[OS X TeX] FAQ or Archive

Alain Schremmer Schremmer.Alain at verizon.net
Fri Jul 16 00:18:03 CEST 2004

Disclosure: I am a little bit allergic to blaming the learner.

In mathematics, it is normal to give a definition and immediately 
thereafter use the defined term. In my experience, both as the graduate 
student I was a long time ago and as the instructor of Two-Year College 
students I still am today, this does not often work. You can blame it 
on stupidity or on anxiety. If you blame it on stupidity, then you just 
flunk the student. If you blame it on anxiety, you just don't use the 
defined term cold. What you do depends on the circumstances. You may 
give a reference to the previous page or point at the definition that 
you refrained from erasing from the board or you say/write something 
like "in other words xxxx" or a hint or whatever will do. Then you wean 
the student. With the next definition, the weaning might go faster and 
eventually you will be able to use definitions cold.

You will say, correctly, that you can't do that sort of things in the 
footer. But you can't avoid the issue.

It's like everything when dealing with anxious people. You try what you 
can. You can use the ultra short solution, you can use the modified 
solution including FAQ, maybe other solutions. As I said, here, I have 
no idea what would work better. Note that I said better as of course 
nothing will work perfectly. But you try until something works. And you 
have at least a couple of people who told you that it didn't.

I started from scratch, not out of love with beautiful typesetting. I 
don't think of myself as an entirely lazy, irresponsible, irrational 
person. When I first wrote to this list, it was in desperation. Truly. 
And you want me to have read the fine print. Look, I had a problem and 
NO time and NO idea of what most of what I found and read meant. (With 
the sole exception of the install instructions in the TeXshop page 
which is what got me started.) So, please.

GRATEFUL regards

On Jul 15, 2004, at 5:36 PM, Samuel Lelievre wrote:

> Joe Slater wrote:
>> On Jul 15, 2004, at 2:57 PM, Samuel Lelievre wrote:
> <snip>
>>> Thus the footer might even be made that short:
>>> ---------- TeX on Mac OS X Mailing List ----------
>>> Web page: <http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/>
>>> Post: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX at email.esm.psu.edu>
>> Samuel,
>> I agree that this should work, too. However, as Alain has noted, many 
>> will not read anything down there. They will not read the obligations 
>> of being on the list, not even well enough to know that there are 
>> obligations someplace. Tens of messages each day with that web site 
>> in the footer, yet they never venture to click on it. For the life of 
>> me I can't understand how someone could figure out how to get on this 
>> list without knowing that the mac-tex pages even exist. That's where 
>> you sign up! It's like going to the Eiffel Tower and not knowing that 
>> Paris exists. How does one miss it! If this list had sign-on 
>> instructions elsewhere (which I hope that nobody has done), then I 
>> would understand. But, you have to go through the web site to get 
>> onto the list. How does one not notice the web site?
>> Joe
>> -----------------------------------------------------
>> Post: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX at email.esm.psu.edu>
>> Please see <http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/> for list
>> guidelines, information, and LaTeX/TeX resources.
> Joe,
> I'd even go for just two lines:
> ---------- TeX on Mac OS X Mailing List ----------
> Web page: <http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/>
> and maybe add a List-Post header
>   List-Post: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX at email.esm.psu.edu>
> just as we already have:
>   List-Subscribe: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX-on at email.esm.psu.edu>
>   List-Digest: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX-digest at email.esm.psu.edu>
>   List-Unsubscribe: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX-off at email.esm.psu.edu>
> (just to play the contradictor, if a non-lister gets
> forwarded a list message with these headers, he gets
> the information on how to subscribe without visiting
> the web page; but I admit that must be pretty rare).
> My point was just that the shorter the footer, the
> greater its chances of getting read (the eyes just
> drop information that has a cost to "get into", if
> this information is known as accessory, as would a
> list footer be; especially when repeated after all
> messages; and a sentence has a higher cost to read
> than a couple of words).
> In addition, (to some people) "Web page" still sound
> magical words and make you say "hey, a web page, let
> me have a look at what's there!".
> One last point: in the list archives, mailto links
> are understandably suppressed, but why is the link
> to the mac-tex page?
> I just went to browse some of the archives for the
> history of the list footer... It seems that it has
> taken some trials and changes to reach the current
> footer so why should it be frozen now if the issue
> arises again?
> Why not just one line:
> ---------- <http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/> ----------
> Why not change the footer once in a while and avoid
> people "become numb to repetitive presentations" as
> you say?
> Or why not just add the word "FAQ" as suggested in
> the first place, if that's a word people look for?
> It's also true that these three capital letters do
> stand out in a footer.
> OK, I'm sorry to have ventured into this debate and
> contributed to give it more importance than it has.
> It's just that I like this list!
> Thanks for all the good job of maintaining the site
> and the list. SL
> -----------------------------------------------------
> Post: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX at email.esm.psu.edu>
> Please see <http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/> for list
> guidelines, information, and LaTeX/TeX resources.

Post: <mailto:MacOSX-TeX at email.esm.psu.edu>
Please see <http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/> for list
guidelines, information, and LaTeX/TeX resources.

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