Re: Usability: Technical details in package descriptions?
On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 10:58:34 -0300, Ben Armstrong <email@example.com> said:
> On Sat, 2005-07-23 at 01:21 -0500, Manoj Srivastava wrote:
>> Because that information is not presented to me in aptitude, one of
>> the preferred front ends to package management. Once the deb tags
>> system gets integrated into the front ends, the long description
>> can stop shouldering some of the load of presenting all the
>> useful/relevant infdormation to the user interested in making an
>> informed decision.
> Your criticism is valid. Indeed this is a flaw in the current
> proposal. But on one point, I think you have been unfair. I
> believe you have mistaken enthusiasm for an idea that is good, but
> cannot yet be fully implemented without the appropriate tools in
> place and the cooperation of maintainers, with a "shrill" defense of
> a weak proposal.
Not quite. I meant to target my irritation at one respondent,
who took my mail about current inability to leverage debtags while
selecting packages, and without addressing my objection, tried a
jejune stretching of the statement to pretned I had provided
additional support for the proposal, rather than pointing to
something that needs to be put into place.
> The proposal does need refinement to account for pieces of the
> system that are not ready yet, and to clarify when package
> descriptions should be changed today, but it is not fundamentally
Indeed, I like the proposal, and in time it would probably
make the package selection mechanism easier (perhaps scroing debtag
attributes by individual preference to help sort through new or
alternate package choices).
> I do not believe anyone in this thread has claimed that appropriate
> mention of the langauge appears in the description now should be
> removed. If I gave this misimpression, please understand this is
> not what I meant.
Then I have indeed misread what we were leading to. If we are
not talking about running through current descriptions and excising
such language from the description, then I am not sure what the
discussion is about, and my objections are likely to be moot.
> I merely challenge maintainers to consciously compensate for our
> implementation-centric bias as developers, recognizing that users
> focus on utility. If those users are themselves developers,
> certainly implementation will be important. If they are, as a rule,
> not, we should think twice about including "implementation trivia"
> in our descriptions.
I am all for providing information to users to help them
select packages. I am not, however, much in favour of displaying bias
for one class of users over others; so while I'll entertain ideas
about how to improve my package descriptions to help novice user also
get information relevant to their selection criteria, I am opposed to
removing information relevant to some users on the grounds that that
information is not required for the selection criteria of the so
called "target users".
> I see potential for debtags to help streamline the information in
> our package descriptions down to the essential qualities that help a
> typical user decide whether or not they want to try the package.
> This is by no means a "dumbing down" of package descriptions. The
> process can start now, both with the voluntary removal by
> maintainers of non-essential details from their own descriptions and
> supporting the development of debtags.
This is where I have misgivings. What is a "typical user"?
What if we are wrong about "typical users"? What if the audience for
a package changes over time? Why should we discriminate against users
who do not fit our model of "typical" and "approved" users by
withholding information from the description that they require for
their selection criteria?
I am all for giving people options, and information, to help
select between the options, or packages. I am not so much in favour
of curtailing information that some users use foir the selection just
because they do not fit my definition of the "right" kind of user.
Home on the Range was originally written in beef-flat.
Manoj Srivastava <firstname.lastname@example.org> <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
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