Gray, Eric wrote:
While an interesting turn of phrase, "hair shirt approach"
is hardly an accurate analogy, nor is it particularly apt to compare
presentation materials (where there's a real live person in front
of you to answer questions) with specifications (where there usually
Indeed - where there is a person, the audience can ask questions of
clarification, but an document must stand by itself. Clarity is
therefore more important in a document, and we should therefore
use the best tools available.
One dilemma associated with unlimited scope for complex drawing
is the fact that group-thinking rarely ever results in simplification
(for pictures in particular, especially when those pictures are meant
to be normative). While an author, editor or working group may want
to keep figures/pictures simple, what are the criteria we should use
to determine when an appropriate level of complexity is achieved?
Occam's razor seems to be the best criteria for such a dilemma.
Using a primitive presentation mechanism as a substitute for
peer review on the appropriateness of the solution seems something
of a cop-out that harms our ability to produce the most appropriate
solution described in the clearest possible way.
I would argue that those criteria would be along the lines of
what I suggested earlier - irrespective of the editing technology we
might use. And that would go along with the notion of using the
simplest common document format sufficient for the task.
I don't much care what technology we use, that is not a key issue for
me. The key issue is to be able to describe a protocol using the
most appropriate mixture of clear English, clear diagrams and if
necessary pseudo-code. We can do the first and the last but seem
reluctant to recognize the need for the middle.
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