[linux-elitists] Re: GNOME > you

Jeremy Hankins nowan@nowan.org
Sun Jan 4 07:41:31 PST 2004

Jeff Waugh <jdub@perkypants.org> writes:
> <quote who="Jeremy Hankins">

>> Not gonna happen -- if by "back to Earth" you mean mired in minutiae.
>> I really don't care about gnome, except as it's a focal point of some
>> wrong-headed and disturbing trends in UI.
> Hmm. We seem to be doing a rather large amount of hard work, research
> and (casual or formal) user testing to be saddled with "wrong-headed
> and disturbing".

Such things have happened.  In fact, I imagine that if you did a great
big sum over all the work ever done, almost all of it has been up blind
alleys.  Not that that's not useful in the end, but just because a lot
of work has been expended on it doesn't make it right.

> I'm inclined to believe this just really gets up your crack,

I've been doing my best to ignore your little asides about how if I
disagree with you it's because I'm a propeller-head/defensive of my
favorite tech/can't get women.  I just want you to know that it is
rather annoying, and childish.

> and is not based on any serious research or practical application of
> current usability practice/theory.  Oh, but perhaps all of those
> smacked up usability researchers are wrong, and you are right. There
> is that.
> But you are fully entitled to your interesting opinion.

It's based on my understanding of your argument.  No research or
practical application involved -- I'm a philosophy guy more than a
computer guy, and that's how I think about things.  If theoretical
arguments aren't your bag, that's fine, but it means there's not much
likelihood of a constructive conversation between us.  (One might wonder
why I continue to respond....  Perhaps I troll easily.)

>> Any discussion about the particularities of gnome would be
>> irrelevant.  And I wouldn't be able to participate effectively
>> because I don't know gnome.  No problem, because that's not a
>> conversation I care about.  The fact that you keep going back to "But
>> users don't *_CARE_*" is what I find interesting.
> Perhaps you need to hang around with people who don't care about
> computers more often. (ha ha bonus troll points.)

I don't dispute whether or not people care, I dispute whether or not
that's relevant.  More precisely, I think it's effect rather than cause.
Usability testing hasn't been around long enough to perform the sorts of
studies that I would respect (and that's assuming they started the study
the day the field was born).  Therefore I take the results with a large
grain of salt.  Not that I'm singling UI out; I know enough about
science, and the history thereof, that I tread all new fields that way,
and all new research.

So when the first axiom in your world view seems to be "but users don't
care" I find that very, very significant.  Then when I discovered that
it's in fact based on the idea that there's an objective distinction
between how one does work (i.e., what one does to do the work) and what
the work is, I became very interested indeed, because that's something I
completely disagree with.

But as far as I can tell, you're not prepared to discuss the issue in
those terms.  You're only prepared to discuss the issue in terms of
usability studies that I have no respect for.  This is disappointing
because I'm quite curious how you would defend the notion of a
distinction between how & what.  But it doesn't seem like I'm going to
get to find out.

Jeremy Hankins <nowan@nowan.org>
PGP fingerprint: 748F 4D16 538E 75D6 8333  9E10 D212 B5ED 37D0 0A03

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