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rfc:rfc545

Network Working Group J. Pickens Request for Comments: 545 UCSB Computer Systems Laboratory NIC: 17791 23 July 1973 References: RFC 531,369. 519

          OF WHAT QUALITY BE THE UCSB RESOURCE EVALUATORS?
                  A Response to "Feast of Famine"
 In RFC 531, M.A. Padlipsky complains that the UCSB resource
 evaluators were derelict in not consulting the Resource Notebook for
 available documentation.  In addition, Padlipsky equates the goals of
 the resource evaluators to the goals of the software repository
 advocaters.  A misunderstanding exists and perhaps, with this note,
 may be cleared.
 To respond to Padlipsky's example of UCSB botching login attempts let
 me make two comments.  First, more people than the resource
 evaluators were accessing the ARPANET.  The group of evaluators, at
 least, knew the login procedure from the Resource Notebook. (By the
 way, we do have a Multics Programmers Manual.) Second, the OLS TELNET
 echoes no lower case, which can generate confusion.  Even UCSB's
 technical liaison, after consulting the Resource Notebook, managed to
 botch his login.
 The first law of resource evaluation, at least for UCSB evaluators,
 is "read the Resource Notebook!" (RFC 369, incidentally, was based on
 a Resource Notebook that was barren compared to the notebook of
 today.)  Questions left unanswered by the Notebook are resolved by
 accessing online documentation first at the NIC and second at the
 site being evaluated.  If, after all this effort, questions still
 exist, then a consultant is contacted.  Consultation may be either
 online or by telephone and may entail purchasing appropriate user
 manuals (for some of the resources we evaluated, no manuals existed).
 Our approach has been to consult the most publicly available
 documentation first.  Only if the advertised paths fail do we resort
 to personal contact with a (busy) technical liaison.  If technical
 liaisons wish to be consultants for uninitiated users and feel that
 this is their role we will gladly modify our behavior.
 There certainly is a meal, to use Padlipsky's analogy, of
 documentation already available on the Network.  However, a meal is
 no good without silverware.  Site specific and function specific
 MINIMANS (see RFC 369 and RFC 519) are attempts to provide this
 tableware.  Our first-pass MINIMANS are available on request for
 those who would like to see what we are trying to do.

Pickens [Page 1] RFC 545 OF WHAT QUALITY BE THE UCSB 23 July 1973

 Resource evaluators are concerned with much more than documentation.
 A closer reading of prior RFC's would have shown that we investigate
 dynamic phenomenon such as help facilities, online consultation,
 response time, reliability, and human engineering.  We make
 suggestions for improvement.  Indeed we see ourselves, at least for
 UCSB users, in the role of plain clothes inspector.  We don't claim
 absolute efficiency but we do claim good intent and good results.  We
 have spurred improvements at local as well as foreign network sites.
 We apologize to any we may have offended in the past with poor
 reviews.  We are learning, continually, how best to say things in a
 constructive rather than destructive way.
       [ This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry ]
      [ into the online RFC archives by Javier Echeverria 2/98 ]

Pickens [Page 2]

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