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Re: Eliminating a couple of independent face definitions

From: Stephen J. Turnbull
Subject: Re: Eliminating a couple of independent face definitions
Date: Fri, 04 Feb 2011 13:56:32 +0900

John Yates writes:
 > On Thu, Feb 3, 2011 at 7:18 PM, Stephen J. Turnbull <address@hidden> wrote:
 > > The basic problem is that faces are not colors.  Faces are not fonts.
 > > (Where have I heard this before? ;-)  A face is a semantic component,
 > > intended to express meaning.  Common meanings should have a common
 > > expression.
 > Your argument assumes that users internalize strong associations from
 > the visuals of a face to very specific semantics.

No, it doesn't.  It simply assumes enough association will carry
over.  Use of bold and italic for emphasis in text modes is very
common.  Use of red for errors is very common.  I'm not saying that
*all* faces should be derived from some base set, but Drew (and now
you) seem to be saying that derivation from a base set is useless.
The law of the excluded middle does not apply to all vs. none, you

 > Further you assume that users expect faces to be reused
 > consistently across modes based on conformance to clear semantic
 > models.

Nope, you're projecting.  Of course (Emacs) users *don't* expect that,
because Emacs currently *doesn't* do it.

 > A corollary is that introduction of a new semantic notion not only
 > requires introduction a new face but also requires that it be
 > visually distinct.

I'm not sure that follows from your assumptions, but in any case I
neither accept them nor believe them necessary, so that is not a
consequence of advocating a base set of faces.

 > Put another way you expect users to be conscious of distinct faces and
 > their detailed semantics.

 > My personal experience contracts that picture.

Well, of course it does!  Emacs is very useful to you, and currently
fails to provide consistent faces, so you conclude that consistent
faces are unnecessary.  No big surprise there!

 > 2) is the overall effect pleasing or jarring?  is there unity and
 > consistency in the use of colors and weights?  (often when first
 > experimenting with a new mode I feel that once again I am waging my
 > eternal battle against emacs "fruit salad")

Now there's a strong argument for derivation.  *If* those faces that
can be derived *were* derived, then you could fix up the base faces
(even resetting some that you think are stupid to `default' so they
don't show up at all or whatever), and use doremi to tone down the
rest, perhaps.

 > theme, it conveys visual emphasis or lack thereof.  An important
 > consequence is that I feel no great need to convey every new semantic
 > via a new, visually distinct face.

Would it really annoy you if Emacs had pleasing faces, but dammit,
they're way too consistent? ;-)

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