OASIS Mailing List ArchivesView the OASIS mailing list archive below
or browse/search using MarkMail.


Help: OASIS Mailing Lists Help | MarkMail Help

dita-adoption message

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]

Subject: Re: [dita-adoption] Decisions on future meetings and activities

Hello all,

The only condition on which I would keep the Adoption TC alive is a radical change in what it is doing. If that radical change does not come, I see no future for the committee and I will certainly not be part of it anymore. I know I have been inactive for a long time and the reasons for my inactivity and silence are exactly the ones why I am making such a bold statement to start this reaction. I apologize if I am stepping on some toes in this e-mail. This is not meant to be a personal critique on anyone in particular, but to me it is increasingly frustrating to see how a good concept (DITA) is not selling (especially in Europe) and to see the totally ineffective way we (meaning OASIS and all its DITA-related committees) are selling it to the general public. It is no coincidence that I gave a (very successful) presentation at DITA Europe in 2009, titled "Geeks don't sell DITA". They still don't. And we are still much too geeky about DITA.

About one year ago I started a discussion on what the Adoption TC should and should not do. Although several people agreed that we had to refocus and rethink the basic assumptions for our existence, that discussion was never taken through to a conclusion. It dwindled and in the end nothing has changed to what the Adoption TC is doing. We keep focusing on writing articles that take an enormous amount of time to get through our own consensus process and then comply with all the details that OASIS imposes. In my view, we should not be writing articles at all. We should become just a little modern and leave the old practice of writing fully approved white papers behind. They have not worked well in the past, and with the pace of today's internet-driven world they are going to be even less effective in the future. White papers are simply not selling products nor standards. They used to, in the old days when most computer users were scientists, but those days are long gone and we are still applying those outdated principles.

Adoption of DITA is NOT served by a small group of DITA experts discussing articles at length and then fighting over nitty gritty formatting details with OASIS staff. We should be facilitating information about DITA, not creating that info ourselves. The focus area could have been a good idea to really focus on, but this has been left to a subcommittee that has been dead for years. The focus area itself is in a pretty hopeless state and not many people that I know are using it to find information about DITA. It needs work. It needs life, energy, enthusiasm and it should be much much sexier than it is today. Driving adoption does not address people who already know DITA and need more detailed information. Adoption should target people who have are totally new to DITA. People we know and believe would benefit enormously from using DITA to finally meet their deadlines, to become more consistent and efficient in their tech docs.

Looking at other intellectual products you see a completely different strategy for their adoption. They might not have the same rigour as an approved standard, but then adoption should be driving standards, not the other way around. Most of those fast adoption processes were driven by social media, not by white papers and approved articles. Nobody really cares whether an article is fully approved and whether the information in it is 100% correct. If it gives you pretty reliable information lightning fast you are willing to cope with some inconsistencies now and again. It keeps you moving and it also keeps you thinking for yourself.

Social media would all die if we applied the same rules and processes to the info that is spread there. Just imagine writing a tweet, having it reviewed and spelled out and discussed to the bone in a series of two-weekly meetings for a couple of months, then having it up for public review for 30 days before it is finally officially published on twitter.

Our world has become so fast that any process involving rigorous review of articles is bound to drop off the edge and make no impact whatsoever. So, to conclude this rant: keeping the Adopton TC alive would only get my vote if 1) the T is fully dropped from the TC (I mean in the practical sense, as I really don't care how you call it) and 2) we find areas outside the boring and bureaucratic OASIS domain to do what we are supposed to do, which is to get people to know about DITA and to want more information on it. Not spelling out the truth about DITA but MAKING SOME NOISE about it. In the end it does not matter so much what people are saying about your product, as long as they talk about it. It will stirr up the interest in DITA and of course we can point them roughly in the right direction when they ask us. Roughly, not rigorously.

In this way I feel we can make a difference. And making a difference is what this type of volunteer work is really about. I have too many projects to be spending my time and energy on work that does not have any impact whatsoever.

Kind regards


JANG Communication
Coaching - Copywriting - Consulting
Amsterdam - Netherlands
Tel.  +31 20 755 8466
Cell +31 6 5478 1632

On 3 okt. 2012, at 17:30, JoAnn Hackos wrote:

> Dear Friends and Colleagues:
> Jordan Jones and I had a discussion this week about the future of the DITA Adoption TC. I have a very difficult schedule for the next two months and Jordan now has a conflict with another business meeting on Mondays. So—I will cancel the meeting for Monday.
> Frank Miller has made progress with Chet Ensign to add OASIS links to our XLIFF feature article. Perhaps we can get it out for review. Of course, that means another 30-day delay while we wait for comments from the entire OASIS community.
> Attendance at our meetings has been very low lately and very discouraging for me. It also seems impossible to get anyone to volunteer to help with writing articles, organizing and handling webinars, and generally doing the business of the community in an energetic way. I'm getting tired too. Despite that, I believe there is much we could contribute to the DITA community.
> I would like to ask each of you for your feedback. 
> 	• Do you think there is a role for this committee in the future?
> 	• Are you interesting in continuing the work of the DITA Adoption committee?
> 	• If you are, will you attend future meetings and volunteer to support our activities?
> 	• Would you prefer to have the meetings once a month rather than every two weeks? Would that make attendance easier?
> If I don't get responses, I'll conclude that you are no longer interested in participating.
> Best regards,
> JoAnn
> JoAnn T. Hackos, PhD
> President
> Comtech Services Inc.
> 710 Kipling Street, Suite 400
> Denver, CO 80215
> Joann.hackos@comtech-serv.com
> 303-232-7586

[Date Prev] | [Thread Prev] | [Thread Next] | [Date Next] -- [Date Index] | [Thread Index] | [List Home]