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Proposal: Deep Dive into the Guile Docs & Makeover Proposal

From: Blake Shaw
Subject: Proposal: Deep Dive into the Guile Docs & Makeover Proposal
Date: Tue, 08 Feb 2022 14:36:45 +0700

Dear Guix (and guile users, who I've Cc'd),

My apologies for turning this in last minute. There had been discussion about 
this proposal on the guix mailing list, and I had missed that I need to submit 
a formal proposal until roptat mentioned it at Fosdem. Nonetheles here it is:

* TITLE:  A Deep Dive into the Guile Documentation & Makeover Proposal
* FORMAT: Standard Talk
* LENGTH: Approximately 30 minutes (pre-recorded)

Recent discussions on the Guix mailing list revealed that many in the Guix 
community have found the Guile Reference Manual difficult to navigate as 
newcomers. That should come as no surprise -- in PDF form, the docs span 
approximately /850 pages/, making it a quite hefty set of documents for an 
implementation of a minimal programming language like Scheme, even when 
compared to the documentation of relatively large PLs; the Racket Guide, for 
instance, is only 450 pages, while the Rust Book is approximately 550 pages.

Serving at once as a referrence manual & API specification, the large size may 
in part be attributed to what simultaneously makes Guile an appealing project 
to contribute to, while also rendering the documentation process somewhat 
delicate: Guile is a massive collective project featuring the contributions of 
many authors over the course of three decades, contributions which Guilers 
would hate to trivialize or treat as insignificant or edit away on a whim. 
Additionally, Guile comes from a long set of traditions within Scheme hacking 
which itself is deep with sage wisdom spanning many pedagogical philosophies 
and one of the greatest literature traditions of hacker culture. Is it possible 
to perform a makeover of the Guile Documentation while respecting these 
historical threads, at once rendering it more approachable for new users while 
not forsaking the deep nuggets of wisdom that lie therein?

Since mid-December I have been mulling over these questions as newcomer, both 
studying & analyzing the docs, and trying to come to grips with it's strengths 
and shortcomings. For this talk, I will present my research to the Guix 
community, culminating with a plan for a full makeover of the existing docs 
which would respect the above concerns. I will use the 5 minute presentation to 
focus on the plan of action, with hopes that during the Q&A we can come to 
consensus on what is to be done. The decisions made by the group will form the 
basis of a proposal to be made to the Guile community, and once everyone is in 
agreement with plans for how to move forward I will undertake the effort to 
implement the makeover proposal.

Additionally, as a newcomer to Guix, I will use the first 10 minutes of my talk 
to briefly introduce my work and how I'm using Guix & Guile to create a 
remotely deployed large-scale public interactive video mapping installation 
commissioned by the city of Singapore which will be installed in Marina Bay at 
the heart of the city this summer for 8 weeks from June - August 2022.     

* BIO:
Blake Shaw is a media artist and theorist most well known as one of the 
founders of the SWEATSHOPPE urban media art collective. His works have been 
shown in over 40 cities on every continent of the world (excluding Antarctica) 
at venues including: The Venice Biennale (2017), The Brooklyn Museum, Akademie 
de Kunste Berlin, The Museum of the Moving Image, The Biennial of the America, 
Luminato (Toronto), The Media Architecture Biennale, and the Museum of 
Contemporary Art Zagreb. His work have been featured in publications including 
The New York Times and the Atlantic, and online they have been viewed over 30 
million times across various channels. He holds a Masters degree in Philosophy 
from the EGS Switzerland, and was pursuing a PhD in the Philosophy of 
Mathematics under the supervision of Boris Groys prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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