[darcs-users] UI rfc: keyword-based help/documentation?

Petr Rockai me at mornfall.net
Tue May 10 06:13:16 UTC 2011


Eric Kow <kowey at darcs.net> writes:
> Unfortunately, this makes the UI a lot chattier, which I think is probably
> more annoying than helpful.

> Here's one example use: If you darcs get /tmp/blah (some missing directory),
> this is what Darcs currently says and here's what a keyword help mechanism
> would provide.

[snip the outputs]

I think the downside of this is that you do not actually reduce
chattines: you just shorten the interludes. You print exactly as many
messages as you do now -- some of them may become shorter, but that's
all. Whether that makes them easier to ignore is up to debate, but I am
not convinced.

On the other hand, we already do have this mechanism, more or
less. Things like darcs help environment have been around for a while.

In general, I don't think that non-interactive chattiness is a major
issue. The problem is that the notice only works a few times: users
learn to ignore those quickly. A notice with familiar shape will have no
effect, other than adding noise. Making the notices shape-uniform may
actually reduce their effect (since they all start to look more alike at
a glance).

> 4. What are our alternatives?

One option that comes to mind is to instead print out the relevant help
text, and add a mechanism for the user to acknowledge the message and
suppress it for future, probably by abusing the defaults mechanism.

Along the lines of:

ALL suppress-hints
ALL suppress-sources-warning

Not sure which is worse, anyway.


id' Ash = Ash; id' Dust = Dust; id' _ = undefined

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