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Re: Proposal for an improved `help-for-help'

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Proposal for an improved `help-for-help'
Date: Thu, 08 Apr 2021 16:50:09 +0300

> From: Stefan Kangas <stefan@marxist.se>
> Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2021 08:35:06 -0500
> Cc: emacs-devel@gnu.org
> >> +    '(("Getting Help"
> >
> > I'd use something like "Describe and Find Commands, Keys, Functions".
> That's fine, but it is a bit long.

Why is it a problem to be long?

> I suggest "Basic Help" here, which contrasts nicely against the
> other headings.  (Please see the attached screenshot.)

Both "getting Help" and "Basic Help" is too general to be useful, IMO.

> >> +       ("info" nil "Show all included manuals")
> >
> > That's inaccurate.  "Show top-level menu of all installed manuals",
> > perhaps?
> (Just to point out that the old text also said "included" but you are
> correct that "installed" is more precise.)
> Do we need to speak of "top-level menu", or can we get away with the
> shorter "Show all installed manuals"?

But "show a manual" could be interpreted as displaying the contents of
that manual, in which case "show all manuals" makes no sense.  What
that "shows" is a menu, not the manuals.  If you want, you could use
"show the list of manuals", but I felt that "menu" is more accurate,
as it hints that the user could select one of those manuals from that

> Also, Howard Melman pointed out that "Info" is actually the mnemonic for
> "i" here so perhaps we should actually speak of info here (even though
> we don't do it in the headline)?  IOW, how about "Show all installed
> Info manuals"?

I think I explained elsewhere why I think using "Info" in that screen
is not the best idea: newbies won't know what that means.

> (BTW, I think we should generally avoid using the "menu" terminology to
> mean something other than top menus (i.e. `menu-bar-mode').  I know we
> do it in many places in Emacs, but I find it unfortunate and confusing.)

But it _is_ a menu, albeit not a drop-down menu.  It says "Menu" right
there at the beginning, and explains how to select a manual from the
menu.  So the user who selects that command will see immediately that
a menu is indeed displayed.

> >> +      ("Misc Help"
> >
> > "Other Help commands"
> >
> >> +      ("Help Files"
> >
> > "Misc"
> >
> >> +      ("Language Help"
> >
> > "I18n Help"
> I'm basically fine with all that, but just to point out that we have in
> the Info manual these sections:
> * Language Help::       Help relating to international language support.
> * Misc Help::           Other help commands.
> * Help Files::          Commands to display auxiliary help files.

Node names (as opposed to names of the corresponding sections) are not
a recommended source of good names: they are selected for brevity, and
thus frequently sacrifice accuracy and expressive power.  The
section's name in the first case is more reasonable: "Help for
International Language Support".  (Although "international language"
sounds awkward to me.)

> I am also not sure that "I18n" is clear to all our users, in particular
> non-programmers.  It is clear from context of course, but some users
> might find the abbreviation cryptic.  Perhaps "Internationalization" is
> better, if a bit long.

"Internationalization" is fine.


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