[texhax] Bilbliography problem

Philip G. Ratcliffe philip.ratcliffe at uninsubria.it
Wed Nov 9 12:45:15 CET 2005

And this my last offering.

> > Robin, I think it would be a shame to loose you. I learned a lot
> > from the answers you (and others) gave to the questions on this
> > list, and I would miss them.

I would too!

> I've probably asked about 5 questions to this list.  Each time, Robin
> Fairbanks says something impolite, and short, and then presses send.

Oh dear, into swashbuckling now, are we?

> twenty minutes later someone with more tact answer my question
> satisfactorily, and I go about my business.

Hmm, twenty minutes and a satisfacory answer?  A pity that I somehow suspect
that this is NOT a veiled criticism of Uwe's UN-helpful postings after 3 and
4 days!

Please, see my last posting, but really has anyone here actually read
Robin's original reply?  I can't for the life of me find anything tactless
or impolite.  Uwe decided to have a go at him on this occasion (without, I
repeat, actually offering any help to Zak) for some personal and (to me)
obscure reason, to which Robin (understandably) took offence.  And now any
number of posters have jumped on the band-wagon.

> This seems to be a trend for most new and mid level users.  I don't see
> exactly what we're loosing here, except the extra delite of someone
> immediataly deriding us, before someone else eventually comes along to
> answer the question.

Well, for those who've never even bothered to take a look at the FAQ linked
at the bottom of every single posting to this list and who therefore don't
actually have even the vaguest idea of the author's name ... no loss at all.
For those of us who appreciate a commitment to helping people in a permanent
way and not simply the ability(?) to dazzle with Poirot-like solutions of
robotic who-dunnits ... more than a loss, it's an intolerable inversion of

Since the posting from Reinhard came through while writing this, let me
remark (as I have done on many occasions) that at least 50% of the
answers/help I have given on this list come straight out of the FAQ (written
by ... Robin).  That is, I open the pdf copy always kept close at hand, leaf
through the contents list at the front and find the relevant section, where
at least 9/10 times I find the answer immediately.

Finally, to Susan, three-year olds do indeed have a right to ignore
etiquette and to a certain self-centredness but, seriously, posters to this
list hardly fall into the infant category.  Put in such terms, the list
would merely be a help-desk for freeloaders.  It is not - rather, it is, I
believe (wrongly?), a spontaneous and voluntary mutual aid organisation
composed of people (i.e., human beings with all their weaknesses) willing to
share their knowledge and give up their time in a _constructive_ and
_lasting_ way.

Oops, now I'm going over the top ...  Nevertheless, my four-and-a-half and
six-and-a-half year olds seem to respond much, much more to a sensible dose
of "try to sort it out for yourself first" than to "let me do it for you
dear".  In any case, I'd put my money on them any day.

Cheers all,  Phil

P.S.  Robin has rapped my knuckles on more than one occasion over my
careless reference to specific FAQ's, but I never even remotely thought of
it as an insult or of getting nasty as a back-reaction ...

P.P.S.  At least in Great Britain the Robin is a protected species ...
evidently, not without good reason!

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