[Talk-GB] Deletions and newbie editors (was: Vandalism in London)

David Woolley forums at david-woolley.me.uk
Sun Oct 5 11:47:29 UTC 2014


On 05/10/14 11:25, Andy Street wrote:
> Simply refusing to delete seems rather unhelpful. I'd much prefer
> the user to be presented with a dialog box that explains the problem in
> simple terms before allowing them to either continue with the delete or
> seek assistance. If the user requires assistance a note could be opened
> stating something along the lines of "I require assistance deleting
> element x for reason y, please help me.".

Newbies will tend to do what is necessary to suppress the error message, 
without thinking what they are doing.  Alternatively, they will reject 
the editor as one of the big problem with creating dumbed down 
interfaces to complex software is that the market will select the 
product that appears to hide the problem over the one that puts them to 
the trouble of doing the right thing.**

In other fields, there are large after markets for cook books telling 
people how to achieve particular effects in a mechanical fashion.

Newbies don't want to know the reasons, and I suspect most of them see 
the map as the standard rendering, and have trouble with the 
abstractions that underlie it and which need to be understood for such a 
message to make sense.  Those who do want to know the reasons, would 
probably find an advanced editor much easier to use.

JOSM does give such warnings, but JOSM is aimed at people who understand 
the abstraction below the rendering.  It is the lack of having to deal 
with such warnings that makes newbie editors newbie editors.

The standard newbie response to an access violation in Unix/Linux is to 
set the file mode to 777.  The standard newbie way of killing a process 
is kill -9.

** A 40 year old example is that the programming adviser at university 
told me that users preferred the statistics package that didn't warn 
them about the loss of significance errors when trying to fit 
multi-variable models with too many variables, even though the result 
was meaningless models.




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