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RE: First draft of the Emacs website

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: First draft of the Emacs website
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 2015 16:58:25 -0800 (PST)



My comments might have suggested that to you, but I don't think they suggest that.


I too think the site should address itself to, among others, and in particular, new users and young new users.


I disagree that mention of Lisp need be offputting to such people. On the contrary, I think that we can point to the advantages of Emacs being a Lisp environment and being user-extensible by way of Lisp (among other advantages).


We can agree to disagree about that. But I, no less than you, I think, have new users and young users in mind.


Just because I have a grey beard, that does not mean that my suggestions are not aimed at those without grey beards and those (with or without beard, and regardless of color) who might be new users.


If I were a 13-year old, and I knew little or nothing about Lisp or Emacs, I would be interested to hear something about Emacs being bathed in Lisp and being, in fact, a Lisp environment, and that I (yes, as only a newbie Emacs user) could use some simple Lisp to extend and customize Emacs to fit my 13-year-old self.


That would be something that attracted me, as one 13 year-old, not something that put me off. All newbies, and all 13 year-olds, are not the same.


It has to be presented carefully, of course. There should be no impression that one has to know Lisp to use Emacs. That doesn't mean that we can't mention Lisp as one of the BIG advantages that Emacs has to offer. Not to mention that would be, well, burying the lead - the main story. IMHO.




You and I are old "grey beards".  My point was that mentioning things that we - as seasoned users of Emacs - like is quite a bit different from imagining the website as a sales pitch to someone who has not used Emacs but _might_ - given an appropriate message - be coaxed into trying it.  If you accept such messaging as the site's first goal then you have to try to put yourself in the mindset of such a viewer.


Your comments suggest that perhaps you do not buy into that being the first goal.




On Thu, Dec 3, 2015 at 5:57 PM, Drew Adams <address@hidden> wrote:


(My assumption is that anyone who does not already have some exposure to the command-line is a lost cause, but I would be happy to be corrected.)

I disagree. You do not need to be familiar with using a CLI to use Emacs. (I use M-x grep, and that's about it, these days.)

* Hence any mention of Lisp seems inappropriate.  We had better hope that Emacs' Out-Of-Box impression is good enough to motivate - in time - an interest in Lisp, rather than presume it.  Even more off-putting are the fine points of various Lisp dialects and Lisp extensions.

Not presuming "an interest in Lisp" is not the same as forbidding "any mention of Lisp". And I disagree that any mention of Lisp is inappropriate.

I agree that no mention need be made of different Lisps or dive into specific aspects of Lisp.

But it can be mentioned that you have available a powerful, easy-to-use (yes), very high-level programming language to extend and interact with Emacs. And yes, this is end-user stuff. (IMHO)

* Displaying Lisp code is probably not a great "come-on".

Simple Lisp code need not be a giant turn-off either, and need not be verboten in this context.

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