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Re: German tutorial fix

From: Miles Bader
Subject: Re: German tutorial fix
Date: 19 May 2002 22:30:44 +0900

Alex Schroeder <address@hidden> writes:
> > + but you can edit more efficiently if
> > ! but it's more efficient to keep your hands in the standard position
> I don't like this at all.  It seems to be an unsubstantiated claim.

It's easily observable by any touch-typist, by (1) taking some time to
get used to the control-keys, and (2) trying both for about 3 seconds
while typing in some text.  It's not a subtle thing.

The arrow keys are better for some things too -- I usually use them when
`browsing,' e.g., reading mail or something, because then I don't keep
my hands on the home row, and in fact usually keep one near the arrow
keys.  But for actually _typing_ text, it's not even a contest.

> People like Jef Raskin ("The Humane Interface") will argue for
> "dedicated keys" such as the arrow keys.

If Jef Raskin has a good reason why the arrow keys should be used to the
exclusions of other cursor movement keys -- in a text editor, even when
they are less efficient -- then by all means, give his arguments.

It's almost certainly the case that the arrow keys are more _obvious_
than the control keys, but the argument that has been made is that the
control-keys are _more efficient for some purposes_.

That's why it's (1) a good thing that emacs can use the arrow keys, and
(2) also a good thing that emacs can use the control keys.

Users presumably can be counted upon to know about the arrow keys
already, but not about the control-keys.

Since the control-keys are _more efficient_ in some very common
situations, and users probably won't learn about them elsewhere (unlike
many commands, which can be learnt by seeing the key-bindings listed in
the menus), we should introduce them in the tutorial -- even if they're
not as crucial as they once were.

The purpose of the tutorial, I would claim, is not to give beginner's
the absolute minimal amount of knowledge required to use emacs (with
today's more menu- and mousified emacs, that's probably very little
knowledge indeed), but to put them on the road to being a proficient
user of emacs -- and part of that is coming to grips with the gestalt of
emacs keybindings.  If a user knows about `C-n' meaning `next-line' it
not only allows them to move to the next line, but provides a point of
reference which makes it easier to remember that for instance that a
plain `n' moves to the next line or next message in many modes.

> People from the RSI crowd will argue for hands moving out of the
> standard position in order to prevent injuries.  Some will claim this
> is wrong.  The point is, nobody knows for sure.

Knows for sure about what?  Which is better for RSI?  Is that even an

Run away!  Run away!

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