[sword-devel] summary

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Fri Nov 28 19:00:21 MST 2008

Matthew (and Chris),

On Fri, Nov 28, 2008 at 5:45 PM, Matthew Talbert <ransom1982 at gmail.com> wrote:
> Several alternatives have been mentioned. Instead of trying to deal
> with issues that might be present in any proposed solution, you have
> bluntly rejected all proposals.
> Chris, primarily because of your attitude in this and other times as
> well, going back for a couple of years, I am at the end of my patience
> for this project. I have no desire to help any longer. You do not
> understand, I think, that only the very brave would even consider
> suggesting something to you, because you almost always respond
> harshly. I have watched many new people come and go because of this.

I have to say a number of your sentiments I strongly agree with.  I
find most of Chris' messages on the public list to either be
unnecessarily technical, overly perfectionist and usually acerbic.
Often, after reading a series of messages and responses between he and
another person, I feel as you do in the line you wrote below this.
Then I have to think:

If we, as Christians, can't work together towards the goal of
producing Bible software... ouch!  So I don't like Chris on e-mail
lists.  To tell the truth, when I look at a majority of the e-mails I
send on these lists, I probably wouldn't like myself, either.  All of
us have faults, we have rough edges, we chafe one another.  Those
under authority will always chafe under what they see as "oppressors"
and those in authority will always become exasperated with the vocal
"antagonists."  So we need to love each other, forgive each other and
work with each other.  That's what keeps me here, helping out with
SWORD and trying to figure out new ways to use it and push its
features - I don't care if someone, or even everyone, on the list is a
bit annoying to work with.

For Chris's lack of easy-goingness comes the following feature I've
found after some years of lurking on the lists: I've never seen him
pass up the opportunity to correct a question, issue or
misunderstanding that someone posts on the list about OSIS.  He
probably has the most vast store of personal knowledge on OSIS and its
semantics.  Every person I've seen post on the list saying, "I've been
trying to get such-and-such OSIS feature to work this way in SWORD and
it's not working," has received a response from Chris (or one of the
other OSIS gurus if they got to it first) explaining the proper use of
the feature.  Yeah, he jumps down peoples' throats if they start to
push for greater adoption of ThML or vpl or some other format, but he
doesn't leave those people stranded high and dry... it's just the
off-list support is a bit lacking.

So if modules are going to have to go through Chris, your best
solution is to make the module perfect.  Without great documentation,
that's not going to be easy at all.  So, as has been suggested, try
reading the examples which have been posted in the list, read OSIS
intro pages, and yeah - read the specification if you can manage (most
official grammar/specifications are incomprehensible without training
in Context-Free Grammars, but CGFs are surprisingly accessible).  Put
it to work in creating a module - make it a module of nursery rhymes
or family recipes with stories about them or something else like that
if you don't have anything else to use - and ask oodles of questions
on the list about aspects which confuse you, and document your
progress on the Wiki.  It might take bloody ages, but by the end of
it, you'll have a sample module, documentation about the process, and
such a deep understanding of OSIS that you probably won't know what to
do short of making more modules.  Keep them in SVN if you want, or git
or bazaar or something else so others can help support you.

Don't give up on SWORD.  The people here are dedicated, extremely
knowledgeable and very helpful... if you learn how to get the proper
help out of each one (asking very specific, pointed questions about
OSIS usually gets a response from Chris, asking detailed questions
about HTML or XML in general often gets a response from DM... who's
even taught me a thing or two about them, questions about front-ends
often get a response from Karl, Eeli, Martin, Manfred and recently
some others and so on).  If you still can't deal with the situation...
make your own repository like Karl has done, post it on the wiki, and
put anything you want into it.  I haven't seen much, if any,
consternation between Karl and Chris on the list since Karl's
repository went online.  He has good content, people enjoy it, use it,
and both he and Chris are happy with the arrangement.


> Best of luck to you and your project.
> Matthew
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