Re: Dumb de dumb dumb

Subject: Re: Dumb de dumb dumb
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 16:47:49 -0700

"Jeanne A. E. DeVoto" wrote:

> However, good interface design does require consistency, which implies a
> degree of standardization that some people (not all) find confining. The
> canonical example of this, I think, is the permanent floating argument in
> the Linux community over how to paste. There are I think three commonly
> used methods, different programs each use their favorite, so there's no
> consistency for the user - you have to memorize the method used by each
> program you use - but many geeks defend this situation because it offers
> freedom to the programmer.

I'm resisting the temptation to respond to other parts of your post
because we may be getting too far off topic.

I suspect part of the problem that geeks have with GUIs comes from the
fact that they're not especially interested in them. That's only
natural; they already know (or can learn) other ways to do what they
want. I don't consider myself a geek, but I remember that, when I first
started using Linux, I was very grateful for a GUI for user and group
creation. Now, I don't care, because I know the commands thoroughly.

At any rate, because the average geek has no use for GUIs, they often
don't show much interest in learning how to design them. The average
geek's response to a program is: what's in it for me? - that is, what
can the program do for me, or how I can enjoy myself by tweaking its
code? This is basically the attitude in your last sentence about
multiple methods giving the programm freedom. But, the fact is, GUIs
aren't about the programmer. They're about the end-users who have the
least involvement with the programs - users who are about as far away
from geeks as it's possible to get and still be a breathing human being.

The same often goes for documentation. Geeks need only a minimum of it,
so many of them aren't terribly interested in providing it or in helping
it come into existence.

> However, there were also very real losses - in social structure, in shared
> assumptions about what constitutes acceptable behavior, in the assumption
> of shared responsibility

I must have hit middle-age. I'm as suspicious of nostalgia and long
vanished Golden Ages as I am of innovation and the next Big Thing. :-)

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

"Fool's luck can only take you so far ... after that you have to get out
and walk."
=Tom Holt, "Olympiad"


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