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Re: Most minimal configuration challenge

On Thu, Sep 1, 2022 at 8:27 PM Lawrence Velázquez <larryv@xxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Wed, Aug 31, 2022, at 10:17 AM, Ray Andrews wrote:
> > On 2022-08-31 02:28, Vincent Lefevre wrote:

> >>> In short, «zstyle ':foo:bar:*:baz' key v1 v2» translates as "When
> >>> library foo asks for the value of key in a situation of the form
> >>> bar:*:baz, tell it the answer is «v1 v2»".
> >> Perhaps there should be a zsh function that translates a zstyle line
> >> to plain English. :-)
> >>
> > Yup.  Unfortunately we tend to think that experts are the ones who
> > should write
> > documentation, but they are unqualified.  They write sentences that explain
> > what they already know back to themselves.  It's like learning Coptic
> > from a book
> > written in Coptic.
> This is common enough, but...
> > Only people who have just now learned something can
> > explain it in a way that other people who want to learn it can relate to
> > because
> > only the learner has the mind of a learner.
> Someone who has "just now learned something" has the shallowest
> possible understanding of it and can only perpetuate that shallow
> understanding.

That is not quite true. Yes, the vast majority of newcomers have the
shallowest understanding of zsh, but not necessarily of shells,
programming languages, configuration systems, or any number of things
that might be relevant.

This would be like saying a programmer entering the world of economics
only has the shallowest of understandings and therefore cannot provide
anything of value. Yeah, maybe not provide any value of economic
theory, but he can provide value in data processing... which is what
shapes economic theories. Or that a patent clerk cannot provide value
in physics... Albert Einstein would beg to disagree.

Value can come from unexpected places.

> That is certainly all that is necessary in some
> contexts, but it is not true education; it is sharing tips and
> tricks.
> The ideal educator pairs a deep knowledge of their field with an
> equally deep sensitivity for the needs of their students.  It is
> difficult to acquire just one of these things, let alone both, which
> is why great educators are few and far between.

But the true value of educators comes from the fact that they are in
the frontlines of knowledge acquisition. The main reason they know
what explanations work better is constant feedback from students.

The clueless students are an essential part of the equation.

> > Experts have the mind of
> > experts.
> > So the above no doubt makes perfect sense to the expert who wrote it and
> > already
> > understands it, but is useless to me.
> I think this is pretty harsh toward Daniel.  I have no doubt he
> could have written a more verbose and comprehensive explanation in
> a paragraph or two, but I wouldn't have been surprised if you'd
> objected to its wordiness.

It's not either or. I constantly try to put myself in the shoes of
newcomers, and sometimes an explanation I give is deemed not clear
enough. Does that mean I failed and I'm stupid? No, it's just
feedback, I can try another one.

People who are not constantly being subject to criticism often think
it's something negative, but it isn't, it's just an opportunity to try
something better.

Ultimately the people who should judge prose meant for newcomers, are
newcomers. If they say it isn't clear, then it isn't clear.

To think otherwise would be like a comic saying his joke is great
because all his fellow comics agree, if it bombs with audiences it
just means the audiences don't understand comedy. No, the whole point
is that audiences like it, if they don't, then it's not a great joke.

Felipe Contreras

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