[Koha] Arrangement schemes fairness and utility

Thomas Dukleth kohalist at agogme.com
Mon Oct 26 13:29:33 NZDT 2009

There was much discussion of the issue of the arrangement of  listings on
the pay for support page in May, when LibLime introduced the new Plone
based website.  I think that it is the least important part of the
koha.org website, although, understandably it was highly contentious part
of discussions in May.

The most important comment I have to make on the issue is that we should
not be telling the user what the user should value most as a criteria for
arranging support companies.  There was some support in May for offering
multiple views of support company listings and allowing every user to use
one more allowing each to satisfy his own particular interests.

Publicly shared arrangement schemes should be both fair and useful.


Utility should be rationally related to the function provided.  Quality of
support services or various types of support services would be the most
useful means of ordering but we have no fair objective means of measuring
quality of support services.  Such judgements are best left to the
prospective customer.  See section, "Rational schemes and
irrational measures", in my first comment on the new Plone based website
in May, http://lists.koha.org/pipermail/koha-devel/2009-May/009541.html . 
We should not pretend to measure what we cannot actually measure.

Other less fundamental aspects of support services such as geographic and
linguistic measures also entail a point of view about the arrangement of
geographic areas or languages in any particular presentation.

Geographic areas have to be ordered in some manner.  Maps have an
orientation and distortions of projection.  One aspect of Paul Poulain's
point about maps is that maps are liable to show empty regions unless all
regions would be filled by those offering support services everywhere. 
Text based arrangement of geographical information avoids some problems of
visual maps and should not be excluded from a geographical presentation.

Languages have to be ordered in some manner.

Historical arrangement may have value to some but it should actually be
historical.  The current arrangement on Koha.org is not historical.

The alphabet is not a rational organisational scheme because it is
strictly arbitrary by the happenstance of the placement of letters.  It
has the virtue of being universally understood.  The arbitrary has the
possibility of seeming fair by being impartial but fairness is not a
necessary consequence of arbitrary impartiality.  Trade naming choices can
also be taken to ensure early placement in alphabetical ordering and undue
fairness but we have not seen that problem in the Koha community.

Thomas Dukleth
109 E 9th Street, 3D
New York, NY  10003
+1 212-674-3783

Original Subject:  Re: [Koha] Liblime, Koha, BibLibre and FLOSS
On Sun, October 25, 2009 18:36, Chris Nighswonger wrote:
> On Sun, Oct 25, 2009 at 12:59 PM, Paul Poulain
> <paul.poulain at biblibre.com> wrote:
>> Nicole Engard a écrit :
>>>     As long as Liblime is the only entity with complete control over
>>>     koha.org <http://koha.org>, that's not going to happen.
>>> The idea is that this is going to change - we're going to form a
>>> committee and work with the group we choose in the survey to control
>>> Koha assets.
>> You'll be surprised, but my vote is -1 : that could let ppl think noone
>> can provide commercial support in their area, which is not the case. And
>> being in a given country does not mean you work only in this country.
> This tendency could be offset by a simple note to the effect that
> many/all of these companies provide international support for Koha.
> Kind Regards,
> Chris
> _______________________________________________
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> Koha at lists.katipo.co.nz
> http://lists.katipo.co.nz/mailman/listinfo/koha

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