Great Circle Associates List-Managers
(July 2002)

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Subject: Re: Please prune this list!
From: Chuq Von Rospach <chuqui @ plaidworks . com>
Date: Fri, 05 Jul 2002 09:11:52 -0700
To: "Roger B.A. Klorese" <rogerk @ queernet . org>
Cc: J C Lawrence <claw @ kanga . nu>, Thomas Gramstad <thomas @ ifi . uio . no>, <list-managers @ greatcircle . com>
In-reply-to: <3D254ED4 . 5090601 @ queernet . org>
User-agent: Microsoft-Entourage/

I think you both did, and didn't.

I *have* worked to make my stuff as easy to use as possible. This is because
I want my lists to be inclusive, not exclusive. I don't see "use of the
list" as a hoop someone has to jump through before being "allowed" to
participate (the classic example of these todays are the Wikis.. Nice try,
flawed design). 

I also have worked on education online since the first days I've been
involved. I still am. But one reality I face is that I've found that about
every 18 months, I have to rewrite my list documentation because the current
crop of "new users" have problems with it. Those people aren't stupid, they
ARE less technical, and I have to take that into account, or decide to turn
my stuff into the "focussed" lists others here run. I've chosen to not do
that. I'm not arguing right or wrong on that, either. It's all in what you
want to accomplish. (I feel, however, that new users and fresh blood are
what keeps a list moving forward and growing. I don't want to end up running
a bunch of virtual moose lodges full of 80 year old codgers whining about
how the young whippersnappers don't understand how it used to be...)

I see users as the customer -- and to me, that invokes an attitude of
meeting the customer needs, not a requirement that they meet MY (likely
arbitrary) standards. And to me, that means BOTH documentation/education to
try to help them learn how to use things, and to make those things easy, so
minimize that learning curve.

You also have to look at WHAT you're teaching. The easier you make the
software, the less time you spend teaching people how to geek that software,
and the more time you can spend on other issues, especially subjective
things like reply formatting and editing issues. If you're always teaching
users to jump through hoops, are they going to be receptive to other
comments, or do you start sounding like a nag? And do you have time to do

On 7/5/02 12:46 AM, "Roger B.A. Klorese" <rogerk @
 queernet .
 org> wrote:

> Chuq Von Rospach wrote:
>> To some degree I do both. But to answer your question, I spent years trying
>> to educate users on how to "best" use USENET. See how that worked out? For
>> every user you educate, three new ones show up on the net. Education
>> ultimately is a can't-win game. It's a necessary part of success, but it
>> only works until the next person installs a cable modem. Then you start over
>> again. Unless, of course, you declare the new people idiots and wall
>> yourself off from them.
> I couldn't agree more -- perhaps I misread your earlier comments.

Chuq Von Rospach, Architech
chuqui @
 plaidworks .
 com --

He doesn't have ulcers, but he's a carrier.

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