[OS X TeX] FAQ or Archive

Joseph C. Slater joseph.slater at wright.edu
Fri Jul 16 02:16:55 CEST 2004

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:
> 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).

I'm guessing some use the footer link for posting (a good way to 
attract people to the footer). This was a long point of discussion a 
few months back. I'm going to ask a friend who is a human factors 
expert what he thinks on the topic.

> 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).

Perhaps. Makes sense.

> 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!".

Funny thing, though. They did go to that web page before, so how did 
they forget about it?

> One last point: in the list archives, mailto links
> are understandably suppressed, but why is the link
> to the mac-tex page?

You have to ask Gary. I would email him directly. He, not I, runs the 
mailing list. (People often confuse our roles. In summary: He used to 
run mac-tex as founding father... he dropped the ball for a while but 
started the mailing list. I picked up support of the web site and 
completely revamped to the ugly site it is now... it became easier to 
maintain, I don't think Gary touches it anymore. That's best since I 
edit locally and it prevents me overwriting his edits).

> 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?

No reason. Other than exhaustion on the issue. At some point we are 
over-optimizing the issue. No greater effectiveness can come with 
change. I don't know that we are there yet or not.

> Why not just one line:
> ---------- <http://www.esm.psu.edu/mac-tex/> ----------

What does it mean? Would people click on it?

> Why not change the footer once in a while and avoid
> people "become numb to repetitive presentations" as
> you say?

That's Gary's call, as he runs the web site. It wouldn't be a bad idea 
to randomly pop a message at the top every once in a while. It would 
irritate some of us, but maybe save some other posts.

> Or why not just add the word "FAQ" as suggested in
> the first place, if that's a word people look for?

Because people less net-literate have no idea what that stands for.

> It's also true that these three capital letters do
> stand out in a footer.

I agree on that. However, also note the FAQ is only a segment of what 
is posted.

> 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!

I am too!

> Thanks for all the good job of maintaining the site
> and the list. SL

Thank you for my 50% of the compliment!

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