[tex-k] Re: Bibliography

Robin Fairbairns Robin.Fairbairns@cl.cam.ac.uk
Wed, 13 Dec 2000 09:08:03 +0000

Michael Barr chides me with:

> The problem is that there IS no appropriate mechanism for making such
> inquiries and hasn't been info-tex folded a couple years ago.
> Comp.text.tex is useless.

comp.text.tex is pretty much the same as it always was, except that
there are more people posting so that the people who know what they're
doing (such as donald arseneau) are correspondingly diluted.

for a while, i was subscribed to c.t.t and to info-tex and ctt-digest;
i found that the gateways worked -- every article was duplicated.  in
those days, i used to cc poster on every answer i gave.  now, most
posters don't even give a valid return address (even, recently, one
bozo who actually asked for a mail cc).

> I posted two questions there last summer and
> got no useful reply, which never would have happened with info-tex.  Time
> was that tex-haxxers went out of their way to be helpful, but I guess that
> time is past.

strange as it may seem, there are questions to which no-one has an
answer.  unless i _know_ that what's being asked is essentially
impossible i tend not to bother answering a question for which i have
no solution: i doubt that i'm unusual, among people who know about tex
(there are a lot of people who answer wrongly, of course...).

i resent the implication that i (as a tex user of some standing)
"can't be bothered".  i spend a good proportion of my time answering
questions on c.t.t, working on a tex faq document that appears on the
web, editing tugboat, etc., etc.  there just aren't enough hours in
the day to do everything that the whole tex world needs, and still
hold down a job and get food and sleep.  which is why, despite your
reported experience, i would *still* recommend that people should go
to the appropriate forums to ask their questions.

and i would challenge *anyone* (even those who don't like the sort of
things i posted in response to the original question) to claim that
the person who posted couldn't solve his own problems by reading the
documentation i pointed him at.  nevertheless, if he had posted to
c.t.t he would have learned the same information, at pretty much the
same speed.  there are a lot of people who can answer trivial
questions, by the very definition of trivial.