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maintaining modes.mf

I was asked, and considered helping out in the maintanance of modes.mf.

Some thoughts on the matter of how modes.mf could be handled:

For myself, what I'd like to do is first settle on how modes.mf
works. That is how names will be given, do we redefine end, allow/force
flexible mode_def setting?, and set some guidelines or standards for
submitting a mode_def.  Perhaps we could give some guidance in how to
determine the mode_def. Once we have this foundation, I believe
we will be in a better position to handle the complexity of the task.

If someone wants to submit a mode_def, I'd sort of like
to know what criteria were used (or if the guidelines that were set
were followed), and would ask *that* person to be
responsible for say a class of printers that the mode_def claims to serve.
If there are questions or problems concerning the mode_def
presumably that person would handle them.  (I would personally like
fewer well-considered mode settings than a lot of half-baked ones.)

So although I can't take over all of the modes.mf activity, here is
what I probably could handle:
  I volunteer to field or coordinate all mode_def-related question
  concerning the following IBM printers:
   IBM 4216, IBM 4019, IBM 3800, IBM 3820, IBM 3827, IBM 3825,
   IBM 3812, IBM 3816, IBM 4250. (I am hoping you don't notice my not
   offering to take over Proprinter-type or IBM graphic a.k.a Epson
   FX/MX-type printers.)

I think it is great to have people volunteer and mail in information (or
numbers and code that perhaps they pulled off a bulletin board). But unless
people are willing to take some sort of responsibility, I think what
winds up is just more chaos of the sort I am well familiar with being at a
Research organization. (Perhaps academicians can sympathize with this too.)

While I am volunteering time I don't have, I would also say that I
would volunteer to help write the set of guidelines I outlined above
and a guide to assist in debugging a MetaFont mode_def for a printer.

With respect to the last item, Pierre Mackay seems to have a good
handle on how to set the o_correction. I hope this gets written into the
guide, (or into modes.mf until a guide is written.)

Which reminds me, I would volunteer to redo modes.mf in the few
changes that I have suggested and add the comments I have received or
read on the matter. But before I would redo all of modes.mf, I should
probably wait a bit for opinions the suggestions.