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RE: [ Revision #2 ] 15 elementary truths about XML

  • From: Norm Birkett <Norm.Birkett@reval.com>
  • To: "Costello, Roger L." <costello@mitre.org>
  • Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 17:04:04 -0400

RE:  [ Revision #2 ] 15 elementary truths about XML
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Chris Burdess [mailto:dog@bluezoo.org]
> Let's imagine that there is a mailing list for Formula One automotive
> engineers to discuss Formula One technology and rules and keep abreast
> of developments in the field. Is it appropriate on this list to ask
> questions like "what is a car?" "does it have to have wheels?" "how do
> you win a race?" or "is it always the first car to cross the line that
> wins the race?", do you think?

The appropriateness of asking such questions would depend on the list's
stated purpose, wouldn't it? And the way you've stated the purpose in
your example, I can't see why they wouldn't be appropriate.

More to the present point, however, it is safe to say that asking such
questions would bore or annoy some people on such a list, while it would
engage others. And some of those who were bored or annoyed might
complain about the questions being inappropriate.

> I agree that it *can* yield new insights, but how often *has* it
> actually done so on this mailing list in response to one of Roger's
> questions?

I couldn't and wouldn't venture to answer your broader question, but I
can say that, as an XML newbie, I found the recent exchange sharpened my
thinking on several points, and in any case was easily deleted from my
inbox after I read/skimmed it. 

But then, I suppose I have a conflict of interest here, as someone who
wants to feel free to ask what might turn out to be dumb questions.

Norm Birkett

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