texhax policy (was: Re: [texhax] making flow chart with latex)

geolsoft at mail.ru geolsoft at mail.ru
Sun Nov 13 11:04:00 CET 2005

[Just my contribution to the flame.  Please skip it if
you've had enough.]

On Sun, Nov 13, 2005 at 06:30:18AM +0100, Reinhard Kotucha wrote:
> >>>>> "Martin" == Martin Schr?der <martin at oneiros.de> writes:
>   > Please, next time do your research yourself.
> What a crappy response...  Sorry, Martin.

DISCLAIMER: please don't take anything I say as a suggestion
to stop posting.  This is not my purpose.  I am only writing
hoping to help the TeX community.

I agree with both opinions.  You'd be surprised how many
people (even those using/starting using TeX) have never
heard about google or tug.org.  They might be computer
newbies who have heard good stories about TeX, or someone
might have recommended TeX to them.  So it would be good for
both the list and for such posters to inform them.  On the
other hand, if the responders start their message with
(maybe only seemingly) unfriendly moralizing, the poster
might never come back.

In general, maybe the best thing is to start a response with
a real answer, if you have one, and put the "educational
notes" in P.S.?  It seems to be less harsh and not to start
the reader up in negative attitude.  And if you don't have
an answer / don't have enough time to go into details / are
irritated with the same old "stupid" question, just ignore
it altogether, at least the poster might try to find some
other help (or finally do his/her own research!) and not be
turned away from TeX.

I want to share my recent experience with regard to the
above.  On another mailing list about a week ago, a user had
asked a similar question -- what is the best way to make
charts/diagrams under TeX.  There had been many suggestions,
including MetaPost.  The user had tried MetaPost but it
seemed too complex to him, and he was going to switch to
some WYSIWYG tools.  With the help from the list he finally
achieved his purpose with MetaPost and seemed to be quite
happy by the end of the week.  Here we go, another happy
customer :).  My point is, if I would have _started_ my
response by saying "Please, next time do your research
yourself" (not to offend Martin) and _then_ pointed him to
MetaPost, flow.sty or whatever, the user would have probably
got a negative impression, glanced at MetaPost, found it
complex and been ashamed to ask further questions
publicizing his "stupidity"/ignorance or to irritate the
responder.  Maybe he would have never come back to MetaPost
again, or even TeX.  And we have to fight for our market
share!  Without the users, there would be no TeX or MetaPost

Once again, this is not to say "never mention search engines
in your responses" :).  I say:  please always do, when the
situation calls for it, like in the case at hand.

Hope I did not offend anybody.  texhax is great, but maybe
there are ways to make it even better :).  And please read
again the DISCLAIMER above :))).

Best regards,
Oleg Katsitadze

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