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Re: [RFC] localechooser: template changes

On Tuesday 03 November 2009, Christian Perrier wrote:
> Quoting Frans Pop (elendil@planet.nl):
> > > I'd just recommend "Please select" which is the style we generally
> > > push in dle reviews (avoid imperative form).
> >
> > Using the imperative form is wrong in the *short* description (which
> > was the problem in the old version), but IMO in a lot of cases it's
> > fine for the *extended* description. I did not add the "please"s on
> > purpose, basically because they've started to annoy me.
> >
> > For the extended description we should distinguish between text that
> > is a *request* and text that provides *instruction*. In the first case
> > adding "please" is fine (even needed), in the second case it's IMO
> > redundant.
> Matter of taste (and overall consistency). 

IMO it's not just a matter of taste and I'll have one more attempt to 
explain my reasoning to you. Especially because I do fully agree about 
consistency and because this also affects po-debconf templates.

I've been uncomfortable with "please" for quite some time, but could never 
really say why, so I did not make a point of it. For the Dutch translation 
we mostly just drop them. Any attempt to preserve it makes the translation 
sound artificial.

The problem is that when you read individual templates adding "please" 
seems completely logical. And that is how you have been working with them 
intensively over the past few years. But templates do not stand on their 
own, especially not in the installer.

IMO the installer can be seen as a set of instructions to reach a certain 
goal, much like a cookery-book or an assembly instruction for an Ikea 

Cookery-books don't go "Please melt the butter over a moderate flame. When 
the butter is melted, please add the flour and a table spoon of sugar. 
Please stir until you get smooth paste.".
And that's exactly the effect you get if you add "please" in every D-I 
dialog. You have to consider the whole, not just the individual templates.

As I've mentioned in my previous post, "please" is fine for requests (which 
we also have in D-I and po-debconf templates), but it's not needed in 
what's essentially a series of instructions.

> I'll use the polite form in the French translation...

Of course you should do what's correct in French for your translation; 
different languages have different requirements. But it may be worth 
checking a few French cookery-books ;-)

Also, it's *not* about "using the polite form" (at least not for English), 
but at using the most appropriate form for the nature of the product.

Feel free to take this discussion to d-english.

> What about:
> (please) Select the country that will be used, for example, to select
> a default locale and time zone.

IMO that's a lot less clear for users. An instruction does not have to be 
literally correct in 100% of cases. It has to convey the correct 

> We could turn this to "Choose "other" to choos a country that is not
> listed here."

Something like that would be possible but depends on what we do with the 
country questions.

> > > Apart from that, everything is fine, except maybe the length of the
> > > two paragrpahs, that takes a lot of spaces and leaves few romm for
> > > the list on 80x25 systems.
> >
> > It still leaves 10 lines for selection with vga=normal, so it's not
> > that bad. But I've now moved the first sentence to a separate "help"
> > template; this saves 2 lines, so now 12 lines are displayed.
> Yes. We should by the way make better use of these help templates,
> indeed.


> Could be useful for our country selection detailed instructions. 

Maybe, but we should guard against:
- moving essential or basic instructions into help dialogs;
- being too verbose in help dialogs for udebs included in initrds (because
  of size considerations); localechooser already is relatively big because
  of all the error dialogs.

In the case of country selection it is IMO essential to make users 
installing their own system (people not doing multiple installations, but 
using the installer only once) pick the correct choice on the first 
attempt in order to avoid incorrect locales (especially at default 
priority) or time zones (especially as that is not even displayed at 
default priority for countries that only have one).

"The country where you live" is IMO by far the simplest, clearest and most 
intuitive description to achieve that.


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