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Re: User is always right (was Re: Merger not Merging -- What I would like a merge process to do.)

From: Steve Greenland <steveg_at_lsli.com>
Date: 2005-01-25 17:59:12 CET

On Tue, Jan 25, 2005 at 07:46:55AM +1100, matthew ford wrote:
> I dissagree that the "User is always right" does not apply to
> usability and mode of operation. It is a common failing, that software
> tries to force the user to think in a particular way which is not the
> way they would naturally think. Software is both a service and a tool
> and as such needs to 'fit' the user's grip.

A tool needs to be able to do the job it's designed to do. The user of
a tool has a responsibility to learn how to use the tool safely and
effectively. With a flexible and complex tool like subversion, the user
is expected to read the documentation and learn about the different
commands and how they fit together. If a particular combination of
command and parameters doesn't do what you want it to do, you need to
consider the possibility that you've issued the wrong command and/or

If someone walks into a woodworking shop, turns on the drillpress, and
then tries to cut a piece of wood in two with it, are you going to
declare "the user is always right", and that the drillpress is broken?
If someone shoves their hand into a running table saw, do you really
think that the table saw is broken?

Which is not to say that subversion doesn't have usability issues, or
that it can't be improved. But you don't get the "read my mind" feature
added unless you can submit the working patch.


"Outlook not so good." That magic 8-ball knows everything! I'll ask
about Exchange Server next.
                           -- (Stolen from the net)
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Received on Tue Jan 25 18:06:18 2005

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