comp.lang.javascript FAQ question


V

VK

As I'm still in Europe with rather occasional Internet access, I
originally missed a few weeks old discussion about FAQ posting and
update.
While making my program for automated FAQ posting, I've made some
research on the FAQ question. That time the program was not used by the
FAQ poster, but I kept the article on my laptop. I see the moment now
to post it.

-------------

As it is (or isn't) known, Big Seven's Usenet groups do not have
*official* FAQ or sites or links. The only official parts are
Rationale, Charter and Short Description. These parts are formed before
voting and stored (if passed) in <news.announce.newgroups> archives for
public references.

It is also a rule that the above mentioned documents (Rationale,
Charter, Short Description) are made on the "Once in - Never out"
principles. Once passed the voting and approved they never can be
changed: a new newsgroup must be created instead if needed. This is the
rule of the classic Usenet (at least): groups are not "updating" with
time. They are appearing and disappearing (if no activity) based on the
current demand.

In this concern comp.lang.javascript exists with more than 10 years old
charter and still fully within of it and it doesn't lack posting
activity :) My sincere congratulations.

Any other resources related to a newsgroup - including FAQ - are
subjects of the public consensus and the newsgroup's traditions. For
older newsgroup traditions possibly have even more weight than some "up
to time consensus". It means that legally anyone can start posting
something called "official FAQ", but in application to clj it would be
a bogus to be killfiled.

The creation of comp.lang.javascript had been initialized by Thomas
Winzig in December of 1995. The standard voting process has been
conducted in January 1996. By the majority of votes the new group was
approved January 27 1996
A side note: on January 27 of each year it could a "birthday posting"
:)
All results of the voting process are stored at
<news.announce.newgroups> It can be viewed say at
<http://groups.google.com/group/news..._frm/thread/e472637f7141a60d/1cfd3fc1b03fd982>

Right after the creation the newsgroup did not have any explicit
leader. AFAICT the main and only purpose of Thomas Winzig was to get
rid of JavaScript questions in Java-related newsgroups. He did not
participate much in clj any after.

In April of 1996 Gordon McComb created a page called "unofficial FAQ"
and he started to provide links to it in his posts. Unfortunately this
page located at <http://www.freqgrafx.com/411/jsfaq.html> was not
preserved.

In the end of May of 1996 Erica L. Sadun created a document called "The
JavaScript FAQlet" using her own experience and partially materials of
Gordon McComb. She started to post "The JavaScript FAQlet" in clj
rather regularly but without any fixed schedule. The original version
can be viewed at
<http://groups.google.com/group/comp...9ef24?lnk=st&q=&rnum=1&hl=en#5c0e0aa2b389ef24>

By the end of summer of 1996 Erica stopped her postings and then
Michael Moncur created the revised version called "comp.lang.javascript
Mini-FAQ". He started to post this document weekly by Saturdays.

April 1998 Christopher Thompson restored the regularity of postings. He
created fully revisited version called "comp.lang.javascript meta-FAQ".
The current clj FAQ (after eight major updates) still keeps the
structure of Thomson's document. The original beta version can be
viewed at
<http://groups.google.com/group/comp...c532a?lnk=st&q=&rnum=1&hl=en#50ff3fd5ae5c532a>

February 1999 Thompson asked for volunteers to take over the FAQ
posting and maintenance. Jim Ley called for this, he also donated space
on jibbering.com for FAQ storage. The first FAQ post under the name of
Jim Ley was made October of 1999. Since November of 1999 the FAQ posted
with sender name "comp.lang.javascript FAQ" (no more individual names).

January 2004 Jim Ley asked for volunteers to take over the FAQ
maintenance. Richard Cornford called for this. March 2004 Richard
Cornford released next major update #8. The current FAQ version is 8.1,
so there were not any major updates for 2.5 years by now.


Prieure de comp.lang.javascript FAQ (to Dan Brown with all my
disrespect :)

Gordon McComb | Apr 1996 - June 1996 | "unofficial FAQ"
Erica L. Sadun | June 1996 - Aug 1996 | "The JavaScript FAQlet"
Michael Moncur | Aug 1996 - Mar 1998 | "comp.lang.javascript Mini-FAQ"
Christopher Thompson | Apr 1998 - Feb 1999 | "comp.lang.javascript
meta-FAQ"
Jim Ley | Feb 1999 - Jan 2004 | "comp.lang.javascript META-FAQ"
Richard Cornford | Jan 2004 - now | "comp.lang.javascript FAQ"

From this rather long preface it should be clear that only Richard
Cornford has moral rights to maintain FAQ or to transfer this duty to
someone else. Jim Ley (despite still active participant of clj) should
stay with his decision of Jan 2004 and avoid putting any pressure.

At the same time I would like to remind to Mr.Cornford that his duty is
to be a FAQ *maintainer* and not a *FAQ archives keeper*. The Internet
does the latter automatically without any extra help.

The best way IMHO to move the FAQ out of the current stagnation:

The whole procedure of adding/updating/removing FAQENTRY's has to be
much stricter defined and narrowed. It is not good enough that 1-2-3
people - however "oldposting" and knowlegeable they are - are saying
"it is not a FAQ" or "it is wrong".
That must be a well-defined amount of similar questions within a month
that makes it to be a FAQ. It is completely *out* of the public
interest what does the current FAQ maintainer think of such question:
is it a "good question" or she would rather kill whoever is asking it.
It is irrelevant. She is only in power to decide where to add the new
FAQENTRY and what other FAQENTRY to remove if needed to keep the FAQ
list compact.

After a new FAQENTRY is defined it must be a public discussion for the
best answer to the question. This discussion i) should not take forever
and ii) must be the best *practical* answer to a practical question.
Evangelistic narrations of type "don't use it", "don't do it", "it's
useless" etc must be kept exclusively for private posts and blogs.

Until this ussue is not solved, the frequency and the mechanics of the
FAQ posting is not really so important.
 
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R

Richard Cornford

VK said:
As I'm still in Europe with rather occasional Internet access, ...
<snip>

The greatly reduced irrelevant noise originating from you has been
appreciated. It is a pity that you cannot keep it that way.

You opinions remain, as always, worthless.

Richard.
 
V

VK

Richard said:
The greatly reduced irrelevant noise originating from you has been
appreciated. It is a pity that you cannot keep it that way.

You opinions remain, as always, worthless.

I have shown to everyone (who's interested to read) the history and
traditions of the FAQ posting in clj. It also explains why someone
Richard Cornford is currently on charge of the group FAQ and why his
position and opinion must be respected.

At the same time Mr.Cornford is not the group's creator nor the
original FAQ editor/poster. He is just the last in the long chain
started back in 1996. Thusly if Mr.Cornford is in a private opinion
that back in March 2004 he managed to create some "ultimate final all
times FAQ version" which doesn't need any major upgrades anymore - if
he really thinks so then he is sorry mistaken. It is a sorry mistake
even if some other people (including ones participated in the March
2004 edition) may share the same opinion.

The FAQ has to become FAQ once again, not an historical document. That
was the 4th attempt to change a damn line in the book over the last
year (no one was initialized by myself). Every single time it shutes
down slowly but surely by the current FAQ's maintainer. I don't know
for how long is he hoping to *keep* rather than *maintain* the FAQ, but
the time limit may be shorter than he thinks it is. Usenet is not an
absolute monarchy nor a hunta. It is closer to the democratic
institutions - closer than Mr.Cornford possibly thinks.

"The FAQ, its wording and revisions, are open to public scrutiny and
comment in
this forum and the results are by mutual consent (albeit passive
consent
in most cases)."
Richard Cornford
July 2, 2003
 
B

Bart Van der Donck

VK said:
[...]
While making my program for automated FAQ posting, I've made some
research on the FAQ question. That time the program was not used by the
FAQ poster, but I kept the article on my laptop. I see the moment now
to post it.

I wasn't aware that somebody else besides me was working on automated
FAQ postings. Didn't mean to pick the salt from your potatoes.
[ ... skip FAQ history ... ]

Why not making a FAQ entry of that :) "What is the history of the
comp.lang.javascript FAQ ?"
The best way IMHO to move the FAQ out of the current stagnation:

The whole procedure of adding/updating/removing FAQENTRY's has to be
much stricter defined and narrowed. It is not good enough that 1-2-3
people - however "oldposting" and knowlegeable they are - are saying
"it is not a FAQ" or "it is wrong".

Well, I'ld say that depends on the criteria that are used to make such
a decision, not so much on the number of persons.
That must be a well-defined amount of similar questions within a month
that makes it to be a FAQ. It is completely *out* of the public
interest what does the current FAQ maintainer think of such question:
is it a "good question" or she would rather kill whoever is asking it.
It is irrelevant. She is only in power to decide where to add the new
FAQENTRY and what other FAQENTRY to remove if needed to keep the FAQ
list compact.

After a new FAQENTRY is defined it must be a public discussion for the
best answer to the question.

True, but I'm also convinced that many of such public discussions
already took place in the past, but without making it to the FAQ. Why
not browse the archives and extract useful information from it ?

The same could apply to existing code from various resources -
thoroughly reviewed, adapted where necessary and added to the FAQ. The
questions are as important as the answers; they should cover frequent,
practical topics and offer qualitative responses. I'ld look at the FAQ
as a library of (mostly) ready-to-go solutions for common problems.

I think the FAQ should just have more content, I'm imagining things
like
- How do I find yesterday's date ?
- How to know the Unicode code point of a character ?
- How many dimensions can variables have in javascript ?
- Can I store files using javascript ?
etc. etc.
This discussion i) should not take forever
and ii) must be the best *practical* answer to a practical question.

Totally right, IMHO!
 
V

VK

Bart said:
I wasn't aware that somebody else besides me was working on automated
FAQ postings. Didn't mean to pick the salt from your potatoes.

Never mind at all :)
Everyone (I'm sure) appreciate your efforts. You also may take a look
at the script I wrote a while ago by the agreement with the FAQ poster:
<http://groups.google.com/group/comp...lnk=gst&q=VK+FAQ&rnum=1&#doc_9746a91f36066748>
It also takes into account some particular demands for the data
treatment. Not to say that I'm agreed with all of them: indeed one XML
source (as in your case) for both Usenet posting and HTML display is
much easier and up to date.

As I understand the problem properly it is not about software per se
but about a Usenet account. The free ones are very rare now and they
have high tendency to disappear/be down. A payed account would create
too much of monetary involvement for the poster. I mean it would be
better to keep all future discussions between equal volunteers rather
than between freebes and someone who's investing her own money on a
monthly basis.

If you have a free Usenet account in Denmark you would like to share,
that would be greate to inform Mr.Cornford. One could solve at least
this part of the problem (not the biggest one though).

At the same time - and with deapest respect to the efforts you've spent
- that would be not totally appropriate IMHO to start FAQ posting in
this newsgroup without an explicit agreement with Richard Cornford; or
without his explicit statement that this part of the problem is given
to the public resolution.

Why not making a FAQ entry of that :) "What is the history of the
comp.lang.javascript FAQ ?"

Not only that, but also links to all FAQ versions by years starting
from 1996. I assure you that it is an amazing reading, reflecting the
whole Web development history as well.
Well, I'ld say that depends on the criteria that are used to make such
a decision, not so much on the number of persons.

FAQ is "Frequently Asked Question(s)" ;-) So we have one *measurable*
category independent from the private opinions: the frequency.
It also mean that FAQ has the tendency to change by years and even
within one year.
In 1996 one of the tops was about using document.write() In 2005/2006
it's ajaxoids and libraries. One FAQENTRY's are being added, others are
being removed as useless. It is a natural everlasting process.
True, but I'm also convinced that many of such public discussions
already took place in the past, but without making it to the FAQ. Why
not browse the archives and extract useful information from it ?

FAQ is not a ultimate source of answers, it is a convenience tool. It
is much easier to read a compact article rather than search by keywords
in old postings. Also not everyone is using Google Groups, and the
Usenet as it is has very primitive search tools (over news agents). In
the most cases threads older than 1-3 months are out of reach for the
public.
 
B

Bart Van der Donck

VK said:
Everyone (I'm sure) appreciate your efforts. You also may take a look
at the script I wrote a while ago by the agreement with the FAQ poster:
[skip url]
It also takes into account some particular demands for the data
treatment. Not to say that I'm agreed with all of them: indeed one XML
source (as in your case) for both Usenet posting and HTML display is
much easier and up to date.

I'ld even go a step further. Take one database storage with a common
API and derive all output formats you want from it (xls csv htm xml edi
txt etc). The current data is workable, but indeed not ideal IMO. The
weak point is data-structural, not technical. I think it's typical for
manual XML maintenance.
As I understand the problem properly it is not about software per se
but about a Usenet account. The free ones are very rare now and they
have high tendency to disappear/be down. A payed account would create
too much of monetary involvement for the poster. I mean it would be
better to keep all future discussions between equal volunteers rather
than between freebes and someone who's investing her own money on a
monthly basis.

If you have a free Usenet account in Denmark you would like to share,
that would be greate to inform Mr.Cornford. One could solve at least
this part of the problem (not the biggest one though).

Yes, I've spent some time to find Usenet accounts, I think I've found
some good ones.

http://www.sunsite.dk/ (free, text-only, easy registration
http://dotsrc.org/usenet)
http://news.individual.net/ (10 Euro/y, text-only)
http://www.teranews.com/ (3 Euro setup, then free)

http://www.newzbot.com/ is a portal site dedicated to Usenet servers.
If sunsite.dk would go down, it's easy to set another account in Perl
script.
At the same time - and with deapest respect to the efforts you've spent
- that would be not totally appropriate IMHO to start FAQ posting in
this newsgroup without an explicit agreement with Richard Cornford; or
without his explicit statement that this part of the problem is given
to the public resolution.

I hereby ask him (and anyone) what he thinks about it.
 
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V

VK

Bart said:
Yes, I've spent some time to find Usenet accounts, I think I've found
some good ones.

http://www.sunsite.dk/ (free, text-only, easy registration
http://dotsrc.org/usenet)
http://news.individual.net/ (10 Euro/y, text-only)
http://www.teranews.com/ (3 Euro setup, then free)

http://www.newzbot.com/ is a portal site dedicated to Usenet servers.
If sunsite.dk would go down, it's easy to set another account in Perl
script.

One can add here free cheap56k.com (server news.cheap56k.com)
This is what I went for testing, but I don't like that they put random
ads at the bottom of each post. How is sunsite.dk in this matter?
I hereby ask him (and anyone) what he thinks about it.

Good question asking for a good answer. As we know for sure that
Richard was here just one day ago, one could expect a prompt response.
If no response then one could estimate with a good probability that he
opted for the option two (the problem is given to the public
resolution).
 
R

Richard Cornford

Bart said:
VK wrote:

If that were the case it would be novel. But instead you have
miss-understood as usual (nobody will be surprised by that as
understanding what was said required the comprehension of written
English and you just don't do that).
Yes, I've spent some time to find Usenet accounts, I think I've found
some good ones.
<snip>

You should not let VK waste your time. Generally, when VK makes a
statement it is most efficient to just assume that it is wrong.
Halfwit!

I hereby ask him (and anyone) what he thinks about it.

It will be interesting to see if "anyone" can tell you what I think
about it.

Richard.
 
B

Bart Van der Donck

VK said:
Bart said:
Yes, I've spent some time to find Usenet accounts, I think I've found
some good ones.
[skip server list]

One can add here free cheap56k.com (server news.cheap56k.com)
This is what I went for testing, but I don't like that they put random
ads at the bottom of each post. How is sunsite.dk in this matter?
From the information I have, it seems sunsite.dk offers reliable/steady
Usenet accounts. No ads.
VK:
As we know for sure that Richard was here just one day ago, one could
expect a prompt response. If no response then one could estimate with
a good probability that he opted for the option two (the problem is given
to the public resolution).

The door is open! :)
 
V

VK

Richard Cornford wrote:
It will be interesting to see if "anyone" can tell you what I think
about it.

Anyone can tell if the current FAQ posting situation is of the best
interests of the community or not. If decided no, a better solution can
be found by mutual consent (albeit passive consent in most cases).

sunsite.dk server currently seems to be the best option for the
automated posting. At the same it must be some commitment from the
poster to install and to provide a minimum support of the posting bot
for a reasonnably long period of time (one year at least).

If Mr. Bart Van der Donck is willing to donate his time for that, he
has my vote YES in advance.

Also there is the official (as much as something can be "official" in
the Usenet) FAQ server supported by MIT. They keep and maintain
FAQ-related materials of the Usenet back to 1993. That could be a
future option (?)

<http://www.faqs.org/faqs/>
<http://www.faqs.org/faq-maintainers/>
<http://www.faqs.org/faq-maintainers/faq-server/>
 
R

Ray

Bart said:
VK wrote:
Why not making a FAQ entry of that :) "What is the history of the
comp.lang.javascript FAQ ?"

Heck yeah. I'm new in c.l.j. and I'm curious what's up with this FAQ
thing and VK. Are his entries often inaccurate, and therefore mislead
JS newbies like me, or what?

<snip>
 
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R

Richard Cornford

Ray wrote:
... VK. Are his entries often inaccurate, and therefore mislead
JS newbies like me, or what?

"Often inaccurate" would be an understatement. He doesn't understand
what the code he writes himself actually does, does not know how
javascript should be expected to behave (and has many fictional notions
of what should be happening), has a superficial understanding of (a
few) browser DOMs (and believes many things that are not the case) and
has a habit of addressing "issues" (many of which are figments of his
own imagination) by taking the worst possible approach available. He
cannot be corrected, even by repeated detailed technical explanation,
because he is absolutely convinced that his understanding, though
unique, is already correct and true, and repeatedly being demonstrated
wrong does not hint to him that his self confidence is misplaced.

Richard.
 
R

Ray

Richard said:
"Often inaccurate" would be an understatement. He doesn't understand
what the code he writes himself actually does, does not know how
javascript should be expected to behave (and has many fictional notions
of what should be happening), has a superficial understanding of (a
few) browser DOMs (and believes many things that are not the case) and
has a habit of addressing "issues" (many of which are figments of his
own imagination) by taking the worst possible approach available. He
cannot be corrected, even by repeated detailed technical explanation,
because he is absolutely convinced that his understanding, though
unique, is already correct and true, and repeatedly being demonstrated
wrong does not hint to him that his self confidence is misplaced.

Sounds like a bloody dangerous poster, especially for those new to
JavaScript. Thanks for the warning, Richard!
 
R

Richard Cornford

Sounds like a bloody dangerous poster, especially for those new to
JavaScript. ...

Yes, and doubly harmful because of the amount of time and effort
expended trying to mitigate the damage he does, that could otherwise be
directed more productivly.

Richard.
 
V

VK

Ray said:
Heck yeah. I'm new in c.l.j. and I'm curious what's up with this FAQ
thing and VK. Are his entries often inaccurate, and therefore mislead
JS newbies like me, or what?

<OT>
If you are new in c.l.j. than it would be more appropriate IMHO to
silently listen for people who are posting here for years - rather than
discuss from the sky blue their personalities.
If you have doubts about the factual side of the FAQ posting history I
provided in this thread, you are welcome to search the archives by
yourselve. If any errors are found, I will be glad to be pointed out.
If you personally had a problem with my advise to you, please provide a
link. I do not recall of helping you, but I do not remember each and
every post.
Untill then you are asked to be so kind to shut up on the off-topic
subjects.
</OT>

Back to the topic of this thread:

comp.lang.javascript FAQ posting does not work for several months now.
It never happened before since the group was created in 1996.
The current FAQ maintainer (Richard Cornford) did not make a thing to
solve the situation: his spaceous and mainly nasty OT revelations of
the kind one can see here do no help obviously.

Mr. Bart Van der Donck has a working program and Usenet account to
restore the posting.

If Mr. Bart Van der Donck is willing to donate his time for that, I'm
voting YES for him. I'm ready to donate my time either but if my
candidature is so bad, I'm even not proposing it.

If you want that Mr. Bart Van der Donck restored FAQ posting then vote
YES in this thread.

If you don't want to restore FAQ posting then vote NO.

If you don't give a damn about this problem then vote ABSTAIN (or
better yet do not vote at all).

If you have nothing to say on the subject then be quiet (the same goes
to any other potential OT posters).

Anyone (including new posters) is welcome to vote on the subject.
 
R

Richard Cornford

VK wrote:
Untill then you are asked to be so kind to shut up on the
off-topic subjects.
</OT>

Back to the topic of this thread:
<snip>

How often is it going to be necessary to tell you; threads do not have
topics, they have subjects, which do not limit/restrict the matters
discussed in the thread? Things that are off topic can only be off
topic for the group as a whole. At the topic for the group is
javascript the discussion of poor sources of information on javascript
certainly is on topic for the group.

Richard.
 
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B

Bart Van der Donck

VK said:
[...]
If Mr. Bart Van der Donck is willing to donate his time for that, he
has my vote YES in advance.

Yes, I'm willing to follow up the daily FAQ postings. I think it will
probably take not so much time. When the FAQ gets updated, the only
requirement would be to keep the XML's main structure:

<FAQ>
<TITLE>comp.lang.javascript FAQ</TITLE>
<CONTENTS>
<CONTENT TITLE="chapter name">
<CONTENT TITLE="entry title">
text with <additional> </tags> in it
</CONTENT>
...more entries in the same chapter...
</CONTENT>
...more chapters with their entries...
</CONTENTS>
</FAQ>

I think this should normally be no problem; it was my intention to make
this as flexible as possible towards the future.
 
B

Bart Van der Donck

Ray said:
Sounds like a bloody dangerous poster, especially for those new to
JavaScript. Thanks for the warning, Richard!

I think you should relativise such statements a bit. Inaccurate
information is mostly quickly corrected in this newsgroup, and anyone
makes a mistake now and then (don't we all). But "bloody dangerous
poster" is not really the word for that :)

But yes, the technical expertise of Richard's articles is among the
best I've ever seen, but they do require quite some javascript
knowledge beforehand to well understand. I think their outstanding
technical value does not always reflect their educational value.
 
R

Ray

VK said:
<OT>
If you are new in c.l.j. than it would be more appropriate IMHO to
silently listen for people who are posting here for years - rather than
discuss from the sky blue their personalities.

I am new to JavaScript and c.l.j., therefore it is important for me and
other JS newbies like me to know which posters we can trust to be
knowledgeable and won't mislead us while we're still solidifying our
foundation in the language.
If you have doubts about the factual side of the FAQ posting history I
provided in this thread, you are welcome to search the archives by
yourselve. If any errors are found, I will be glad to be pointed out.

I did. I found your Vector sample code. It was
so....................................... advanced I got speechless--as
such I can't point anything out, sorry.
If you personally had a problem with my advise to you, please provide a
link. I do not recall of helping you, but I do not remember each and
every post.

Nope, of course I don't have any problem with your advice to me since
you haven't given me any. But obviously your (future, if any) advice
will be way too............................................. advanced,
for me, so that's probably alright too.
Untill then you are asked to be so kind to shut up on the off-topic
subjects.

Yes Sensei!!!
 
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R

Ray

Bart said:
I think you should relativise such statements a bit. Inaccurate
information is mostly quickly corrected in this newsgroup, and anyone
makes a mistake now and then (don't we all). But "bloody dangerous
poster" is not really the word for that :)

Hi Bart,

I'm speaking from my p.o.v. really (which is perhaps not shared by
other newbies, if I may add). I'm new to JavaScript and I'm using it
not as a hobby but in a project with a very, very tight deadline. As
such, a poster like that is dangerous to me, especially because at this
stage I can't always tell whether something is true or not, and I
really can't afford to be misled.

Yes, of course everybody makes mistakes :) But I am thankful that I get
informed early on on who to listen to... and who not to listen to.
But yes, the technical expertise of Richard's articles is among the
best I've ever seen, but they do require quite some javascript
knowledge beforehand to well understand. I think their outstanding
technical value does not always reflect their educational value.

Thanks for pointing that out! :)

Cheers
Ray
 

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