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RE: delete-selection-mode

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: delete-selection-mode
Date: Sat, 20 Mar 2010 11:28:13 -0700

> We have testimony that some ordinary users want self-inserting
> characters to delete the region (which they have made with the mouse).
> We have testimony that one ordinary user thinks that same behavior is
> a pain.  I am sure both reports are factually accurate, but where do
> we go from there?

As a wise man once said, "Poll the users".

> It would be useful to find out what some larger number of ordinary
> users think.  How many want self-inserting characters to delete the
> mouse-selected region, how many are glad it doesn't, and how many
> don't care?

Failing a useful poll (and we seem to be failing to poll users, so far), we
could offer our own guesses as to the number of ordinary users in each camp. You
know what my guess would be. Other guesses?

However, there are other things to consider in this regard, I think, including
at least the following:

1. Is the proper comparison here merely the _number_ of (ordinary) users in each
camp? Shouldn't the _relative cost_ in pain and suffering be factored in?

I thought that Alan's strongest point was not merely that he and his sister
think the usual behavior (hors Emacs) is a pain, but that it is a ***PAIN***, a
"serious problem" that "causes distress", imposes "massive inconvenience", and
inflicts "a lot of pain on lots of people". This was _very_ clear from his

If this is the case - and it must be as credible as the rest of the
sister-sample info ("factually accurate", at least as far as that one ordinary
user is concerned, plus Alan), then I don't see how we can merely count and
compare numbers of users in each camp. That would be downright dangerous, if not

Surely, imposing massive pain, distress, and inconvenience is not warranted,
even for only a few users, let alone the "countless" minority that Alan
estimates would suffer (and are already suffering, out there).

2. A countervailing consideration is that Alan's sister specifically added that
"'it's not too bad' if there's an undo key sequence." I don't know how much pain
relief she had in mind, but Emacs does have a very good undo.

3. Also, Alan's sister reportedly does _not_ use type-to-replace outside Emacs,
in any case. She explicitly hits the delete key before typing replacement text.
IOW, she has presumably already learned to avoid the pain for the most part. Can
we assume the same would likely be true of the other users in her camp?

#2 and #3 would indicate that those users who are likely to experience pain
would have at least some relief, whether outside or inside Emacs. Dunno whether
that compensates completely for #1, but these are all things to be weighed.

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