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RE: tutorial or guidebook text for some complex topics

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: tutorial or guidebook text for some complex topics
Date: Tue, 24 Oct 2006 13:45:00 -0700

    My aim is to stop `the real thread' as I don't find it appropriate to
    continually suggest tasks, especially complex ones for after
    the release, when you have no intention of doing them yourself.

I do intend to work on this. I brought up the idea (first contribution). I
offered to provide feedback on contributions by others (second
contribution). I offered suggestions about starting the task: examples and
logic come before words (third contribution).

Think of this as an opportunity, not a chore. If you're not interested, move
on; there is no need to try to "stop" the suggestion in its tracks (which
you appear to have done).

Imagine more Emacs programmers having a better idea what keymaps are like
structurally - is that a good thing or a bad thing? Is it worth enhancing
the doc? If it's not worth it to you, do you think you should stop others
who might think it worthwhile - in the name of preventing them from being
distracted from their important work?

I specifically proposed this for after the release, to try to forestall such
a knee-jerk reaction - to no avail. And I proposed taking the discussion and
work on this off the list, to Emacs Wiki.

Concerning my contribution - I've suggested lots of possible new features
and other improvements, and I'll continue to do so. In some cases, I've been
waiting 2 years for the release to be out before I suggest some features
(you've been warned!).

I consider that to be a constructive contribution, whether or not each of my
suggestions is implemented. In many cases, I've implemented the features
myself, and I provide well-documented source code freely, to serve as food
for thought for others. I spend a lot of time documenting my code, in hopes
that that will help others to move further.

It happens that any text or code I write won't be used by GNU, but I can
contribute abstract ideas - so I do that. I make suggestions and I report
bugs, but I don't decide what others must or must not work on (that's
effectively what you did, BTW). I've argued against some ideas, but I have
not tried to stifle their consideration.

    In my opinion, its a distraction for those who are contributing.

You have a very narrow idea of who is contributing, or even what
contributing means. Just reading this mailing list, without even posting, is
a contribution: people learn, think, and share with others (on and off
list), and that means progress. Sending a bug report is contributing. Asking
a question is contributing. Thinking about a problem is contributing.

It's never obvious how progress moves; if you think you see that movement
clearly, then you are deluding yourself. If you think only a couple dozen
"Emacs developers" are developing Emacs, then you are deluding yourself, and
you have an exaggerated idea of your own relative contribution (which is no
doubt great, in absolute terms).

    However, I'm sure Richard won't agree with me,
    as the convenience of developers seems to come last on his list.

We are all developers of Emacs, and no one of us has a sure-fire recipe for
what is convenient for all of us or best for Emacs development as a whole.
That goes for RMS as well (as I'm sure he is well aware).

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