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On 2013-01-13 19:40, Tom Davies wrote:

Generally i think most people agree that despite the heroic efforts of
all too few people the built-in help is a bit of an out-dated pita. 

So far I haven't had the chance to look closely at the built in help; I
will therefore take your word about it and act accordingly.

Editing it is a pain because it requires a good understanding of Xml and
IDs and stuff that most good documenter's don't want to know about and
most people that do know it are a little too geeky to be good

Ain't it the truth. Until recently in most cases the documenters did not
have the status that developers historically had.  Only recently has
Debian accorded both equal status in the community.  I myself have
considerable experience in drafting manuals, but unfortunately I don't
have the time to take on any major document drafting tasks.  If I am
frustrated enough to want to redraft a paragraph or two which needs
changing I could probably do so, but I am like most documenters and
don't want to bother myself with XML and IDs etc.  One of my major
complaints relates to the indexing; it is often less than intuitive.

Despite that we have had some great contributions from
people but it's not been enough to turn around Sun's misguided attempt
to 'upgrade' from the previous help system. 


On the other hand the full Guides are fairly awesome and very pretty so
it's worth downloading a few or even buying the printed versions from
Lulu. Here's the wiki showing all the guides and (at the moment) still 
various old editions
but the official site
is probably easier for people to understand because it selects the ones
from the wiki that are the most recent fully completed and doesn't list
the ultra-new individual chapters nor the old archived ones. 

I would prefer anything that can be downloaded to my own computers or
even printed because I am frequently in parts of the world where
internet access -- when it works -- can be very slow.

Could someone write an Faq about how to get the inbuilt help working on
those rare times when it goes wonky and add it to the wiki?

The archives are painful.  The search seemed completely useless to me.  I got 33 results with 
none of them being even vaguely relevant.  Searching the archives never seems to get good results 
for me.  I put quotes around parts of it
"built-in help" - "how to activate it"
and that seemed to get results that were slightly more relevant but none of them seemed to solve 
the problem.  

The Ask LO bot is a good attempt to improve on the problems with the archives but the forums 
might be more helpful because they are more familiar interfaces for people.  

Would it be better to improve the indexing first and take care of the
text if, as and when problems with it are discovered by someone
frustrated enough to want to change it?  For example, creation of a
pop-up window in the Writer Language window explaining that to get the
contextual F1 help -- such as it is -- what is required in the language
window to actuate it.  Windows are frequently such a pain!

Regards, Ken Heard

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