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Re: Documentation of transient-mark-mode is sloppy, wrong, and confused.

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Documentation of transient-mark-mode is sloppy, wrong, and confused.
Date: Fri, 29 May 2009 08:58:52 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.9i

Hi, Stephen!

On Fri, May 29, 2009 at 05:25:44PM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Andreas Roehler writes:

>  > 1) region-exists-p
>  > 2) region-has-extent

> Please don't use this term this way.  It would be very confusing for
> XEmacs.

> It's not clear to me why anybody cares about whether the region has
> non-zero length or not, anyway.

<sarcasm> Obviously the situation was too simple and obvious, so it was
necessary to introduce some complication to make people sit up and think.

I'm speculating here: When a region has zero length, it's difficult to
see the highlighting on it.  Because it "looks" as thought the region is
not "active", it's possibly better to handle user commands as though it
weren't "active".  Maybe.

> It seems to me that `region-exists-p' and `region-active-p' as used in
> XEmacs would be sufficient.

Does XEmacs have a definition of an "active region"?  ;-)

>  > 3) region-is-visible

> I don't understand what Alan's problem with "active regions" is.  As
> I've pointed out in the past, although "receptive" might be a better
> term, usages like "active receptor" (in biochemistry) are very common.
> If Alan is essentially unique in this objection, and he seems to be
> (sorry, Alan!) then I see no need to cater to him.

No problem!  But that's not my gripe here.  (My objection to using words
like "active" to describe a state which isn't "being an agent" is that
such loose usage is liable to lead to confusion.  Here, it has manifestly
lead to massive confusion.)

My problem is that the technical word "active" is used without being
defined.  I surely can't be the only Emacs user who feels patronised and
insulted when manuals talk down at me by using fancy words without saying
what they mean.  Often, when manual authors do this, it is because they
themselves don't know what their fancy word means either, as is the case
here.  "But EVERYBODY know what \"active\" means!" just won't do.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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