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Re: Info tutorial is out of date

From: Robert J. Chassell
Subject: Re: Info tutorial is out of date
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 12:48:11 +0000 (UTC)

    ... the question is about beginners.  Isn't it clear that nearly
    all beginners use the mouse?

Yes, nowadays, nearly all beginners use the mouse.  But that is not
the question.  The questions are

  * based on their previous knowledge, will beginners (who are sighted
    and using their vision and their hands) understand the use of the
    mouse in a plain Emacs or will they expect to use the mouse in a
    different way?

    Presuming that beginners single click (double clicking fails) on
    `Help', they will see the `Emacs Tutorial' listed as the first
    option and may click on that line.  (You have to read the Emacs
    manual to learn about going to the Info help.  The Emacs manual is
    nine lines down the `Help' menu.)

    The only change to Tutorial, the Emacs manual, or the Info help
    that I would suggest is writing these two sentences at or near the

        For many actions, you can click on a topic with a mouse
        button.  This tutorial focuses on the more efficient key

  * based on their previous knowledge, will beginners unlearn
    inefficent habits and begin to use key sequences appropriately?

    I hope so.  But according to my experience and all I have read, it
    is harder for people to unlearn what they learned previously than
    to learn rightly the first time.  And when undertaking a change,
    we must work with what people already know.

    The one thing we should never do is encourage the wrong habits.

The two answers mean we should not teach inefficent habits and we
should recognize that most beginners will already know conventions for
use of the mice. (Indeed, some will have learned one set of
conventions so well they will call that set `intuitive'!)

    Robert J. Chassell                         
    address@hidden                         GnuPG Key ID: 004B4AC8
    http://www.rattlesnake.com                  http://www.teak.cc

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