[clug] Man pages.

Bryan Kilgallin bryan at netspeed.com.au
Tue Jul 28 10:02:52 UTC 2015

Well, Scott:

It's all a matter of perspective.

> Why re-invent the wheel?

Much of an academic subject can be forgotten not long after an exam.

> There is nothing to stop you looking up the meaning online.

I don't have two computers, with monitors side-by-side. So that I may 
look up terms that haven't been explained. While I'm reading documentation!

> When addressing an audience the author has to consider the median average of the audience - you can't cater to every possibility.

A manufacturer made products to a 95% tolerance standard. Whose 
heart-pacemakers killed 5% of customers!

> Most good lecturers will re-assess the general level of the audience understanding early in the lecture and adjust accordingly.

Properly speaking, the goal should be to get everyone up to standard.

> That's not possible with written communications.

Self-paced learning by computer-aided instruction (CAI), can get there. 
It just takes longer.

> While the audience may well include non-surgeons, even ones who's language skills didn't extend past primary school level - lowering the standard so that the non-surgeon can understand things will: take so much time that the subject cannot be covered, which means the majority (surgeons) lose out; renders the point of the exercise moot (the outcome would be a lecture for one on the names of some of the bits inside a head).

Mass-lecturing is not the only instructional method. Computers are 
infinitely patient, and so can teach "forever"!

> Sam Couter has previously linked to a graphic example of what happens when you lower the level of accessibility to meet lowest possible common denominator:- (read it, it's completely jargon free)

A modem would enable dial-up connection. During handshaking it would 
determine communication speed.

> There's a difference between the mean average of the targeted audience and the lowest *common* denominator of all possible audiences.

This reminds me of the Marxist term "broad ranks of the masses". That's 
treating people statistically. A computerised medium can train users who 
learn at varying speeds. Like Microsoft applications might be commanded 
in three different ways.

> I've found that a good study practise (for me) is to try and know the basics about subject before attending a lecture, or reading a written guide, on it.

That worked for the first Haskell lecture. But the second was pitched 
way too high for the audience!

> But I'm lazy and don't like wasting my time if I can avoid it that.

I worked at a Middle Eastern oilfield. Which had a disaster. A well blew 
out hydrogen sulphide. The wellsite geologist stood on the geology lab 
with a megaphone. Telling people (in English) to climb up, as the gas 
was denser than air. But the foreman told the crew (in Arabic) to 
descend to sea level. Where they were gassed. Killing dozens! Ignorance 
combined with ineffective communication, can be expensive.

> As an audience member at a lecture I think my time is relatively less valuable than the rest of the audience.

Whereas with CAI everyone can get through--at varying speeds.

> That seems reasonable, don't you think?

It's not effective (as above). Because some are left behind.


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