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bug#20968: 25.0.50; Be able to specify the output directory for `byte-co

From: Artur Malabarba
Subject: bug#20968: 25.0.50; Be able to specify the output directory for `byte-compile-file'
Date: Sat, 4 Jul 2015 12:10:36 +0100

>   . There are more places to search when you are after some specific
>     issue.

If you mean “a developer looking for the discussion around an old
bug”, see what I wrote on the 3rd item below.
If you mean “a user looking for an answer/solution to a
question/issue”, see here.

To most people nowadays there's only one place to search, their search
engine of choice. So, to them, it's not yet another place to search.
StackOverflow (SO) questions in particular are usually very easy to
find like that. When I have a programming question/issue I never visit
SO, I just Google it and 90% it lands me on SO, even if the post is
many years old.

It is much rarer for my searches to take me to a relevant mailing list
on the subject. And then I usually have to read through several
(many?) messages to get what I want, whereas SO posts are more focused
and self-contained.

Understand, I'm not arguing whether search engines do a good or a bad
job in that regard. I'm just saying that is where most people will
look for answers, and to them the availability of information on these
other sites only helps.

>   . Issues that reveal Emacs bugs are many times not reported to the
>     bug tracker, and remain unknown to us for many moons, sometimes
>     years.

That's probably true of other sites, but on emacs.stackexchange the
gurus are frequently telling users to file a report when something
looks like a bug (and so far I usually see them follow through). We
also occasionally tell them to file feature requests, and a lot of
times a new package/feature has arisen as a result of a question

>   . If and when people eventually do submit bug reports, they cannot
>     be bothered to report all the details, and just provide a link to
>     those "elsewhere" discussions, so whoever wants to fix the problem
>     needs to read through them, which is not easy (the messages aren't
>     sorted by date, etc.).
A discussion on SO usually consists of a question with comments (or an
answer with comments), and these comments are sorted by date. The
global list of questions is indeed not sorted by date. But if anyone
files a bug and links me to the site's frontpage instead of linking to
the specific discussion, then they're just being daft and I wouldn't
hesitate to ask for a better link (or, really, ask them to bring in
more information).

> This becomes worse as time goes by.  I had my share of fixing bugs
> caused by changes made years ago.  When that happens, you want to be
> able to establish (a) why was the change made, and (b) what was the
> use case or test case that served as the reason for the changes.
> That's because whatever change you are going to install, you will want
> to make sure it doesn't reintroduce back the original problem, so you
> will want a good understanding of that past issue, and a test case.
> Having to search 3 Emacs lists is already bad enough, having to search
> in addition 2 stack-foo forums, which are not archived by dates (at
> least I know of now way to search them given the date of the change in
> Emacs) makes that unbearable, so I usually give up.

Yes, that sounds frustrating. When a bug is filed it's definitely
important to have the bug information here. Some people have enough
common sense to do that when filing the bug, others will need to be
asked to do that.
Besides, links the one Drew provided above are pretty straightforward
too. If you follow it, it takes you straight to the post where a user
details his use-case and asks about such a feature. So there really
isn't any searching around involved (though I personally think all
these details should be provided here too).

> What's more, I don't understand why people use those places.  The
> Emacs forums are quite friendly, so there should be no reason for them
> to avoid us.

They're not avoiding us, they're just defaulting to what they know.
Different groups of people (be it due to generation or expertise) are
accustomed to different sets of technologies, and few are those who
take the time to learn something outside their set.
It's not a good thing, it's just the way things are and it goes way above Emacs.

Besides, these other places have their advantages too. I'm sure we can
find discussions somewhere about the pros and cons of other media vs
mailing lists.

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