Editing of Documents

Corey Burger corey.burger at gmail.com
Thu Mar 10 01:28:04 UTC 2005


If someone comes late to a project and starts changing lots of things,
I tend to look very closely at what they are doing. If they are doing
good things, then I say hey, so they came late but they came.

So far I have seen radio silence on this list about ANYTHING I have
done, if I haven't started the debate.

And as for be humble, I understand where you come from. For me, I say Be Bold.

To quote again from the Wikipedia community, which works very well:


The Wikipedia community exhorts users to be bold in updating articles.
Wikis develop faster when people fix problems, correct grammar, add
facts, make sure the language is precise, and so on. It's okay. It's
what everyone expects. Instead of asking, "Why aren't these pages
copyedited?", you should fix the problems you see yourself. It does
require some amount of politeness, but it works. You'll see.

If someone writes an inferior, merely humorous article, article stub,
or outright patent nonsense, don't worry about their feelings. Correct
it, add to it, and, if it's a total waste of time, replace it with
brilliant prose (and relegate the deletions to bad jokes and other
deleted nonsense or the corresponding talk page). That's the nature of
a Wiki.

For the most part, the instinctive desire of an author to "own" what
he or she has written is counterproductive here, and it is good to
shake up that emotional attachment by making sweeping changes at will
when it improves the result. And of course, others here will boldly
and mercilessly edit what you write. Don't take it personally. They,
like all of us, just want to make Wikipedia as good as it can possibly


Ok, we are not a wiki, but the principles are similar. We have a
common svn that we all edit on.

I guess then I will say what I have not been saying to avoid hurting people:

Tip toeing around and not editing other peoples stuff does not make
better docs. This is the very model of development that makes a lot
proprietary documentation suck. It is written by one person, and not
rewritten and rewritten until it is better.

As for leaving the Not. This is like getting into your new shared car
and wondering what that noise is but ignoring it, as you think it must
be a feature. If you think it is bug, then it probably is a bug. Trust
your own judgement. The community will correct you when you are wrong.

And no, I am not the best writer. In fact, some of what I write can be
considered downright crap, so please edit out that and rewrite.


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