On Mon, 2 Oct 2000, SRE wrote:
> Personal experience suggests that there are more ways to do it wrong
> than there are people in the world. Trying to accommodate mistakes
> tends to encourage mistakes, and my life as a list owner and system
> administrator got TOUGHER (not easier) when I did things for the
> users instead of educating them.
My life as a service provider becomes easier when I take away choices and
flexibility from the average user, making it easier for 95% of them to
accomplish their goals.
> I believe most people are trainable. I don't think we need to "dumb down"
> so much as we need to explain clearly... that's why I suggested some
> changes to the error report would be best.
I believe that raising others to our levels of literacy s a lot like
expecting doctors to talk to patients in minutely accurate detail, and
trying to educate them to handle the information. Not only is it a big
task, it's irrelevant to the vast majority.
> >Most list managers are not and need not be.
> That's where system administrators shine, NOT where the software takes over!
Most list managers are not system administrators, and shouldn't be forced
into daily dialogs with them. It's a major goal of good UI design tl keep
the support phone from ringing.
> Looks like you agree with me: Newbie owners should be given choices by
> their admins, advanced owners need a powerful GUI, so who needs a simple
Newbies (which we will herein define as non-technical users -- many
of my best list-owners of 2 to 5 years' standing would be
"newbies" by this definition) should be given those choices BY THE
GUI. There's no reason for them to interact with me.
> Which problem would you like the GUI to solve? Absolute newbies (for
> which you have properly provided defaults), or for the person setting
> up the defaults (for which access to ALL the options is important)?
Both, of course. That's why an expert, "all-bets-are-off" mode as a
config editor is fine, but not as the primary interface presented.
> You assume there are lots of newbies, that they can't or won't learn,
> and that they have no access to experts who can steer them. Lots of
> assumptions, neither of us has proof.
I assume that the average eGroups list owner does not call eGroups to set
up each list. I asume that I don't need or want to spend my time
sterring, and neither do most IT professionals or service providers.
> That problem is best solved with examples and not a GUI.
I used to believe that.
> I'll be happy
> to install sample complete list configs in the help system if there is
> general concensus on what should be there (and which help file it should
> go into).
Good help files keep the phone from ringing.
But good task-oriented UIs keep even the help files from needing to be
> If we do what you've already done (provide stock templates)
> with notes about the things they shouldn't touch unless they educate
> themselves, haven't we made their life even EASIER?
Only if those are the main track of the UI, not a grafted-on
ROGER B.A. KLORESE rogerk@QueerNet.ORG
PO Box 14309 San Francisco, CA 94114
"There is only one real blasphemy -- the refusal of joy!" -- Paul Rudnick