N. Carroll

Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2000 13:47:09 -0800

From:   N. Carroll
Reply-To: ohs-dev@bootstrap.org

To:     ohs-dev@bootstrap.org

Subject:   Posting questions for Doug: some suggestions

Spoke to Doug yesterday. He said that he is willing (or did he say "happy"? ... one of the two) to respond to questions on this hypermail list, but wishes they were more specific. Some particular points we went over (my comments in parens):

  1. Keep it specific.

    (Doug gets plenty of email. While he apparently saves most of it, the volume means that specific questions rise to the top of the heap.)

  2. Try to use one of his papers -- or one he is likely to have read in detail -- as the launch point for the question. (A recent example would be....


    ....which contains plenty of specifics to think about.)

  3. Give a reference.

    Almost anything Doug has written contains paragraph anchors. (E.g., refer to


    ....not "paragraph 8 in the OHS draft plan." It probably doesn't hurt to mention the title of the paper, though Doug seems to remember most papers by number as well.)

  4. Avoid jargon when possible.

    (Doug has traditionally gone his own way in research. Obviously this bears fruit. However, it also means he doesn't keep up with all the current acronyms, e.g., Xpath, UML, ASP.... Keep it in plain English, and you may be pleasantly surprised to find he's already thought about that point.)

On a more general note (completely my own opinions):

Obviously Doug isn't scared of a big canvas -- but on the *technology* side of things, he likes to build out of a series of precise, carefully considered strokes, on top of a mapped architecture. I would describe it as: on the human side, dream big; on the technical side, get it right.

Also, Doug is more systems designer than coder. Sooner or later, usually sooner, he wants to know how it relates to functionality or architecture.



Nicholas Carroll
Alternate: ncarroll@iname.com