ on this
> Why so?
Because you haven't uploaded any file in your homepage CVS
That needs to be explained at the point on the Public Area place or
in the error message. Remember, I *read* all the parts of the FAQ
that I thought were relevant. If I had understood this, I would not
have been bothered.
See the FAQ to know how to do it.
I just did and it does not tell me what kinds of things normally go
there! Is this supposed to be a home page for me personally? If so,
I don't need it. (In part, that is how it comes across. You may know
differently so well, that this misinterpretation is invisible to you.)
But a personal home page is ridiculous, so it must refer to a project
But I thought I already had a project home page, namely
which is not true (it is obviously not true since there is a link to
another page called `Project Homepage' in the Public Areas section of
the Savannah page).
My point here is that by reading everything that seemed right, I got
a wrong mental map of how Savannah is supposed to work. I did not
and I did not realize that I was supposed to write a index.html file
I have just done that and committed it.
> And how is that page different from the
> http://savannah.gnu.org/projects/softfree page?
One is your project homepage. The other one does not exists.
This is part of the confusion. The page that did not exist is
referred to in the page on Savannah as the "Project Homepage".
What you are saying is how I thought, namely that the page on
Savannah was my "Project Homepage", but based on the link name on
the Savannah page that is wrong.
We need either a different title for the Savannah page or a different
title for the www.gnu.org page.
What do you think are good names for the two different pages?
This is what I mean by having a faulty mental map: your mental map as
well as mine uses the wrong name for one of these two pages!
> * Third, the listing for the `Task Manager Project/Task Manager'
> says `There are no public projects available'. What does this
> mean? This is a public project; I have already registered it.
It means that you havent created any public sub-projects in your
This must be corrected.
Ah, that makes sense. Thank you.
> * Fourth, when I try to access the Project Admin page, the error
> message says simply
> You do not have permission to view this page.
> rather than
> You do not have permission to view this page. Perhaps you are
> not logged in or perhaps you are not an admin for this project.
> A more explanatory error message would be useful.
It's an idea.
> It looks to me that an improved main page would fix many of these
> However, on reading it again, I find that the first page for Savannah
> not only does not answer the questions I list above, it fails to
> provide other information that a new person needs.
But apparently you are not familiar with the FAQ.
I am familiar with the FAQ: that is to say, I read what I thought
would be useful. Obviously, that is wrong, but it never occurred to
me to treat the FAQ as a document where I would read questions that
appeared to be irrelevant.
I'm not very fond of RTFM but manual page are surely where the most
people expects to find thoses informations.
The first page is not. The first page must explain to people that
comes on savannah for the first time what is savannah. Not how to use
Then, the first page should connect, in an obvious manner, to the
The most of the operational informations are included directly in the
For instance, a link to "Public Information Edition" was in the main
No, it is *not*. I am looking at that page right now;
`http://savannah.gnu.org/projects/softfree' does not have such a link!
FAQ is IMHO the better place to add others informations for people
unable to deal with the informations included directly in the
Please keep the FAQ, but also please recognize that is now serving two
roles: as a FAQ and as a manual. In the latter role, it should be
read all the way through -- something that I would never think of, and
that looks like it might be time consuming (especially since the
Texinfo source is broken). (Please remember that many project
leaders lack time.)
At the very least, please explain that the FAQ is more than a FAQ, it
is also serving as the only manual and should be read all the way
through. Perhaps you could tell people that the FAQ questions should
be treated as if they were chapter titles in a manual.
> * what the site does, in language suitable for someone who has
> done some programming, but has no experience with CVS,
> SourceForge, or any of this stuff.
> In more detail, explain what you get when you `Register new
> Please explain that a `project' includes: a CVS respository
> for each project, a CVS frontend to that respository, Web
> space management thru CVS, an HTTP download area, bug
> tracking, and mailing lists, and, of course, what all these
> do. (What, for example, is an `an HTTP download area'?)
It's an idea to list features. Anyway, browsing the website 2 minutes
provide thoses informations.
You miss the point: neither I nor anyone else should have to spend
the time (on a slow dial up telephone connection) exploring the
site. Not unless I want to. (I personally like doing such things,
but avoid them since they generally end up as a pleasant waste of
> * how a project leader can add new people to the group that are
> permitted to change the contents of the repository (i.e., make
> commits) but who are not administrators
> What explanatory text do I send via email to a person who does
> not have an account on Savannah?
I do not understand your point.
I want my sister's husband to be able to work on the project. He does
not have an account on Savannah, he does not know anything about CVS.
He is not going to spend much time learning. (He has a totally
different job.) I do not want to spend the time explaining things to
him. What document do I forward to him that does the job?
> * how to do the major things you do in CVS, such as mark
> snapshots, operate branches, since many project leaders will know
> some programming, but not yet have much familiarity with CVS
Read the CVS Manual.
That is not helpful, since the people I am talking about do not want
to spend the time. Please remember, some people do have lots of time
and the interest. But others do not. The point here is to create
something that works for both groups.
I am not against a FAQ. A FAQ is a good idea. But the site needs to
work well with people who don't have the time or interest to explore,
who don't have time to read massive amounts of documentation just to
figure out how to do something limited but useful, and who just want
to use Savannah as a way to make their and other people's life easier.
Robert J. Chassell address@hidden address@hidden
Rattlesnake Enterprises http://www.rattlesnake.com
Free Software Foundation http://www.gnu.org GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8