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

From: matthew ford <matthew.ford_at_forward.com.au>
Date: 2005-01-26 09:31:34 CET

Hi Scott,
----- Original Message -----
From: "Scott Palmer" <scott.palmer@2connected.org>
>
> Users are people.
> People make mistakes.
> When they do, they are wrong. That's what mistake means.
>
> Therefore the user is not always right.
>
> It is not possible to account for every possible mistake in a
> reasonable way. Saying "the user is always right" is silly, because it
> is simply not true. Users have a responsibility just as developers do.

My statements are simple extremes. (The real world situation is too
complicated to express a simple phrase). I have these statements out on
users and I get a good response.

What I am trying to convey is that the software is ment to serve the user
(not the other way round).
No one likes to think of themselves as wrong or dumb, so the initial
response to a software problem is "Its the software's fault" I asked it to
do X and it did Y. I know want I want to do. Why will the software not do
it for me? The packet said this was ABC software so I should be able to do
X.
Now if the software cannot do X, this needs to be clearly and courteously
conveyed to the user. Good software tries to maintian the dignity of the
user, not pull them down or show them up.
Obviously what the user expects from the software depends on the user's past
experiences. Which is why it is important to know who your users are and
what their background is.

As I mentioned in another posting, a good working knowledge of diff appears
to be a pre-requesite for using merge correctly. But not all the users
coming to subversion have a good working knowledge of diff. I have
suggested this be adressed in some way in the documentation since subversion
appears to be too far down the track to change the existing CLI merge to
accomodate these users. (Perhaps 'smart merge' can address this.)

matthew

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Received on Wed Jan 26 09:34:00 2005

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