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Re: Feedback

From: "Greg Ferguson" <gferg@hoop.timonium.sgi.com>
> On Nov 22,  9:06am, David Merrill wrote:
> > IMHO the long term solution here is the ability to extract them
> > from the HOWTOs' SGML source. I'm trying to learn perl to do this
> > right now, but am struggling. I'll get there, but I hope you don't all
> > lose patience with me. :)
> >
> > I'd be happy to see a real perl programmer do some of this to get it
> done
> > more quickly, but I also need to learn it sometime anyway.
> I already have that. It's all in the HOWTO data file, if you
> want it. It's not just getting the addresses, it's making sure they
> are *accurate*.

Ahhh. Yes, that is the problem, isn't it. :)

The only way I know to verify email addresses is to send mail and see if
it gets bounced. We could send out some kind of automated mail (monthly?)
to all of our authors. There are several ways we could do this.

1. Set up an authors@linuxdoc.org list. This could be either an announce
list, which only we could post to, like the announce list, or it could be
a full mailing list for authors to use. Either way, we get the benefit of
knowing when addresses go bad. The sooner we know this, the more likely we
are to be able to locate the author and get a new address.

2. Send a more personalized message to each author on a monthly basis. It
could be simple, or it could get pretty fancy. What about a "status"
report on their HOWTO, listing the number of accesses it has received for
example. That might be interesting for authors to see. For example:

Dear LDP Author,

=insert whatever standard announcements we might want to make=

=followed by a customized status message based on the Author's HOWTOs:=

You currently have 3 HOWTOs published on the Linux Documentation Project:

The Linux Distribution HOWTO
Version: 6.9
Last updated: June 8, 2000
Unique readers this month: 15,000

The Linux Installation HOWTO
Version: 5.0
Last Updated: August 8, 2000
Unique readers this month: 25,000

XFree86 Video Timings HOWTO
Version: 5.0
Last Updated: August 22, 2000
Unique readers this month: 8,000

The statistics should be available from Apache logs.

This might have the added benefit of inducing authors to maintain their
HOWTOs, in the cases where a little prodding is needed.

Okay, okay, maybe this is overkill. I admit to a tendency to overdesign.
:) But it's at least food for thought.

David C. Merrill, Ph.D.
Linux Documentation Project
Collection Editor & Coordinator

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