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Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.

From: Alan Mackenzie
Subject: Re: Upcoming loss of usability of Emacs source files and Emacs.
Date: Fri, 19 Jun 2015 09:02:25 +0000
User-agent: Mutt/1.5.23 (2014-03-12)

Hello, Stephen.

On Fri, Jun 19, 2015 at 01:06:57PM +0900, Stephen J. Turnbull wrote:
> Richard Stallman writes:

>  > Your arguments are heated but not coherent.

> You might try to refute them, rather than descending to mere name-
> calling.  Especially in a post where you immediately accuse someone
> else of name-calling:

>  > Denigrating a significant class of users with the term "lobby" does
>  > not make them less important or less worthy of respect.

> No, the term "lobby" does not make anybody worthy of less respect.

Perhaps not, as such, but the phrase you used "... risk the wrath of the
ASCII-capped lobby?" sounds anything but respectful.

[ .... ]

> And I've already granted that the costs to those who *can* live with
> just ASCII, and *don't* need input methods yet, matter.  I think
> they're low enough to be worth paying, just as you think the sacrifice
> of Japanese OCR is a cost that *I* should pay.  Such conflicts can't
> be waved away, and each side will lobby for its own interest.

That's a red herring which has nothing to do with the current argument
about curly quotes.  The inconvenience of typing curly quotes is just as
much an inconvenience to those who use non-English keyboard layouts.  I
would imagine (correct me if I'm wrong) you use distinct keyboard
layouts for writing in English and Japanese.  I imagine also that
there's no key on the Japanese layout either for either of the curly
single quotes.

>  > The situation is simple: using curly quotes in doc strings would be
>  > a substantial inconvenience for many users _for no practical
>  > benefit_.

> And now you reveal *your* prejudice.  That's no help.  Paul claims
> practical benefit; I agree -- and even Stefan seems to see at least a
> possibility of practical benefit.

Richard meant what he wrote here.  Any benefits there may be are not
_practical_ ones.  The curly quotes are a pain to type.  There are no
practical benefits - nothing is made easier.  The putative benefits are
vague, aesthetic, about conforming with other people's expectations,

> But both sides are just speculating about what most users will feel.
> For reasons I've explained elsewhere, I believe only an experiment can
> help determine more accurately what the mass of users will think.

The current changes do not seem to have been made in the spirit of an
experiment.  Some of the changes (those to the elisp page "Documentation
Tips", for example, which assert that the standard quoting method is
already an "older convention") go well beyond the scope of
experimentation.  In a true experiment, comment and objections would be
actively encouraged at an early stage.  I don't think this has happened
wrt these curly quote changes.

The problem about such "experiments" which are not explicitly announced
is that people don't really notice them until it's "too late" to revert
them.  We were sleepwalking into accepting these curly quotes.  This was
not good.

Alan Mackenzie (Nuremberg, Germany).

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