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Re: [External] : Re: [PATCH] Package Installation in Tutorial

From: Daniel Fleischer
Subject: Re: [External] : Re: [PATCH] Package Installation in Tutorial
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 2021 19:48:20 +0200
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/29.0.50 (darwin)

Hi Drew, interesting points. 

> Is using the Customize UI in the tutorial?
> Is making simple customizations with Lisp
> in the tutorial?  Is use of `custom-file'
> in the tutorial?  Is use of the `Options'
> menu in the tutorial?

It's sounds like whataboutism. If you think there are glaring omissions
in topics to be introduced to new users, let's add them.

> Is `load-path', `require', or `load-library'
> introduced in the tutorial?

Based on my experience with competing editors (sorry for reducing Emacs
to being an editor) when first starting up the topics of selecting a
theme and installing packages are presented first. After that, some
customization is offered. 

> How many nowadays _are_ aware of that "main
> feature" but are unaware of how to find and
> change a face or option value?  How many are
> unaware of how to _ask Emacs_, to find out
> for themselves about such things?

That's a trick question due to selection bias. Emacs is not easy to
learn; if you poll existing users, they probably figured out how to
install packages. We're talking about first timers, people that make
their first steps in Emacs. When these people get stuck, the no. 1
comment they receive is "do the tutorial". That's where we need to
present the Emacs ontology: windows, frames, undo/redo, modeline,
help-searching and also package management which is the least alien part
in Emacs.

> The whole discussion (by 3 people) of this
> change  has been only about _where_ to add
> this topic - nothing about why to do so,
> or what other changes might be just as
> important or more so.

Do you want to open up a discussion about how the tutorial is build, or
how to make Emacs easier for new users? great, but let's start with

> Has it been shown that new users _are_ in
> general unaware of packages or unable to
> install them?  Aside from questions about
> an early init file or `use-package' syntax
> etc., how many new users just ask "How do
> I install a package?"  I don't see that
> come up, myself, on Reddit, StackExchange,
> help-gnu-emacs, etc., and I come across
> dozens (hundreds?), of new-user questions
> every day.

Fair point. Does it mean we shouldn't try to anticipate pain points for,
say, new users, and introduce features we think may help them, unless
new users explicitly complain of lack of such features?

> A good indication of such a need might be
> the number of existing blogs, videos, etc.
> telling users how to install and delete a
> package - and how much they're used.  Do
> we have an impression (or tally) of this?
> Is there a crying lack of such help?

When did any change been introduced to Emacs due to some contributor
seeing blog posts mentioning such and such aspects of Emacs being
problematic/hard to configure/missing a feature?


Daniel Fleischer

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