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From "Melton, James" <jmelt...@bloomberg.com>
Subject RE: XMLBeans ready to exit incubation?
Date Wed, 16 Jun 2004 22:24:30 GMT
What I saw in the XalanJ community was the recognition by those who
frequented the list that certain people responded regularly with good
ideas on using the tool. I don't think off-list recognition matters when
on-list recognition exists. It's a technical crowd and someone out there
wants to be an XML Beans guru even if they aren't able to work on the
internals. As those people surface, take note of what they are saying.
They are probably your power users and probably have the most
instructive use cases.

Someone should try to ensure that user list questions get answered, but
let the list have a chance e.g. a committer could answer the following
day on questions if it seems that no one will answer from the user base.
That lets the so-charged committer look over the user email list no more
than once a day so that the monitoring burden is more modest. If that's
too much try three times a week.

Ideally every simple question can be answered by referring the person to
a FAQ or other documentation. Don't quote the source, cite it. If it's
wrong or confusing or the link to it is broken then this becomes the
feedback loop for correcting whatever went wrong. Expect to give the
same answer referring users to a FAQ endlessly. That's the way you know
it really belongs on a FAQ.

When a simple question can't be answered via FAQ/Doc, someone has to
take the time to document the answer. Good documentation is at least 50%
of the battle to getting a product used. If a user can't figure out on
their own how to use a tool, they may feel it's too risky to put into
production where they work. That's a lost "sale". Despite this being
open source, you are in competition with other solutions and you can't
really afford to lose out to the competition just because they have
better documentation.

I'm sure other open source project members have more ideas and
strategies. I again would emphasize the XalanJ team as one that got it


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Cliff Schmidt [mailto:cliff@bea.com]
> Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2004 3:53 PM
> To: xmlbeans-dev@xml.apache.org
> Subject: RE: XMLBeans ready to exit incubation?
> Excellent point, Jim -- what are your ideas on how to help build a
> self-supporting user community?
> Cliff

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