[mythtv-users] mythtv-users Digest, Vol 54, Issue 184

Joe Borne joe.borne at gmail.com
Fri Sep 28 17:15:39 UTC 2007

> Scott Sharkey wrote:
> I agree that we should not start out rude, and too many times we do see
> that on the lists.  In my opinion, it's never OK to be rude, no matter
> what the provocation.  However, Just as often I have done exactly as you
> suggested, and pointed them at the FINE manual, or web page, or
> where-ever, and gotten back "But I just need you to tell me the answer,
> I don't have time to read all that"... or some variation.  I usually
> ignore that person after a couple attempts to be polite.  My mother told
> me not to say anything if I can't say anything nice...
> My point was that we, as we bring newbies into our community, should be
> setting their expectations properly.  It should probably be part of the
> "welcome message" they are sent when they sign up for the list.  And
> anyone who introduces a new member to our community ought to be telling
> them a variation of ESR's advice, and we ought to make that a priority.
> How many times do they post a question here which was just answered not
> hours before by someone else, asking the same question... Just look at
> the number of times someone came in and posted "We're loosing our free
> Listings feed... what are we gonna do?" questions, when even a brief
> review of the current list archives would have told them that there were
> already N+100 answers to that question on the list...
> It's a two way street, and as the "experienced users" we should be
> patient, and tolerant.  But we should also be educating them on proper
> behaviour in a open source community.
> And as for user interfaces, and making things accessible to newbies... I
> 100% agree.  Too often open source has a huge disadvantage because we
> design interfaces to accommodate every single crazy option possible,
> which makes our interfaces overwhelming and confusing.  We really need
> to start designing a "simple" interface that does most of what a newbie
> needs, and an "advanced" interface for the experienced guys.  No
> argument there.
> -Scott

I agree with the idea of setting a users expections properly at the onset, I
think the best way of doing so is with a better "on boarding process". Don't
ask me what, because right now my brain is rather fried with other things.
I'll get to it right after I fix that sink my gf has been bugging me about
for 6 months.

However, I think a clear argument CAN be made for separate interfaces for
configuring things. The network setup control panel used in most flavors of
Linux is a great example. Almost any newbie user can configure a network
setup with little heartache. Advanced users know where the config files are
and edit them by hand. The X GUI on Linux is the very embodiment of the
concept. Drag and drop rather than a line of instructions. Other operating
systems (and wise Linux developers) take advantage of a concept known as the
"advanced options" tab.

I personally feel the interface on MythTV is non-intuitive and I always
radically modify it after an install.  i find Mythtv-setup even worse. I'm
not slamming the developers at all though - the interface works very well
once you understand what it's asking you. But we've all seen the look of
bewilderment on the faces of our "non-techie" loved ones when they see this
set of screens. It's simply a case of an interface designed by people who
already deeply understand the software.

One weekend, in a galaxy far far away, when my gf is out of town, I intend
to create a set of mock up screens showing my ideas for a better interface.
I'll share them with the MythTV team and community and perhaps it will spark
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