Wednesday, 2014-11-12

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dbsAgain, first person can work and be an effective approach if, say, there's a given chapter that focuses on the experience of a C&CSC investigation and the intro makes it clear that it was Denver and bkhuhn10:42
dbsBut if it's sprinkled throughout the entire text, maybe not so much.10:42
bkuhn(BTW, the "new phrase" is CCS.  I dropped the & back in the late 2000s when aaronw pointed out that the words 'complete' and 'corresponding' are actually never connected with "and" anywhere in the text of GPLv2 nor GPLv3.)10:44
bkuhn(I also never used the 'C' at the end, I guess because I thought sourcecode was one word, and also because GPL calls it "source code" and "source" interchangeably)10:45
bkuhndbs: As pehjota was saying elsewhere, I think first person is a mistake for the Guide, in part because there are so many authors anyway.10:45
bkuhnI'm using now a mix of second person for instructive material and and third person when communicating policy motivations and opinions (ala "most copyleft advocates argue")10:46
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pehjotaI'd agree that in text written by a small number of authors working closely together the first person is best for describing actions and experiences of the authors.  But in text where there are many authors and it's not clear who wrote what, the first person can be confusing and problematic.11:50
pehjotaThe book Open Advice handles this by having one author write each chapter and listing each chapter's author.  I think it works well there, but I'm not sure if that's best for this guide.11:51
pehjotaOf course, the first person could still be used to include the authors and the audience, e.g. "We can see that …" or "This shows us that …".  This is common in some textbooks.11:52
paulOr just try avoid first/third person constructs.11:56
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bkuhnYeah, I think I'm convinced to eradicate first-person-ism in the Guide.... I'd actually already been doing that anyway.11:58
bkuhnI still use third person a lot where appropriate, but I'm open-minded if people think it's causing trouble.11:58
paul"We can see from how the foo is constructed what polarity of the bar should be." → "The construction of the foo determines the polarity of the bar".11:59
paulunless it /matters/ to whom the opinion being given should be attributed to, 1st/3rd person just leads to clutter.12:00
* pehjota wonders if the academic "we" is somehow derived from the royal "we".12:00
bkuhnBut I still need to be able to say: "copyleft advocates generally agree..." for things that aren't facts.12:00
bkuhnParticularly for points where this "almost consensus"12:01
dbsAcademics write "One" rather than "We"12:01
bkuhnOh geez, I hate the "one" thing.12:01
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dbsSo do I12:01
bkuhnOne finds it annoying to read one's own text, no longer  written in one's own style, but in a style that pointlessly use the word "one" as if it is the word "man" in German.12:02
* paul prefers "one" to "we" ;)12:02
paul(least in some cases)12:02
paulbkuhn: yeah, when precision matters about who thinks what, "the authors believe", etc.12:02
paulbut that doesn't mean everything has to be cast in 3rd person :)12:03
paulbkuhn: oh definitely, needless use of either just leads to cluttered, flowery text.12:03
bkuhnMeanwhile and unrelated, I think an interesting thing is happening organically as I work on the Guide.  Specifically, the commit logs are becoming effectively a "commentary" on the work and why it's constructed.  I suppose that's what VCS logs are supposed to do, but I hadn't really considered what that meant for a tutorial text (as oppose to software).12:21
bkuhn is an interesting example of what I'm talking about.12:21
dbsgood commit log entry!12:29
dbskfogel has pretty expressive entries too12:30
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bkuhnThanks. :)12:39
pehjotaThe commit message is longer than the change is. :)13:50
bkuhnpehjota: as it should be, I think. :)13:53
pehjotaI've had that happen a few times in software repositories.  I'm starting to think though that maybe some such commentary should go directly in the work, as comments or footnotes, unless the information is sufficiently specific and generally unimportant to require deep repository investigation to find.13:58
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warppehjota: I think the repository as a whole should be considered the work.14:13
warppehjota: to me, the "preferred form of modification" is the dvcs repository with full history.14:13
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yrkwarp: that would be hard to distribute on a t-shirt14:42
pehjotawarp: You know, you could extend that to say that the mailing list(s) on which changes are posted and discussed before merging should be included with the work too.  And the bug tracker. :)15:00
pehjotawarp: But yeah, having (D)VCS commit logs for reference is often useful when modifying a work.15:01
pehjota(As would be a snapshot of the developer's thoughts when writing some parts of some code, heh.)15:01
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bcottoni’ve considered taking fontana’s commit history from copyleft-next and turning it into a short book about the history of the gpl.15:25
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bkuhnbcotton: ??? I'm confused, is there really *that* much history of GPL in copyleft-next's Git repository?  I haven't read every commit message, but that honestly seems unlikely.15:27
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bkuhnbcotton: .... but, if you want to write a material about the history of the GPL, I suggest you improve the sections in gpl-lgpl.tex in this project; there's a brief history of GPL already there.15:28
bkuhn(and you could incorporate Fontana's work from copyleft-next's DVCS logs, since that's CC0)15:28
bcottonbkuhn: i might be exaggerating a bit. when the project first started there were a lot of multi-paragraph commits. for someone who didn’t previously know the history, it was a great primer (though undoubtedly incomplete and in some cases disputed)15:29
bcottonbkuhn: i definitely intend to do just that once i learn how to not oversubscribe myself quite so much. completing my thesis should free up a little bit of time here soon15:29
bkuhnYeah, so I'd appreciate if you'd take a  look at what's in the tutorial repository now, and offer merge requests to add what you learned from copyleft-next repository.15:30
bcottonwill do. i just won’t make any promises about a timeline :-)15:31
bkuhnNo problem.  This is a marathon, not a sprint, anyway.15:31
bkuhn(Even though I've been sprinting on it for two weeks straight almost, as I did back in Feb. 2014, but I'm going to have to stop that soon and go back to marathon mode. ;)15:32
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