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Re: Emacs, oldsters, newbiness (was: Emacs Wiki Revision History)

From: Alex Schroeder
Subject: Re: Emacs, oldsters, newbiness (was: Emacs Wiki Revision History)
Date: Fri, 24 Oct 2008 03:14:21 -0700 (PDT)
User-agent: G2/1.0

On 24 Okt., 10:31, Paul R <address@hidden> wrote:
> But making emacs more accessible to the newcomers is a whole project
> in itself. Emacswiki, in spite of its relative mess, is clearly a step
> in this direction. Though, I'm afraid there is not so much room for
> improvement in this area as long as core developers show constant
> reluctance to change the defaults of emacs, which are most of this
> high, rough, wall.

You are right. If you look around Emacs Wiki, you'll notice that
there's a set of pages reachable from the SiteMap that is geared
towards newbies. It tells them how the wiki works, how to navigate,
how to search, how to learn Emacs, and so on. Most of this area is the
work of Drew Adams. It is this kind of effort that is required. Thank
you, Drew Adams!

I hang out on #emacs a lot. Whenever there's an Emacs related question
that has no answer on the wiki, I try to write a wiki page instead of
just answering it. Or if I cannot I'll give the person whatever help I
can and tell them to put the solution on a wiki once they figured it
out. Sometimes that works. It's a way of growing the wiki in
directions that people actually use.

On #emacs, we also have a bot called fsbot, who knows the names of all
Emacs Wiki pages, it knows all the names of the manual nodes, and it
has a lot of user-level redirections and cross references. Together,
fsbot and the wiki make a very impressive team.

I guess that Google and the wiki should be equally good, but since I
rarely google for my Emacs problems, I can't tell.

My point is that looking at the Emcs Wiki on its own might be short-
selling it. It often works as a text resource for other services --
web search, IRC bots, and maybe mailing lists and newsgroups. It has
been a long time since I posted a lot on :)

Oh and one last thing: Some defaults were in fact changed in Emacs 23.
I was confused. But I'm willing to make that sacrifice if it attracts
some new users to Emacs. Let's hope we're on the right track.

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