Lori Cole wrote:

I think I will start attending a local user group rather than using this
list as I think people behave differently face to face[...]

Lowri, I agree that people sometimes behave differently face to face. My impression is that the response you received was not due to any sexism - there are many women who participate in this list. Your impression may be due to what some might style arrogance but I would simply call it impoliteness. Taking the time to construct thoughtful responses in language that will most benefit the audience rather than the reputation of the writer is something we all need a reminder on now and again I think.

What I would say is that after many years of participating in mailing lists etc. what's often lacking is courtesy and social skills rather than willingness to share knowledge. In fact it's the opposite; knowledge is often shared willingly for a price which can sometimes include an impolite tone to the language. I do not relate this to the WSG list specifically, IMO it is a symptom of online communities generally and perhaps egos specifically.

There are many contributors to this mailing list that are worth listening to even if some of the language gives the impression of lacking in graciousness. I'd say that any lapse only relects on the person writing not the audience reading, nor the list in general from my observations. So don't miss out on the important bit regardless of anything else: The knowledge.

I am just using Notepad now to write SCRICT code and rather than reaching
for a reference book to remember a small detail or rather than running it
through a validator, I thought a text editor might help. I can certainly
research text editors myself but thought my question would be interesting
for this list to address in terms of trying to stick to standards.

Other have advised on specific tools. My advice would be that colour highlighting of code will help you immensly as you learn and many free editors either support standards / xhtml etc or have user-contributed plug-ins to do so. Cheking your code with the a validator will also help you along the way. In any case, you can definitely do better than notepad. Good luck.

Jon Tan

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