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Re: Gather a list of confusions beginner tend to have

From: Nick Savage
Subject: Re: Gather a list of confusions beginner tend to have
Date: Tue, 08 Sep 2020 22:01:54 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/28.0.50 (gnu/linux)

Göktuğ Kayaalp <self@gkayaalp.com> writes:

>> I think everybody would agree on attracting more people to use
>> Emacs—that means more blogs and help, more contributor, etc. And
>> people agree that Emacs isn’t as beginner-friendly as it could be. The
>> problem is what to improve, and how.
> Not necessarily.  Personally, I don’t see much benefit in trying to
> appeal users that have no background in coding whatsoever, and users who
> wouldn’t really benefit from what Emacs has to offer.

As someone who comes to the community with minimal background to coding,
I'd like to add a little bit of my experience and what attracted me to
Emacs in the first place:

I've probably been using Emacs for around ten years, but not very
seriously until very recently. I originally dabbled in coding a tiny bit
in high school and experimented with Emacs because it seemed cool. I
studied in the humanities in university, and I made more use of it as an editor 
and for LaTeX. LaTeX is not an uncommon thing for people in
academia to be using - I actually met someone in accounting who said he
uses it!

I'll admit I'm atypical and I wouldn't expect the average humanities
student or professor to be using Emacs, no matter what, but I think
Emacs has a lot of value for people outside programming, especially with 

The big hurdle I think for a lot of users is that Emacs is basically a
black box. I had no idea until very recently that CUA mode exist, which
could add value to users. I actually really like the idea of a
configuration wizard, as others have suggested, with some common options like 
that. It's probably
the least destructive in terms of environment since it doesn't actually
change any defaults and can provide new users with a "modern" experience
out of the box.

> The major problem is that someone who fiddled with Emacs now and
> couldn’t make use of it may think differently when a couple years later
> they have some knowledge of programming (not necessarily professionally)
> and some experience with other tools.
> Anecdotally, I’ve picked up and quit Emacs multiple times before I
> decided to stay with it.  And it’s been more than 6 years now that I’m
> using it for the good part of my computing.  What was puzzling and weird
> to me back then is useful and essential to me now.

This is probably a good point though too, on the other hand. Locking in
CUA mode early with a configuration might lead users to stick with it
long-term instead of maybe seeing the value the rest of the program has,
for better or for worse.

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