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RE: [Axiom-developer] MathAction to email list connection

From: Page, Bill
Subject: RE: [Axiom-developer] MathAction to email list connection
Date: Fri, 25 Nov 2005 13:49:48 -0500

On Friday, November 25, 2005 4:51 AM Ralf Hemmecke wrote:

> Bill Page wrote:
> > ... 
> > Perhaps this is a good time to suggest that we disconnect the
> > axiom-developer email list from the Axiom Wiki web site?
> Good idea. I usually just remove those emails. A much better 
> idea would be to post a FAQ every month. Or just a link to a
> FAQ at MathAction. Wouldn't that help people to get aware of
> MathAction and what one can do with it?

I will check to see if there is some way on the axiom-developer
and axiom-mail email list server to setup such a "once per
month" message to subscribers. I think that is a good idea as
long as I do not have to remember to do it each month.

> Personally I cannot remember that I have ever changed anything 
> on a MathAction page. The problem with too much text also 
> applies here.

That is a pity. It is the explicit purpose of the Axiom Wiki
site that Axiom developers will actively make changes to the
site and help improve it's organization. Everyone has unlimited
ability to edit the pages, delete and reorganize content, and
and new material. A wiki is an open interactive environment that
is supposed to take advantage of the fact that anyone with an
interest in the subject can contribute to it's documentation.

If you ever feel motivated and have the time, I would encourage
you the shorten and re-write portions of the pages on this web
site based on your own experience and knowledge.

> However, I don't think that it is actually the amount of text 
> which is a problem, it is rather its organization. I have
> already agreed that ALLPROSE is not (yet) good in providing
> such an approach, but it is not finished anyway.

A web site like the Axiom Wiki is, in effect, never "finished".
It is intended to dynamically evolve based on the community
of contributors.

> What I would dream of is ONE main entry point into the AXIOM 
> world. At the moment I could see several.
>    1. Top-level Makefile
>    2.
>    3.
>    4. The Axiom Book project
> and maybe others.

Here is another entry point:

These original development urls are now out of date but
still work since they are bookmarked in a few places on
the Internet:
> If I look at (1), there is not reference to (2).

I think it would be a great idea to include (2) in the
Axiom source distribution in the README file and in the main
dvi files that a first time user might read. These and even
be hyperref links.

In the Windows binary distribution there is an installation
program that sets up some standard "bookmarks" that point to
this site and the Axiom donations page. But this is not easy
to do on Linux because there is no standard way to create such
links on a Linux desktop (at least none that I know of).

Other places where the link (2) might be useful is in the banner
startup of the Axiom console and in front page of HyperDoc.
Also, there should be a hyperref link to (2) in the Axiom book
pdf and dvi files.
> If I am on (2) I see a reference to (3), but being new to 
> Axiom, I ask myself, why should I click on MathAction.
> If I am on (3), I read...
>    The purpose of MathAction is to support the development of
>    the open source version of Axiom and to promote the use of
>    computer algebra systems in general. It provides an over-the-web
>    graphical interface for Axiom (see AxiomInterface) and Reduce
>    (see ReduceWiki). Try out Axiom and Reduce online in the SandBox.
> "Oh, I just wanted to know what Axiom is about, not develop it.
> I haven't even read what Axiom is. So MathAction is not for me, 
> it's for Axiom developers. I don't need to read any further
> here."

I find it very difficult to anticipate how someone will interpret
a given passage of text. Certainly I do not personally get the
same idea that you do from this text. If you have an idea how to
change this text to be more clear about where to find out about
Axiom itself - as opposed to the MathAction website - then I think
it would be great if you were to change the text or add new text
that is clear to you. Very probably if it is clear to you, it
will also be clear to quite a few other people.

By saying that *you* (or anyone else) can or even should make
such changes, I am not implying any indirect reaction to your
criticism. So people do seem to react that way when they are
told that a wiki web site is one where *they* are invited to
make exactly the kind of changes that they are suggesting. But
that is not the point. A wiki web site is not based on the
traditional model of "publishing" a site for others just to view.
It is supposed to be an interactive collaborative environment.
> If I am on (4). Is there a link to (2)? -- No.

This is an example of the type of thing that *you* or anyone else
can add when they notice that it is not present. Editing a page
on the Axiom Wiki is very easy. It takes less than a minute.
> Anyway, I would suggest to make (2) the main entry point and
> also reference it at least from the top-level Makefile and
> also from the book.

Yes, good ideas. Thanks.

Bill Page.

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