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RE: Emacs learning curve

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Emacs learning curve
Date: Mon, 12 Jul 2010 10:48:02 -0700

>    > What words you use won't hinder that. You will always encounter
>    > new definitions for words, if one goes about renaming everything
>    > to what is currently popular it will only cause mass confusion.
>    The words matter since it raises complexity to use 
>    unfamiliar words.
> Recently I've started using Eclipse as part of my job, and it uses
> several words whos definition I'm not familiar with; for example view,
> perspective and workspace.  I've used Eclipse daily now for four
> months, and the terminology still doesn't stick for me.  Does this
> make Eclipse harder to use? Not at all.  Does it make it more complex?
> Not really.  They are just words, with some meaning.

Yes, words matter.  Yes, we should keep an eye out for whatever might help users
use Emacs better.

But no, choice of words is not what is _most_ important.  If the features that
people need are there, the word will spread and people will learn to use it.
IOW, what you said is right on.

Obviously, there is no reason to choose words perversely (e.g. use "red" when we
mean green). Or use words sloppily (e.g. sometimes use "red" for green and
sometimes use "green" for green).

And obviously we should make both the UI and the doc as clear and easy to
discover and use as possible.

But if Emacs has a killer mousetrap then users _will_ find and use it.  Same for
Eclipse or Textmate or any other tool.  Improving Emacs had better start by
improving what it can do and how you can do it, not just by the words used to
describe that.

And yes, I'm someone who does care about the words very much - more than most
people.  The better the product, especially its user interface, the less doc is
important and necessary to fill the gap and explain the product.  It does not
matter whether it's a toaster or a software app.

Analogy (not really the same thing, but it is suggestive):  Remember those
experiments where people put on special glasses that flip their vision
vertically - everything looks upside down.  In a relatively short time their
brains adapt completely, so they actually see everything rightside up.



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