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bug#2473: usability issues on emacs's describe-mode

From: Stefan Monnier
Subject: bug#2473: usability issues on emacs's describe-mode
Date: Thu, 26 Feb 2009 10:15:28 -0500
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/23.0.90 (gnu/linux)

> For example, when in w3m mode, which is a mode that allows you to browse the
> web pages, i type “Ctrl+h m” to read the online doc  about the mode's
> features. The result page starts like this:

>     Enabled minor modes: Abbrev Auto-Compression Blink-Cursor
>     Command-Frequency Command-Frequency-Autosave Delete-Selection
>     Desktop-Save Encoded-Kbd File-Name-Shadow Font-Lock Global-Font-
> Lock
>     Line-Number Menu-Bar Mouse-Wheel Recentf Shell-Dirtrack Show-Paren
>     Tooltip Transient-Mark Unify-8859-On-Encoding Utf-Translate-Cjk

>     (Information about these minor modes follows the major mode info.)

> It began by listing “minor-modes”. (What Emacs calls “minor modes”, is
> similar in concept to modern app's preference settings  and
> add-ons features.)

C-h m has historically listed both minor modes and major modes.
Originally, it listed first the major mode than the minor modes, and
people complained that the minor modes were buried and nobody could
notice them.  So we added a header like above to advertize the
minor-mode info that can be found further down.

OT1H I don't think it's as bad as you make it out to be: as you say, you
learn to ignore it, so it does what it's intended to do: teaches you of
the presence of the minor mode info without preventing you from seeing
the major mode info.

OTOH, I agree that many of the above modes shouldn't be there.
More specifically, I think that the above list should only list
buffer-specific information, i.e. only minor modes which are

The global minor modes could still be present in the *Help* buffer, but
then only at the very end, after the major mode and after the
buffer-local minor modes.


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