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RE: Why does the tutorial talk about C-n/C-p etc?

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: Why does the tutorial talk about C-n/C-p etc?
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2016 08:48:40 -0800 (PST)

> > Or as somebody said on Reddit: 
> > https://www.reddit.com/r/emacs/comments/49of20/installed_emacs_started_tutorial_cn_cp_cf_cb_now/

Oooh.  Someone said on reddit!  (Quick, get the camera!)

 "installed emacs -> started tutorial -> C-n,C-p,C-f,C-b ->
 now thats just stupid -> closed emacs.  I'm not an octopus."

"That's just stupid."  (Was that someone Ronald McDonald
Trump, perhaps?  Trademark sophomoric dismissal, in any case.)

And someone here wants to run after that someone and plead,
"No, please don't go! Come back! I'm sorry; I'll never do
that again; I promise. Of course you're NOT an octopus."

> > Keyboards have arrow keys.  We shouldn't be talking
> > about C-n/C-p in the tutorial.

But Oleh the avowed Octopus (or is that Hydra?) offers an
opposing testimonial:

> The bindings are a selling point. I joined around 4 years
> ago just because QT Creator didn't have "C-f".

"That's just stupid!", Oleh.  But we sure are glad for it.

The usual way to introduce alternative, seemingly "advanced"
or unusual but handy ways to do things is to introduce them
after presenting the usual, possibly less efficient, behavior.

So yes, the tutorial should _start_ with a simple example that
uses the arrow keys.  But yes, the tutorial should also mention
using C-n and the rest.  In fact, it should motivate their use
as optional behavior that many Emacs users have found to be more

IMHO, the tutorial should quickly move from arrow keys to other
keys - it is enough to reassure users at the outset that they
can use (some) keys that they are used to.  There is no reason
to convert the tutorial to using only arrow keys etc.  That
would be a mistake, IMO.

IOW, there is no reason not to start with the arrow keys, and
there is no reason not to present C-n etc.

And as Kaushal and Eli point out, the tutorial already does this:

 You can use the arrow keys, but it's more efficient to keep
 your hands in the standard position and use the commands C-p,
 C-b, C-f, and C-n.

I'm not sure that we should still speak here of "the standard
position" or bother to claim outright that "it's more efficient".
I'd say that we should make users aware of both alternatives.
If they still want to close Emacs and proclaim that it is only
for octopi, so be it.  (Tailists will disagree...)

It might also help to say (if we do not already) that in a few
contexts the arrow keys might do something different from C-n
etc.  (Well, maybe not - we don't want to scare anyone.)

FWIW, I admit to using the arrow keys (!), but I also use `C-n'
etc.  (There, I said it.)


I note the first followup comment on that reddit post:

  "if only emacs had a robust and comprehensive system for
  changing or expanding it's default behavior. man. that'll
  be the day."

One can only hope that was tongue-in-cheek.  You never know...

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