[ic] RTFM?

F. James Rohlf rohlf@life.bio.sunysb.edu
Mon, 2 Apr 2001 01:30:50 -0400

I probably should stay out of this discussion for risk of offending others
again but ...

If I find many users often make the same mistake in using my software then I
take that as strong evidence that my UI was designed poorly. If users keep
asking the same questions then I assume my documentation is not as useful as
it should be -- e.g., the wrong questions are listed in my FAQ file and my
introductory User Guide is not really doing its job. It is
counter-productive to get upset with the users - they are your customers -
and customers are always right -- even though they can be frustrating.

If the Interchange list keeps seeing the same questions then someone needs
to update and reorganize the FAQ file. It is not reasonable to ask everyone
to sift through all the IC archives for the past year before they can ask a
question. It is reasonable to ask them to check a well-organized and indexed
FAQ file first. Even better would be for the documentation to be updated on
a regular basis as questions are asked about particular features where the
documentation is unclear. Why not take advantage of the fact that the
documentation is on-line so it can easily be undated - at least add

Probably most people reading this list are devoting a fair amount of effort
trying to understand IC - at least enough to get a store up and running the
way they want. The conflict is that most of us also have other
responsibilities that demand our attention. We don't have the luxury of
spending a year to become at one with IC. Like others have commented, I too
have printed out all the PDF files and have turned every page and stuck
post-it notes on many of the page so I can find them again. I suspect that
most readers of this list are pretty smart and could make IC do pretty neat
things if just they had the information they needed.

It is clear that IC is very powerful and well-designed (I am quite
impressed) but reading its documentation and learning how to use IC is
frustrating because it is more difficult than it should be.  I could use an
"IC for Dummies" book to get me started and then I could go into the details
when I need them.