[PGCanada] Moving ahead with PGCanada

Andrew Sly sly at victoria.tc.ca
Fri Jan 14 00:27:24 PST 2005

Seeing the messages posted to this mailing list in the last week has
made me reevaluate my position relative to PG of Canada.

I had just assumed that work was going on behind the scenes, and
eventually, something would come out.

When I read James' message of Jan. 6, that made me consider what
the possibility was of taking a more active role myself.

Right now, I really want this to happen, so I will begin trying to act
as "main organizer" unless any objections are made.

First of all, I assume that we are working together, doing this as a

Because we are a group, there are issues that will have to be
worked out, either ahead of time, or as they happen to come up.

If you are a single person making your own collection of books, such as
Stephen Davies at Gaslight (http://gaslight.mtroyal.ab.ca/), or Aurthur
Wendover at Arthur's Classic Novels (http://arthursclassicnovels.com/),
then you can work details out as you go along, and handle them in your
own way, because no one else needs to be aware of the details.

But with more people, communication of some kind is needed. In my
experience, if you get four PG volunteers discussing a particular
topic, you already are likely to have five different viewpoints.
These are the kind of ever-circling discussions that James has
expressed a distaste for. But an exchange of views must happen
unless we want to just have one person dictating "This is how
it's going to be!"

I must make comparisons here with what I know, which is
what I've seen with volunteers for PG-US. Despite some people
who argue to the contrary, PG has traditionaly avoided dictating
how details ought to be handled and been very open to volunteers
who want to do things a little differently. What this means is
that there have been many times when, for one particular detail,
you have had various volunteers each use their own preferred
method, and then eventually a consensus would emerge, and later
it would be stated as a "rule".

A good example of this is italics. In PG plain text files, you can
find italics indicated /like this/ or LIKE THIS or _like this_ as well
as occasionally other methods. In the end the use of _underscores_
has become the "rule". This approach of gradually letting a consensus
find itself can be seen in many other places, such as the encoding of
emdashes, use of HTML markup, how and when "new editions" are made, etc.

This has the benefit of encouraging volunteers, and, I would argue, is
partly responsible for the continuous growth PG has seen. However, it
does mean that there are a vast number of undocumented inconsistencies
in the PG archive, ranging from the very small to the glaringly large.

I would like PG of Canada to be more restrictive in its "guidelines",
even if this does mean that fewer titles will be contributed.

Right now I would suggest that effort should go toward getting the
legalities and a basic framework for a preliminary set of test files
in place.


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