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forwarded message from Ann K. Parsons

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Hi all,

I'd just like to take a few minutes and respond to this great post.

>>>>> "Greg" == Greg E Priest-Dorman <priestdo@cs.vassar.edu> writes:

snip, snip
    Greg> so there is nothing stoping
    Greg> cs.vassar.edu from being the home for this list and or any
    Greg> list that it may spawn, indefinitely.

This is good, Greg and may be what is needed.

    Greg> Next, Emacspeak is not a developers list.  It never has
    Greg> been.  I am on several developers lists, and this just isn't
    Greg> one.  If people want an emacspeak developers list I would be
    Greg> a happy to create one.  Just say the word.

If this is not a developers' list, then why are newbies constantly
admonished because their questions are off-topic?  If this is not a
developers' list, then why are people cut down when they ask for help?  

    Greg> Why do I say this is not a developers list?

    Greg> A developers list is a place for people trying to change or
    Greg> improve a program, while this list has had some of that, the
    Greg> vast majority of posts are from users about using emacspeak.
    Greg> Developers do announce new things here, but rarly has there
    Greg> ever been discussion of the lisp code or TCL code that
    Greg> comprises emacspeak on this list.  The level of discussion
    Greg> is non technical.  We are a users list.

Then why are people discouraged by insults and snooty techies when
they ask installation questions?  If this is a users' list, then why
is someone yelled at for asking about a key binding for a command
which is not obvious in the manuals which have been written for Emacs?
If this is a users' list, then why is someone cut down when asking how
to deal with a RPM?  

    Greg> However, we have been in general a users list that assumes a
    Greg> higher level of self initiated exploration before posting
    Greg> than would be expected on a "newbi" list.  That is what we
    Greg> need to examine.

OK, good, Greg.  I've been speaking on this issue ever since I arrived
on this list.  Linux and Emacspeak have become fixtures in the public
eye recently.  the numbers of people who are exploring Linux as an
alternative to Windows has increased markedly over the past year and a
half.  The percentage of people with disabilities looking for this
alternative is correspondingly large.  The numbers of people using The
Net have increased exponentially.  You are right, the trend is across
the board.  I have said this before, and I will say it again and
again.  The Internet and Linux and therefore Emacspeak are not for
techies only any longer.  You've got the general public in the pool
with you, guys and that's good.  However it takes a new view, a new
attitude, a new outlook to encompass these untutored, impatient,
nontechie individuals.    Some of this is due to Bill Gates because he
has opened up the world to these people and they expect Linux to be as
user friendly as Windows.  It can never be that, guys, but if we help
these people out, then they will begin to learn to be independent
learners in Linux.  <smile>  You can't take a kid out of a Japanese
school, for example, and place him in an American one without some
kind of culture shock.  The Japanese do a lot of lectures and feeding
their students information.  Students take in what they are given and
spit back what the teacher wants.  Many American schools incourage
independent thinking and self directed learning.  Students who come
from an environment where knowledge is just given to them, do not have
the skills to do independent, self directed, learning, well.  they
must be taught these skills.  This is the problem you are seeing,
folks.  It's nobody's fault, it's just the way it is.
    Greg> am not denying the frustration of the newcomer, but try and
    Greg> understand as well that somehow many of us did do it without
    Greg> the level of help or hand holding that seems necessary now.
    Greg> It is frustrating to me because I had always hoped these
    Greg> silly machine would help people be more self capable and
    Greg> better problem solvers and I don't think that is what is
    Greg> happening.  

No, it isn't because of the reasons I mentioned above.  Also, what you
need to consider is that a computer is no longer something to be
tinkered with on a rainy Sunday afternoon.  It has become an
indispensible tool in the work-place, at home, and in school.  Many
people do not have the time to experiment or to spend in self directed
learning.  Greg, self directed learning, as I should know, having
taught myself DOS and Windows and now Linux, is a time gobbler!  I'm a
tutor, I work at home.  I have the time to devote to learning.  I do
not have a family making demands on me.  I do not have to do things at
a certain time.  This has made learning easier, even so, I still ask
questions in preference to reading manuals because that is how I learn
best.  However, many, many people do not have these uninterrupted
blocks of time.  They may be PWD's in job settings looking for a
solution to a problem that affects what they will do next week.  They
may be PWD's with family obligations  who are looking for home
solutions to tasks that must be done yesterday!  they may be techies
who are spending their own time trying to help a PWD to access the net
via Emacspeak.  These people deserve our help and our admiration.
It's because of caring individuals like these that blind people will
be accessing the Net for years to come.  We need to cultivate these
sorts of people, not turn them off.

    Greg>I do not think splitting up the list is a way to help.
    Greg> Who would be ansering the questions on the new list?  If
    Greg> there are people lurking on this list thinking that they
    Greg> would field a new users question if only it were on another
    Greg> list, then why not answer the question here?  If a more
    Greg> people would jump in and answer questions I think we would
    Greg> have less list problems and we would "grow" more self
    Greg> assured users.
Good, wonderful!  Sounds great!  I'm willing to give it a whirl.  but
one caveat, continued insults and put-downs will not encourage the
less experienced to help newbies.  If the leaders here would lead by
example, then I think your plan would work, Greg.  

    Greg> Also, for a while (many years ago) we were sharing things we
    Greg> "discoverd" about emacspeak.  If you just ran across a neet
    Greg> feature, tell the list (again, perhaps this is happening - I
    Greg> have not been reading the list much of late).  If someone
    Greg> wants to post a "new user tip of the week" go for it!  Post
    Greg> it to the list.

Again, wonderful!  Let's do it!

    Greg> We don't need to have a proliferation of other lists, we
    Greg> just need the paricipation of more folks on this one.

Ann P.
Ann K. Parsons:  email:  akp@eznet.net
WEB SITE:  http://home.eznet.net/~akp
"All that is gold does not glitter.  Not all those who wander are lost."  JRRT

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Ann K. Parsons:  email:  akp@eznet.net
WEB SITE:  http://home.eznet.net/~akp
"All that is gold does not glitter.  Not all those who wander are lost."  JRRT

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