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Section A.4 Personal Email

How do we put this politely? Personal email to the core PreTeXt developers should be your last resort. We are not unfriendly—just the opposite. We would love to hear from you, but in the groups. Here is the rationale:

  • You may get a better answer from somebody who is not the most active developer, but understands your particular need better than anybody else. You will never get that answer with a personal email.
  • Developers teach university courses, travel to professional meetings, sleep at night, take naps, turn off their email for big coding pushes, and sometimes travel in the wilderness and are offline for days at a time. You are likely to get quick responses from the core developers through the groups, but if they are not available a personal email may get a slower response. (I am inclined to answer posts on the groups before I work through personal email.)
  • Many contributors prefer to provide help in a public forum because then their efforts are more widely recognized.
  • Your question, and its answer, are searchable by others. (The groups and issues are public.) A personal email is no help to anybody else.
  • We prefer to make as many decisions as possible openly. So a discussion on a public group or site is there for all to see, now and later.
  • We depend on granting agencies for much of our funding. Membership in groups, forks on GitHub, activity in the groups, number of issues, and number of contributors to the repository, are all crude measures of the health of the project. Personal emails add nothing to those measures.
  • Everybody who has committed their big writing project to PreTeXt likes to see an active, responsive, friendly community supporting its use and growth. Just by asking a necessary question, you can add to that community.

We understand that nobody likes to pop their head up and ask a “stupid question.” But it is counter-productive to do personally what we can do better collectively. The groups are friendly forums (we will enforce that if we ever have to) and everybody there made an initial post once. And the group members largely enjoy sharing their advice, experience, and knowledge. So, please make a contribution simply by saving the personal emails for that which really is personal. Thanks, and we'll look forward to chatting with you on the groups!