[Date Prev][Date Next] [Thread Prev][Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

Re: Usability: Technical details in package descriptions?

On Sat, 23 Jul 2005 10:58:34 -0300, Ben Armstrong <synrg@sanctuary.nslug.ns.ca> 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
> flawed.

        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   <srivasta@debian.org>  <http://www.debian.org/%7Esrivasta/>
1024D/BF24424C print 4966 F272 D093 B493 410B  924B 21BA DABB BF24 424C

Reply to: