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Re: Help topics / task help

I just now put a really quick-and-dirty page online at
Suggestions for improvement ?

I'm always surprised when I put something together *this* ugly, and find
out it's *still* better than anything anyone else has managed to do. :-).

Rather than me putting up perfectly edited web pages and then whining at
y'all about how I don't have time to do proper web pages *and* schoolwork
*and* work-work *and* deal with the flood of information coming in from
mailing lists, I've reached an epiphany:
I don't have to make polished, perfect web pages; I can just throw the raw
content online ASAP and worry about polishing them later.
I can beg and plead on my web page
for people to help me fix my pages / challenge them to create better pages.
With web pages, as with other open-source software, we can be far more
productive if we allow people who can do a better job to do it, and if I
focus on the things I can do better than anyone else. (Which is still a
surprisingly large list of things -- or perhaps it's just my surprisingly
large my ego :-).

In my opinion, what every web site needs is a page that explains what needs
to be done, *with* enough background information that you give a random
surfer the ability to help. Commercial sites seem to all have a
"employment" link on the home page. I think it is even more important with
"open source" projects like
to give people the information they need to help. For example, if a random
surfer saw "we need some information on X", and she just happened to be a
expert in X, she could hack up a quick page of raw information, and either
stick it on her own site and email the project webmaster the link, or just
email the project webmaster the data.
Then the webmaster could arrange things so that the next visitor saw "we
need to improve these pages" with a link to the raw information, and if he
happened to be a decent HTML coder / graphic illustrator / pedantic English
editor, he could take the raw information and polish it up into a nice HTML

What I'm trying to say is, there seems to be a large group of people
surfing the net with way too much time on their hands :-), and if we can
give them something interesting to do, making it as easy as possible for
them to do something we find useful, and they find interesting / fun, we
all benefit. If one person can talk for hours on his favorite subject,
someone else can convert content to html pages with blinding speed, and a
third person really enjoys drawing crisp, easy-to-understand illustrations
for not-so-easily understand text... let's take advantage of the
asynchronous nature of the 'net and let them create something without being
forced to actually meet in the same place at the same time and take votes
on all the possibilities.

Well, that's a philosophy that I'm trying to apply to my page. It has
worked a few times, and I am grateful to the few people that helped me
improve my pages. Overall itt doesn't seem to be working as well as I had
hoped :-/.

>Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1998 09:35:49 -0500
>From: Two Ducks <twoducks@globalserve.net>
>> Writing some documentation on how to do simple tasks sounds like a good
>> idea
>> Keeping a list of "Tasks People Want to Do with a Computer" sounds cool.
>> I'll cut 'n paste the list onto my web page if no one else volunteers.

+ David Cary "mailto:d.cary@ieee.org" "http://www.rdrop.com/~cary/"
| Future Tech, Unknowns, PCMCIA, digital hologram, <*> O-