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RE: Info tutorial is out of date

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Info tutorial is out of date
Date: Mon, 17 Jul 2006 21:37:26 -0700

    > Key bindings *are* shortcuts - what's wrong with that? 1) They are
    > commonly called "keyboard shortcuts" by many people. 2) They are
    > shorter (quicker) to use than clicking menus and links with a mouse -
    > don't you agree? They are shorter (quicker) than using `M-x' - don't
    > you agree? What is it about "shortcut" that sets you off?

    It's a loaded term -- it implies that they are a "quick _alternative_"
    to some other primary, more "proper," method of invoking the command.

"Quick alternative" doesn't sound bad or loaded to me. Is "quick" bad
(quicky, perhaps)? Do you think "alternative" is loaded? Is an alternative
something inferior, or superior, or nasty for you? Is the problem that
"shortcut" is inferior and naughty or superior and haughty? This really
seems to be getting silly. I feel like I must not be in Kansas anymore...

    [Surely you knew that... it's hardly a new topic in Emacs
    mailing lists...]

Knew what? That keyboard shortcuts are quick alternatives to actions that
take longer? Yes; I knew that. That "keyboard shortcut" is a loaded term?
No; I did not know that, and I still don't know it. Do you know that?

And no, this is the first time I've fallen into the keyboard-shortcut bear
trap and been surrounded by angry spears. I've been reading this list for a
couple of years, but this reaction was a surprise to me. Learn something new
about those who inhabit the list every day...

    I think the term "shortcut", while common among the GUI set, actually
    does do some harm by subtly encouraging people to think of menus as the
    "standard" way of doing things.  For that reason, it really should only
    be used in applications where that is indeed true, not in applications
    like Emacs where it is most certainly not true.

Why do you say "menus"? I didn't. I mentioned menus and links and "using
`M-x'". I don't think of key bindings as shortcuts for just menu access. In
Emacs, they are shortcuts for commands, whether `M-x <command>' or menu
access or even macro execution. They are, in fact, "keyboard shortcuts" for
longer ways of doing things. I don't think of menus or link clicks or
`M-x...' as being more or less "proper" or "naughty" than key sequences.
Honestly, that dimension is not even on my moral map. I just don't worry
about that at all, least of all ethically.

What could be clearer than the term "keyboard shortcut" for a keyboard
action that is quicker than doing something else? In fact, now that I think
of it, although "key binding" and "key sequence" are more precise terms _for
Emacs_ (because key sequences are bound to commands and macros in Emacs), in
general (that is, not just in Emacs), the better term is probably "keyboard
shortcut", because such a beast could presumably be short for anything - any
action that's, well, longer, and, outside Emacs, there is not necessarily a
notion of "binding" the shortcuts.

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