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Re: Myths about newbies (was: DEL key doesn't kill mouse-dragged region)

From: Eli Zaretskii
Subject: Re: Myths about newbies (was: DEL key doesn't kill mouse-dragged region)
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 12:16:09 +0200

> Date: Wed, 30 Nov 2005 23:55:08 -0600 (CST)
> From: Luc Teirlinck <address@hidden>
> CC: address@hidden, address@hidden
> Eli Zaretskii wrote:
>    Care to share the details (what problems newbies are supposed to
>    have, but don't)?
> I do not want to seem to reopen recent discussions

I don't want to reopen them, either, but your wording seemed to imply
there's a more general issue here, so it's probably worth discussing
_as_ a more general one.

> Plenty of stuff.  For instance, something that has been discussed
> recently, ^L being pagebreaks: they just figure that out very quickly
> and they make plenty of use of it.
> There is the silly myth that regexps are useless to newbies.  To
> newbies, regexps are just spiced up strings and they get by perfectly
> using plenty of regexps like "auto fill mode".
> I could give more examples, but I do not want to write a one hundred page
> dissertation on the subject.

If you think there are indeed misconceptions about newbies here, I'd
say it does justify a dedicated discussion and more info.  So please
consider to give more examples.

The two ones you gave above not necessarily indicate a pattern.  The
^L issue was raised by one person, so I suggested to put an overlay on
it, to make the separator more obvious.  Would you like us to
disregard such requests because we think everybody understands what ^L

> What really confuses newbies (as well as experienced users) is
> inconsistent behavior (such as traditional Emacs behavior and MS
> Windows type behavior more or less randomly mixed together)

The Windows type behavior is not limited to Windows.  We normally make
a point of consulting other GUI design guidelines (Gnome/GTK, KDE,
etc.) before we change Emacs.

> What obviously discourages people learning Emacs is too much change
> in basic behavior from one Emacs version to the next.

That's funny: I've heard many complaints that Emacs is too
conservative in keeping old defaults in the face of the changes out

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