Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (516 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] How do I mount USB drive world writable using device notifier? [Solved!]
On 02/11/2011 07:36 PM, Roger Oberholtzer wrote:
Putting all the head butting aside, I would have to say Marc is correct
in one fundamental point: why isn't the help environment more integrated
into the application?

As an application developer, and thus as a user support participant, I
know very well that most problems stem from lack of information to the
user more than poor program design. (My education is in cognitive
psychology and interface design - so don't assume ignorance in this
claim.) Not to say that poor program design is not also a problem. But
really, no one sits down and says "How can I freak out the most users?
What will elicit the most hostile reactions from the users? To be blunt,
how can I be the biggest pain in the ass?"

The developers are, in the total absence of a detailed specification
from the user (read that a few times - it is a core issue here), surely
doing their best. Given that they are often working sans enumeration,
how on earth can you complain? ^^^^^^^^^^^

But complain we do (drat, I am on that list of complainers when as a
developer I should know better...). Instead of bitching at the
programmers, perhaps we should address the more general question of how
we could improve the situation for everyone. Developers are not evil
bastards bent on making a bad experience for the user. I warrant that
they are in fact very interested in quite the opposite. When users
complain I suspect the developers are unhappy.

What is missing is an infrastructure that developers can include in
their applications that facilitates a moderated dialog between them and
the users. Of course individual apps have done this. But a 'libc' that
facilitates user/developer interaction in a constructive and commonly
available way simply does not exist. And as long as there is no easy
avenue for dialog, this complaint will persist.

So instead of bitching at the obviously evil developers with hearts of
pure evil, perhaps a more constructive approach might be to see how the
developers can best keep abreast of the undefined and surely constantly
shifting demands of the users. So, users, what do you suggest? And here
is the rub: suggest something concrete and that puts some of the
responsibility on you to invent a way to clearly define what some widget
should do. After all, to complain that some unpaid coder did not
implement some undefined (by the user) functionality is lame at best.

You have make some very interesting points, and I don't believe any of
the readers of "help" think of the coders as evil, rather that they are
uninformed as to what the readers need. What we need most is a
feedback mechanism, so that the reader can _easily_ get back to the
developer with the question he needs answered. This is not to say
that the coder should have to answer each reader individually--that's
what these mailing lists tend to do, usually pretty well--but that
periodically the "help" line should get updated, just like the code gets.

I never saw such absolutely useless "help" as what Microsoft provides.
In contrast, Linux usually provides _no_ help at all. When you snap on
the "help" title, you get nothing. There must be a middle ground
somewhere. (Exception: Altho not written as "help" titles
on programs, Ubuntu has some excellent instructional material
on the Internet. None of the other distros [to my knowledge] have
anything like that.)

Just my 2ยข. --doug

Blessed are the peacemakers...for they shall be shot at from both sides. --A.
M. Greeley

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