One list or two ? [Was: What about the quit menuitem in standalone with 2.5?]

Alex Tweedly alex at
Fri Sep 3 21:45:22 EDT 2004

I've changed subject line - getting to be a habit :-)

At 19:49 03/09/2004 -0400, Troy Rollins wrote:

>This is true. Many hobbyists become pros, and many pros like to help out 
>those with less experience. But pros also need to share experience with 
>each other sometimes, in an environment which is somewhat less noise to 
>signal ratio... at some point, very generalized lists such as this one 
>offer little to the pros other than the rewarding opportunity to help 
>newbies. I am involved in such general lists for other tools, helping out 
>the new folks, but when the work has to get done, and there is an advanced 
>question to be asked... well, you don't do it there. It would get lost 
>among the 18th "how do I put something into a variable?" question of the day.

In many cases, signal-to-noise ratio is more a function of "list culture" 
than it is of the expertise or knowledge of those involved.  I personally 
find lists with too tight a focus less useful than ones that give some leeway.

>Many professional programmers will be put off from Revolution if the only 
>support list is full of DreamCard hobbyists and complete newbies doing a 
>seventh grade homework assignment.

I think there's a serious case for a "use-dreamcard" list, which would be a 
good place for beginner, introductory questions. But I'd allow, even 
encourage, anyone to join both lists, and separate the traffic between the 
lists based on culture and peer pressure. There'll be some questions asked 
on the wrong list - but if the majority go to the right one, you've solved 
the signal-to-noise problem, and kept the benefits that beginners get from 
observing the full list.

Being on a list, and seeing all the traffic go by, is a very effective way 
to learn - being able to browse archives is, for me at least, much less 

Your pleading hobbyist,
-- Alex.

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