emacs-orgmode@gnu.org archives
 help / color / mirror / code / Atom feed
* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
@ 2011-09-29  7:46 Rustom Mody
  2011-09-29  7:57 ` Rustom Mody
  2011-09-29  8:01 ` Rainer M Krug
  0 siblings, 2 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Rustom Mody @ 2011-09-29  7:46 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: emacs-orgmode; +Cc: levinejames

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 1778 bytes --]

Hi James.

If you do not grok text its unlikely you will appreciate a text editor.
emacs is not just a text editor its an exceptionally powerful text editor --
a power which is likely to alienate you even more.
So the best suggestion to someone who wishes to get into orgmode but finds
text (and text editors) unpleasant is to give up on orgmode, just dig into
emacs' simpler uses for a while and when a little more comfortable (with
emacs) try org again. Hopefully then your questions will be more focused to
this list and the answers will be more useful to you.

That said, there is some merit in (some of) what you say.
org is so many different things at the same time that for a noob to find
one's way through the documentation to make his usecase work with minimum
pain seems to be unnecessarily hard.


The beginner's customization guide:
http://orgmode.org/worg/org-configs/org-customization-guide.html
is of course a starting point.

But I wonder if it would be possible to structure it into something like
this outline so that different beginners could start at different places?

* Brainstorming-n-outlining
  TAB and the basic structure navigation and editing features
* Exporting and Publishing
*** html export
*** Odt export
*** Web publishing
*** Latex publishing
*** Presentations
***** Lightweight options
  http://orgmode.org/worg/org-configs/org-customization-guide.html
***** Beamer
* Babel
*** For programming
*** For teaching programming
*** For doing science (R)
*** For scientific publishing (R+Latex)
* Time/project mgmt (GTD)
*** Agenda
*** Time tracking
*** capture-archive
*** Journalling
*** org-habit
* Tables and spreadsheets
* Integration with other emacs uses
*** gnus
*** bbdb/ org-contacts
*** firefox (org-protocol)
*** graphics (R, ditaa...)

[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 2158 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-29  7:46 would take more than an org-mode strip-down Rustom Mody
@ 2011-09-29  7:57 ` Rustom Mody
  2011-09-29  8:01 ` Rainer M Krug
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Rustom Mody @ 2011-09-29  7:57 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: emacs-orgmode

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 296 bytes --]

On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 1:16 PM, Rustom Mody <rustompmody@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi James.
> *** Presentations
> ***** Lightweight options
>   http://orgmode.org/worg/org-configs/org-customization-guide.html
>

I meant this link:
http://orgmode.org/worg/org-tutorials/non-beamer-presentations.html

[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 737 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-29  7:46 would take more than an org-mode strip-down Rustom Mody
  2011-09-29  7:57 ` Rustom Mody
@ 2011-09-29  8:01 ` Rainer M Krug
  2011-10-04  6:33   ` Rustom Mody
  1 sibling, 1 reply; 20+ messages in thread
From: Rainer M Krug @ 2011-09-29  8:01 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Rustom Mody; +Cc: levinejames, emacs-orgmode

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 3556 bytes --]

On Thu, Sep 29, 2011 at 9:46 AM, Rustom Mody <rustompmody@gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi James.
>
> If you do not grok text its unlikely you will appreciate a text editor.
> emacs is not just a text editor its an exceptionally powerful text editor
> -- a power which is likely to alienate you even more.
> So the best suggestion to someone who wishes to get into orgmode but finds
> text (and text editors) unpleasant is to give up on orgmode, just dig into
> emacs' simpler uses for a while and when a little more comfortable (with
> emacs) try org again. Hopefully then your questions will be more focused to
> this list and the answers will be more useful to you.
>
> That said, there is some merit in (some of) what you say.
> org is so many different things at the same time that for a noob to find
> one's way through the documentation to make his usecase work with minimum
> pain seems to be unnecessarily hard.
>
>
> The beginner's customization guide:
> http://orgmode.org/worg/org-configs/org-customization-guide.html
> is of course a starting point.
>
> But I wonder if it would be possible to structure it into something like
> this outline so that different beginners could start at different places?
>
> * Brainstorming-n-outlining
>   TAB and the basic structure navigation and editing features
> * Exporting and Publishing
> *** html export
> *** Odt export
> *** Web publishing
> *** Latex publishing
> *** Presentations
> ***** Lightweight options
>   http://orgmode.org/worg/org-configs/org-customization-guide.html
> ***** Beamer
> * Babel
> *** For programming
> *** For teaching programming
> *** For doing science (R)
> *** For scientific publishing (R+Latex)
> * Time/project mgmt (GTD)
> *** Agenda
> *** Time tracking
> *** capture-archive
> *** Journalling
> *** org-habit
> * Tables and spreadsheets
> * Integration with other emacs uses
> *** gnus
> *** bbdb/ org-contacts
> *** firefox (org-protocol)
> *** graphics (R, ditaa...)
>
>
I would actually suggest to have a general introduction (what is org, what
can it do, what are the principles of org) and then go into different usage
scenarios and how to fulfill certain tasks. For example, I am using org-mode
exclusively for literate programming and some document writing, but not for
task management, calendar, email, etc. So at the beginning, I was really
confused by the whole agenda and publishing stuff, until I realized, that I
don't need it at all for what I am doing.

And after looking at your suggested outline, it is going into that
direction, but I would put e.g. "Exporting and Publishing" after the
different usage scenarios. so:

* Basic org
** what is it and what is it not
** what can it do
** principles and basics of org
*** org capture
* Usage scenarios
** Time Management
*** calendar
*** ...
** spreadsheets
*** ...
** task manager
** literate programming
*** general principles
*** examples for different programming languages
**** R
**** sh
**** ...

I like the headings "org for doing ...", but one has to be careful, that
they do not end uop in repeating to many things - so subheadings as links to
the relevant sections above would be quite useful.

Cheers,

Rainer


-- 
Rainer M. Krug, PhD (Conservation Ecology, SUN), MSc (Conservation Biology,
UCT), Dipl. Phys. (Germany)

Centre of Excellence for Invasion Biology
Stellenbosch University
South Africa

Tel :       +33 - (0)9 53 10 27 44
Cell:       +33 - (0)6 85 62 59 98
Fax (F):       +33 - (0)9 58 10 27 44

Fax (D):    +49 - (0)3 21 21 25 22 44

email:      Rainer@krugs.de

Skype:      RMkrug

[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 4324 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-29  8:01 ` Rainer M Krug
@ 2011-10-04  6:33   ` Rustom Mody
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Rustom Mody @ 2011-10-04  6:33 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: emacs-orgmode

[-- Attachment #1: Type: text/plain, Size: 865 bytes --]

Suvayu ali said

> This made me think, although not exactly what James is expecting but
> it might be possible to package a minimal Emacs distribution with the
> latest stable org-mode included as an alternate download. It could
> supply some skeleton files which would be used as default
> customisations and extended as the user grows in lisp proficiency.
> Pretty much the same as `emacs -Q -l minimal-org.el'. This could be
> offered as a download on the home page for non-techie users.
>

+1

There is a recent question on the python mailing list
http://groups.google.com/group/comp.lang.python/browse_thread/thread/38017fbf4c06f5f5#

A couple of us responded with '... you want org mode...'
It suggests one more user-story to the list I earlier suggested: org as
mini-dbms.
[Traditionally spreadsheets are used for calculation as well as simply
storing data]

[-- Attachment #2: Type: text/html, Size: 1213 bytes --]

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-10-03 20:44 ` Allen S. Rout
@ 2011-10-04 13:28   ` Carson Chittom
  0 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Carson Chittom @ 2011-10-04 13:28 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: emacs-orgmode

"Allen S. Rout" <asr@ufl.edu> writes:

> In My Opinion, the current docs in org-mode are targeted at those who
> expect to have their own heads and shoulders inside the 'engine
> compartment' of org and emacs.  This makes them a poor tool to
> communicate with End-Users.  But this might be acceptable, because
> there's no hood on the engine, and the bloody thing is steered with a
> rudder and laterals, instead of the nice sane wheel and pedals
> everyone else uses. :)

I've always thought that Marus Ranum's comment[1] on X applied equally well
to Emacs:  "If the designers of [Emacs] built cars, there would be no
fewer than five steering wheels hidden about the cockpit, none of which
followed the same principles---but you'd be able to shift gears with
your car stereo.  Useful feature, that."

Of course, he was being snarky, but some people (me!) *want* to be able
to change gears with the stereo.

[1] http://www.art.net/~hopkins/Don/unix-haters/x-windows/disaster.html

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-30  6:00 ` Carsten Dominik
  2011-09-30  9:38   ` Jambunathan K
  2011-09-30 16:59   ` Thomas S. Dye
@ 2011-10-04  0:13   ` suvayu ali
  2 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: suvayu ali @ 2011-10-04  0:13 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Carsten Dominik; +Cc: James Levine, Emacs-orgmode

Hi Carsten,

On Fri, Sep 30, 2011 at 8:00 AM, Carsten Dominik
<carsten.dominik@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> 3. File structure and letting other people be you assistant
>
>   I agree that Org-mode will not be easy for an assistant to open up
>   in you absence, if that assistant is not trained in
>   Emacs/Org-mode.  A program like Things is *much* better for this
>   work flow.
>

This made me think, although not exactly what James is expecting but
it might be possible to package a minimal Emacs distribution with the
latest stable org-mode included as an alternate download. It could
supply some skeleton files which would be used as default
customisations and extended as the user grows in lisp proficiency.
Pretty much the same as `emacs -Q -l minimal-org.el'. This could be
offered as a download on the home page for non-techie users.

I would expect having a download only for Windows and OS X should
suffice since Linux users already have Emacs (with some version of
org-mode) from their respective repositories. Is that an idea worth
pursuing?

-- 
Suvayu

Open source is the future. It sets us free.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-27 17:04 James Levine
                   ` (4 preceding siblings ...)
  2011-09-30  6:00 ` Carsten Dominik
@ 2011-10-03 20:44 ` Allen S. Rout
  2011-10-04 13:28   ` Carson Chittom
  5 siblings, 1 reply; 20+ messages in thread
From: Allen S. Rout @ 2011-10-03 20:44 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: emacs-orgmode

On 09/27/2011 01:04 PM, James Levine wrote:

> I thought I’d zoom out and tell you what a consumer experience is
> like:

I'm replying off the list.  BTW, are you either The Conductor, or The
Author? ;)

Your experience seems to be informed by a sense that 'org-mode' is
eager for market share or some such.  I think you'll find that's not a
common case.  Certainly, org-mode afficionados are eager to expound on
their preferred tools; but that doesn't mean they're after mass-market
appeal.

For example:

> 2) Some things are just better with a gui.

to a project subtitled "Your life in plain text" suggests your
perspective is not aligned with that of many of the project
participants.  I do not mean by this a disparagement of your
perspective, merely discriminating it from that of the average nerd.



Your composition style is literate and prolific; you might enjoy this
series of essays by Neal Stephenson, entitled "In the beginning was
the Command Line".

http://steve-parker.org/articles/others/stephenson/

(also available from the author's website in other formats)

http://www.cryptonomicon.com/beginning.html


but the discussion of 'fallibility...' includes several paragraphs
which I feel might be illuminating, especially on the topic of
documentation.

http://steve-parker.org/articles/others/stephenson/fallibility.shtml

In My Opinion, the current docs in org-mode are targeted at those who
expect to have their own heads and shoulders inside the 'engine
compartment' of org and emacs.  This makes them a poor tool to
communicate with End-Users.  But this might be acceptable, because
there's no hood on the engine, and the bloody thing is steered with a
rudder and laterals, instead of the nice sane wheel and pedals
everyone else uses. :)


- Allen S. Rout

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-30  6:00 ` Carsten Dominik
  2011-09-30  9:38   ` Jambunathan K
@ 2011-09-30 16:59   ` Thomas S. Dye
  2011-10-04  0:13   ` suvayu ali
  2 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Thomas S. Dye @ 2011-09-30 16:59 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Carsten Dominik; +Cc: James Levine, Emacs-orgmode

Carsten Dominik <carsten.dominik@gmail.com> writes:

> 1. Startup difficulties for non-EMacs users
>    
>    One of the fundamental aspect you discuss is the difficulty to
>    enter the Org-mode world as a general computer user, possibly not
>    familiar Emacs.
>
>    Today's world expects programs to be self-explanatory, if possible
>    without any documentation reading at all (no, I am not saying that
>    this is what *you personally* expect, I mean in general).  In the
>    world of iOS, it is standard that one can download an application
>    and at least get started with it by playfully launching it.
>    Manuals and Documentation are generally disliked.  This also has to
>    with the fleeing nature of peoples use of programs.  It is common
>    to spend more time looking for a tool or program than the time one
>    uses it before discarding or at least ignoring it.  I have many
>    apps on my iPod Touch which I have downloaded, used once for a very
>    short time, and then not ever again.  So if there is a 70% chance
>    that I will ditch the program after a week, the cost of reading
>    documentation is extremely high. 
>
>    Mind you, I do think that this is (today) a legitimate expectation.
>    However, a user with this kind of expectation would be very
>    difficult to make feel at home in Org-mode.  The main startup
>    problem is already that is runs in Emacs, and a good new version of
>    Emacs is not frequently part of a computer system for "normal"
>    people.  Org-mode really lives in Emacs. If flourishes on so many
>    ideas that are deeply ingrained in Emacs.  So much of Org-mode use
>    is quite obvious when you already use and love Emacs.  The tags
>    issue you mention is a great example.  Emacs solves these things
>    using "completion" (see also Eric Fraga's post in this thread).  An
>    Emacs user automatically tries to type a keyword like this by
>    typing a few letters and then hitting M-TAB in order to do
>    completion.  This is something the spine does for an Emacs user, no
>    brain required.
>
>    Obviously this will be very hard for a person that comes with a
>    different expectation to this program.  And yes, this could be
>    helped with putting more GUI-like elements into Org files.  For
>    example, we could make tags look like buttons and let the user
>    click on them in order to change this.  But, I and many Emacs users
>    would see this as a distraction, a detour.  We even do have this
>    feature, but it is not turned on by default.
>
>    I think that the real issue here is that Org-mode was not
>    (originally) intended for "normal" people.  It is a geeks program,
>    and we take our pride from making vi users (vi is another
>    programmers editor) jealous enough so that they will create a clone
>    of the program.  We have not even begun to cater for another
>    audience, and this is the thing you, James, are running up against.
>    The website we have is not aimed at the general audience.  The fact
>    that people like you even know about the program and consider using
>    it speaks for the success Org-mode has been.
>
>    If we, as the Org-mode community, would like to draw in a new class
>    of people, the website would have to be changed.  We'd need a basic
>    page, with only a link to the geek stuff.  And the installation
>    instruction should be:
>
>    a) Download and install Emacs
>    b) Create a file with extension ".org" and edit it in Emacs.
>
>    i.e. no links to how to install the latest version etc etc.  Russel
>    Adam has pointed (earlier in this thread) to his intro video for
>    Windows users, this has the right spirit, but still assumes users
>    might want to update Org-mode.  You might have gotten off to a
>    better start with such an entry page - but that does not mean you'd
>    like to program because it would not work intuitively at first
>    sight.
>

I see this issue as an opportunity to innovate rather than as some
limitation of Org-mode related to it being a geeks program.  As several
others have pointed out, complexity is the price paid for flexibility.
Yes, it is difficult for an avocational programmer or a non-programmer
to tailor Org-mode properly, but this is because it is possible to do so
many things with Org-mode and not because Org-mode is structured
illogically or limited in what it will do within its realm.  

For the sake of discussion, I'd like to disagree with Carsten and
suggest that the Org-mode community has begun to cater to another
audience.  I'd also like to disagree (I think) with James that Org-mode
requires something along the lines of a strip down.

It seems to me that the reproducible research capabilities of Org-mode
might work as a way to "package" Org-mode for any number of purposes.
The main focus of this work up until now has been to reproduce
scientific research papers, along with their data analyses.  But why not
grocery shopping planners, workout trackers, etc.?  Eric Schulte taught
me how to put all the emacs and Org-mode customizations in an init.el
file and then call emacs with the -Q option so I can be certain that
other users are configured correctly.  This is half the battle.  An
arbitrarily complex .org file can be passed to the pre-configured emacs
instance from the command line.  The file can contain all the
instructions needed to use it (metadata) and it can be set up to do
pretty much anything, replete with gui buttons, as Carsten has pointed
out. 

A fancy setup might use an installer to download emacs and make certain
that "emacs" on the command line points to the right executable.  The
ungainly "emacs -Q etc." command line could certainly be hidden behind a
cool looking button on the Desktop, or some such thing.

All the best,
Tom





-- 
Thomas S. Dye
http://www.tsdye.com

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-30  6:00 ` Carsten Dominik
@ 2011-09-30  9:38   ` Jambunathan K
  2011-09-30 16:59   ` Thomas S. Dye
  2011-10-04  0:13   ` suvayu ali
  2 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Jambunathan K @ 2011-09-30  9:38 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Carsten Dominik; +Cc: James Levine, Emacs-orgmode


This is a quote from Richard Stallman's speech & article.

,---- From http://www.gnu.org/gnu/rms-lisp.html
| Multics Emacs proved to be a great success — programming new editing
| commands was so convenient that even the secretaries in his office
| started learning how to use it. They used a manual someone had written
| which showed how to extend Emacs, but didn't say it was a
| programming. So the secretaries, who believed they couldn't do
| programming, weren't scared off. They read the manual, discovered they
| could do useful things and they learned to program.
`----

Secretaries were able to embrace Emacs only because they didn't fear it
in the first place. May be they were a bit curious as well.

Remember, the secrataries referred to in this article are secretaries
who ran in to Geekiest of Geeks day in and day out in the years when
computers were even unheard of by the common masses.

Only words I can say to James Levine is this:

1. Have no fear. Be curious. Emacs is easy to learn and use.
2. Have no fear. Be curious. Orgmode is  easy to learn and use.

Both Emacs and Orgmode will make you *MORE* thoughtful. I wouldn't
hesitate to add this thoughtful men make the world a better place for
themselves and others.

That said, I would say discard Orgmode. Use pen and paper. Use notice
boards - much like the modern whiteboards or the ancient blackboards -
to exchange notes with your workers. 

Go with what works for you. 

Jambunathan K.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-27 17:04 James Levine
                   ` (3 preceding siblings ...)
  2011-09-28 14:18 ` Jambunathan K
@ 2011-09-30  6:00 ` Carsten Dominik
  2011-09-30  9:38   ` Jambunathan K
                     ` (2 more replies)
  2011-10-03 20:44 ` Allen S. Rout
  5 siblings, 3 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Carsten Dominik @ 2011-09-30  6:00 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: James Levine; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode

Dear James,

thanks a lot for your thoughts on Org-mode.  I admit that I had to
read them several times to fully understand what you are saying.
While you anchor your argument on the documenation (be it overabundant
or not the right one), I think you are making a number of much deeper
points.  I'll try to write a few thoughts back, and maybe we can get a
good discussion going.


1. Startup difficulties for non-EMacs users
   
   One of the fundamental aspect you discuss is the difficulty to
   enter the Org-mode world as a general computer user, possibly not
   familiar Emacs.

   Today's world expects programs to be self-explanatory, if possible
   without any documentation reading at all (no, I am not saying that
   this is what *you personally* expect, I mean in general).  In the
   world of iOS, it is standard that one can download an application
   and at least get started with it by playfully launching it.
   Manuals and Documentation are generally disliked.  This also has to
   with the fleeing nature of peoples use of programs.  It is common
   to spend more time looking for a tool or program than the time one
   uses it before discarding or at least ignoring it.  I have many
   apps on my iPod Touch which I have downloaded, used once for a very
   short time, and then not ever again.  So if there is a 70% chance
   that I will ditch the program after a week, the cost of reading
   documentation is extremely high. 

   Mind you, I do think that this is (today) a legitimate expectation.
   However, a user with this kind of expectation would be very
   difficult to make feel at home in Org-mode.  The main startup
   problem is already that is runs in Emacs, and a good new version of
   Emacs is not frequently part of a computer system for "normal"
   people.  Org-mode really lives in Emacs. If flourishes on so many
   ideas that are deeply ingrained in Emacs.  So much of Org-mode use
   is quite obvious when you already use and love Emacs.  The tags
   issue you mention is a great example.  Emacs solves these things
   using "completion" (see also Eric Fraga's post in this thread).  An
   Emacs user automatically tries to type a keyword like this by
   typing a few letters and then hitting M-TAB in order to do
   completion.  This is something the spine does for an Emacs user, no
   brain required.

   Obviously this will be very hard for a person that comes with a
   different expectation to this program.  And yes, this could be
   helped with putting more GUI-like elements into Org files.  For
   example, we could make tags look like buttons and let the user
   click on them in order to change this.  But, I and many Emacs users
   would see this as a distraction, a detour.  We even do have this
   feature, but it is not turned on by default.

   I think that the real issue here is that Org-mode was not
   (originally) intended for "normal" people.  It is a geeks program,
   and we take our pride from making vi users (vi is another
   programmers editor) jealous enough so that they will create a clone
   of the program.  We have not even begun to cater for another
   audience, and this is the thing you, James, are running up against.
   The website we have is not aimed at the general audience.  The fact
   that people like you even know about the program and consider using
   it speaks for the success Org-mode has been.

   If we, as the Org-mode community, would like to draw in a new class
   of people, the website would have to be changed.  We'd need a basic
   page, with only a link to the geek stuff.  And the installation
   instruction should be:

   a) Download and install Emacs
   b) Create a file with extension ".org" and edit it in Emacs.

   i.e. no links to how to install the latest version etc etc.  Russel
   Adam has pointed (earlier in this thread) to his intro video for
   Windows users, this has the right spirit, but still assumes users
   might want to update Org-mode.  You might have gotten off to a
   better start with such an entry page - but that does not mean you'd
   like to program because it would not work intuitively at first
   sight.

2. Outline as the basic paradigm

   Another issue you address is that for you it is not true that all
   ideas begin to take form through an Outline.  Because Outlines
   still have a linear structure.  I can totally see where you are
   coming from.  However, what is the alternative?  Mindmaps?  Or just
   a piece of paper?  

   The reason why, for me, outlines are the best approach is because
   there are so easily restructured.  The outline structure inherently
   cuts the information into many small pieces, and Org-mode excels in
   pushing these pieces around (we call this "Structure Editing" and
   "Refiling").  This allows me to start just with a brain dump, and
   the to organize so that things make sense.  This may not work for
   the creative process of an artist, but for starting and organizing
   a project, I think it works amazingly well.

   You talk about instructions on "bridging the free-association,
   brain storming, linear thinking, mind-mapping, UML, media files and
   inspiration, concepts directly into an Org-mode file would be of
   help", and that you might be able to do something here.  I am all
   ears.  Mind you, Org-mode will only link to media files and such
   things.  It is not an Evernote, wherein you easily dump all kinds
   of file types.

3. File structure and letting other people be you assistant

   I agree that Org-mode will not be easy for an assistant to open up
   in you absence, if that assistant is not trained in
   Emacs/Org-mode.  A program like Things is *much* better for this
   work flow.

   It is important to make the distinction that Org-mode is not a
   stand-alone application that you double-clock and then you are in
   your environment.  The org-mode file with your projects is but one
   document.  You can, of course put this file on the desktop and
   double-click it to launch Emacs and make it look at that file
   (setup will be required to make this work, I am afraid).


With kind regards

- Carsten Dominik

On 27.9.2011, at 19:04, James Levine wrote:

> Greetings,
> 
> As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I’ve felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode. I like the idea very much, as I am trying to strip down to an Autofocus system  and take a more intuitive, frictionless approach. Because I’m not following the play-by-play on the gnu boards, I thought I’d zoom out and tell you what a consumer experience is like:
> 
> 1) It’s not that there isn’t enough documentation, it’s that there’s too much of it.
> 	Imagine that setting up a wordpress database is probably too much for the average person. You go to wordpress.org (and at this point you’d already need to read the fine print or you’d probably point to wordpress.com) and the button simply tells you to download “here”. Now what?
> 
> 	In other words, if you want to expand popularity among end-users, not coders, there needs to be a middle ground: the visual step-by-step needs to be uncluttered by additional description.  Org-mode is further obscured by the fact that other services, a text editor and such need to be pointed to as well in the “getting started process." I need to know why I’m being forwarded to an external web page or why I need to read on between each download link, or how to keep track of each link if each one is taking me to a separate page. You wouldn’t want someone telling you the history of every landmark that you passed if they were giving you driving instructions, would you? The verbose approach doesn’t actually help retention, it floods it. The gnu support community, like this email, is very heavily text-based.
> 
> 2) Some things are just better with a gui.
> 	I’m referring specifically to the more popularized use of tags or “keywords.” Most all the file management clients fail at this somewhere. You are requiring people to be literate, as in secondary school spelling-NOT culture, not just in a single instance of clarity, but in a manner that can be consistently repeated, while you’re catering to an audience that probably has a higher than average proportion of dyslexics, autistics, and college drop-outs in its midst. 
> 
> Furthermore, tagging conventions are easy to break, and most End-Users won’t know to instill them to begin with. “Have I been using the plural of my common and collective nouns? What about that time I hashtagged a task to myself in my email and I put the tag in the Subject heading? Did I spell it the same way my tags were set up back on my desktop?” It’s too easy to orphan tags, spell them wrong, flip a p with a q. Without a pull up, cash-register-like cheat sheet that lets you touch the tags that you already made, one will leave a trail of junk mark-up. Not to mention, free tagging does not endorse a constrained vocabulary as it would, say, if you were trying to figure out what kind of lettuce someone was buying and you worked the register. I’m also inclined to believe that crossing something out with my finger, or putting a check in a checkbox is more intuitive and less prone to error than managing "[x]”s in a document.
> 
> 3) the 2nd problem ties in with this. Without a constrained tagging vocabulary and other conventions, an org-mode task system is not that easy to subscribe to when trying to encourage a team to get on board. The list is not inherently intuitive to all end-users. What is logic to one person is not logic to the next. (This may come as a surprise to many coders).
> 
> 4) The master org-mode file will get lost in the shuffle. My litmus test for a good file management system is “if I’m sick or thankfully on a beach that day, can everyone else to whom my work pertains, understand for themselves how to incorporate what they need from me?” Are my naming conventions clear? Are my directory structures clear? Can people find them on their own, or are they going to call me while I’m trying to enjoy the beach? Can I effectively be a “ghost in the machine” for my institution? Or have I made people dependent upon me  for the petty fact that my workflows are not understood by anyone else? 
> 
> 	Again, feeding off point 3, org-mode does little to instill good file management habits. I do appreciate that the plain text approach builds off simplicity rather than the adhered complexity of a database. Nonetheless, if I open up “Things”, for example (I don’t use it myself), as an app to keep my tasks, I know there’s a central repository for these stray little database entry “tasks”. If I’m out of the office, I can tell whoever is working on my assignments to open up “Things,” or I can share this with them. Because org-mode doesn’t reinforce where files are saved to or how many files are accessed for my various projects, there’s plenty of wiggle room for bad file management habits to come into play. Instead of telling my colleague to open “Things”, I need to tell them, "look in my documents folder, open this file with this app. When you’re done with this by 1p, I saved the task list for the catering event this evening in my dropbox. Look under documents, Jim’s stuff." You see where this is going. 
> 
> An org-mode text document is just too flimsy to stand alone in the sea of files on a computer. That’s why evernote is successful-it’s a more orderly place for scraps. People used to muck up folders and drag stuff to their desktop with the same caliber of content. If you held your desktop as sacred, or your Emacs platform, what then happens when these other “temporary” odds and ends nonetheless compete with your focus? 
> 
> 5) I don’t subscribe to the notion that all ideas begin to take form through an Outline. Outlines were something pounded into lots of heads as kids, and they work for some and not for others. To me, they are far too linear of an invention to trust with germinating ideas and projects. My outline skills are epically good, but I still don’t find the outline as the key tool for repurposing and leveraging divergent ideas (or for note-taking for that matter). And again, with an awareness management system like org-mode, how would you effectively create an Outline for Everything? Would that be any easier to navigate than the index card that I made just for today in my back pocket? Then to play the provocateur, if I can’t create an  Outline for Everything how many little baskets of Anythings do I want to enforce in my life? Or should I just start with my work? (then what happens to the rest of my life? Should I use refrigerator magnets?) Where do I put these separate Outlines if I can’t look in the same place at any time for them? How do they fit in with each other? The mobile implementation of org-mode thus far further confuses the matter-it places these divergent files in a file browser. How does that actually help me work the system? What about a front end?
> 
> 	Perhaps some instruction on bridging the free-association, brain storming, linear thinking, mind-mapping, UML, media files and inspiration, concepts directly into an Org-mode file would be of help. If I understood org-mode, I might even be the person to do it. Many ideas will never see a formal outline first (even if the concept of an outline latently exists)-only my software design documents or other specification sheets would show through with such formality.
> 
> Please tell me if and where these points will be addressed, as their a slim chance of my renavigating to the live thread where I found your email (see point 1). Hope this message is in the right hands. I’m incredibly grateful for this line of communication and for the work you are doing, and I want to make this work.
> 
> James Levine-East Village, NYC

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-28 14:47   ` James Levine
  2011-09-28 14:58     ` Jude DaShiell
  2011-09-28 15:33     ` Russell Adams
@ 2011-09-28 18:34     ` Rasmus
  2 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Rasmus @ 2011-09-28 18:34 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: James Levine; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode

Hi James,

Thanks for your mails.


> You can not deny, however, that even the design of this
> forum is but one example of how the Emacs community maintains its
> exclusivity. Own up to it. 

It's a mailing list ≠ forum :) Anyway news is not fashionable, but sites
like Gmane makes it quite available.  The problem is not news but that
people generally does not know news.


> But for those who are following the statements on comparing org-mode
> to commercial substitutes like Taskpaper 

It's only a substitute if you so desire.

> In order for org-mode to be attractive as an alternative to popular
> self-help like GTD, Covey and the market of task managers both digital
> and paper that exist, this community would need to take all this
> extensive documentation and package it. 

I simply can grasp this.  The manual is provided in several flavors; if
anything the manual is lacking in some areas, but in general it's great.
Several tutorials, specifically on GTD exists on Worg (our `wiki').


> Do not confuse content with transparency.

Do not confuse a learning curve with transparency.  Algebra, philosophy
and economics also take time.


> Should open-source software not concern itself with good
> bullet points?

Emacs and therefore Org is free software.


>  Does this imply that I’m not appreciative of the work?

Course not, please keep voicing your opinion and let me voice mine :) 


> There’s an opportunity cost with finding the time for even this
> thread, which I’m hoping we can agree should not be a barrier of entry
> for those who are simply interested in trying org-mode. As it stands,
> however, just trying org-mode takes lots of reading if just to install
> correctly. That’s all I’m saying.

By now several packages of Emacs for beginners exists.  On mac there is
the Aquamacs, on Windows I think there is something called ErgoMacs or
something like that.  Plus there are various Emacs Starter Kits.


> Text is but one way that people learn. If you’re documenting sofware,
> it leans towards rational, logical, and linear thinking. 

This method has proven evolutionary stable so far, has it not?


> Some people require a full-picture model first seeing things from many
> angles. Other’s prefer trial and error, and others, still, enjoy
> hypotheticals. 

All of these seems compatible to a linear presentation.  All text is
linear but you may elect a certain order of texts suiting your needs.


> People can adopt different strategies along the way. But to insist on
> only one method of learning and sharing, while being concerned that
> you’re not meeting a larger audience is tantamount to calling the rest
> of the class stupid, or simply a manner of dishonesty with one’s own
> motivations.

This is the greatness of a freedom of ideas.  People may opt in on their
favorite approach, no?


> Maybe what would be helpful is some bridge instruction: “Graduating
> from Taskpaper: so you’re ready to try org-mode. What to expect:” I do
> find that if I have an orientation point, even if it wasn’t the best
> decision in the first place, I have a better reference as to the
> changes I would envision and what the value of future options would
> be.

You are talking about specific to general `solutions'.  As many have
pointed out this will necessarily lead to a restricted set of
possibilities.  It further assumes that there is an `appropriate' or
`encouraged' way of utilizing Org.  Aside from a few hard-coded¹ symbols
this is very much not the case.  I use Org for writing first and task
management second.  Other use it for management first. 

That being said Worg is open.  If you feel a particular tutorial
(usually specific to specific documents) is missing feel free to add it,
/or/ describe what is lacking.  For instance theoretical as well as
practical toughs on GTD is widely discussed on Worg.


> what’s the ethical ambiguity in earning a living from setting up
> management systems for people and institutions, even if you’re using
> open-source material? 

There is no ethical ambiguity.  It would be selling a service.  This is
encouraged.  The ethical issues is concerned with not providing people
with the opportunity to `remix' and re-share to use a slightly different
terminology (see freedom 0-3 of free software definition).

–Rasmus


Footnotes: 
¹  Is that still the case or was everything such a `*' changed to
variables?

-- 
Sent from my Emacs

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-28 14:47   ` James Levine
  2011-09-28 14:58     ` Jude DaShiell
@ 2011-09-28 15:33     ` Russell Adams
  2011-09-28 18:34     ` Rasmus
  2 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Russell Adams @ 2011-09-28 15:33 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: emacs-orgmode

On Wed, Sep 28, 2011 at 10:47:31AM -0400, James Levine wrote:
> I?ll go on leap of faith that the email I?ve been provided actually contributes to the same thread I emailed to earlier. Please everyone: thank you for looking out. This is clearly a thoughtful and supportive community. You can not deny, however, that even the design of this forum is but one example of how the Emacs community maintains its exclusivity. Own up to it. If there?s no problem, then don?t fix it. But for those who are following the statements on comparing org-mode to commercial substitutes like Taskpaper and see this as an outcome of people making less-informed choices, I hope I can keep your attention. Once I know which way to point my eyes, I promise I will fall in line. Please take a step back folks, there?s an implied objective that I?m making which I?ll state more explici
 tly:
>
> In order for org-mode to be attractive as an alternative to popular self-help like GTD, Covey and the market of task managers both digital and paper that exist, this community would need to take all this extensive documentation and package it. Do not confuse content with transparency. People don?t even read this much before electing their President. Should open-source software not concern itself with good bullet points? Does this imply that I?m not appreciative of the work?  There?s an opportunity cost with finding the time for even this thread, which I?m hoping we can agree should not be a barrier of entry for those who are simply interested in trying org-mode. As it stands, however, just trying org-mode takes lots of reading if just to install correctly. That?s all I?m saying.

Or you can watch a single 30 minute video:

http://vimeo.com/16533939

May be tooting my own horn, but I understand what you're saying. Org
isn't "prepackaged" nor does it come with documentation saying "here's
how you use me to accomplish X". Everyone tends to find their own
style of using the tools Org provides to manage information.

Good luck!

>
> Text is but one way that people learn. If you?re documenting sofware, it leans towards rational, logical, and linear thinking. Some people require a full-picture model first seeing things from many angles. Other?s prefer trial and error, and others, still, enjoy hypotheticals. People can adopt different strategies along the way. But to insist on only one method of learning and sharing, while being concerned that you?re not meeting a larger audience is tantamount to calling the rest of the class stupid, or simply a manner of dishonesty with one?s own motivations.
>
> Maybe what would be helpful is some bridge instruction: ?Graduating from Taskpaper: so you?re ready to try org-mode. What to expect:? I do find that if I have an orientation point, even if it wasn?t the best decision in the first place, I have a better reference as to the changes I would envision and what the value of future options would be.
>
> cheers
>
> James
> On Sep 28, 2011, at 10:18 AM, Jambunathan K wrote:
>
> James
>
> > Greetings,
> >
> > As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I?ve
> > felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode.
>
> This is another perfectly practical way to address the problem that you
> are contending to with.
>
> https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-orgmode/2011-04/msg00173.html
>
> Jambunathan K.
>
>
>


------------------------------------------------------------------
Russell Adams                            RLAdams@AdamsInfoServ.com

PGP Key ID:     0x1160DCB3           http://www.adamsinfoserv.com/

Fingerprint:    1723 D8CA 4280 1EC9 557F  66E8 1154 E018 1160 DCB3

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-28 14:47   ` James Levine
@ 2011-09-28 14:58     ` Jude DaShiell
  2011-09-28 15:33     ` Russell Adams
  2011-09-28 18:34     ` Rasmus
  2 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Jude DaShiell @ 2011-09-28 14:58 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: James Levine; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode, Jambunathan K

There is no exclusivity connected to emacs or anything else on gnu.  More 
like extreme inclusivity.  If there was even a little exclusivity on gnu 
or within linux, I wouldn't be able to install it on a laptop by myself 
without any vision!  However no version of windows can be installed on a 
laptop or tower by anyone with no vision by themselves to this date and 
that exclusivity will remain with Windows 8 and probably beyond Windows 8 
as well. On Wed, 28 Sep 2011, James Levine wrote:

> I?ll go on leap of faith that the email I?ve been provided actually contributes to the same thread I emailed to earlier. Please everyone: thank you for looking out. This is clearly a thoughtful and supportive community. You can not deny, however, that even the design of this forum is but one example of how the Emacs community maintains its exclusivity. Own up to it. If there?s no problem, then don?t fix it. But for those who are following the statements on comparing org-mode to commercial substitutes like Taskpaper and see this as an outcome of people making less-informed choices, I hope I can keep your attention. Once I know which way to point my eyes, I promise I will fall in line. Please take a step back folks, there?s an implied objective that I?m making which I?ll state more explici
 tly:
> 
> In order for org-mode to be attractive as an alternative to popular self-help like GTD, Covey and the market of task managers both digital and paper that exist, this community would need to take all this extensive documentation and package it. Do not confuse content with transparency. People don?t even read this much before electing their President. Should open-source software not concern itself with good bullet points? Does this imply that I?m not appreciative of the work?  There?s an opportunity cost with finding the time for even this thread, which I?m hoping we can agree should not be a barrier of entry for those who are simply interested in trying org-mode. As it stands, however, just trying org-mode takes lots of reading if just to install correctly. That?s all I?m saying. 
> 
> Text is but one way that people learn. If you?re documenting sofware, it leans towards rational, logical, and linear thinking. Some people require a full-picture model first seeing things from many angles. Other?s prefer trial and error, and others, still, enjoy hypotheticals. People can adopt different strategies along the way. But to insist on only one method of learning and sharing, while being concerned that you?re not meeting a larger audience is tantamount to calling the rest of the class stupid, or simply a manner of dishonesty with one?s own motivations.
> 
> Maybe what would be helpful is some bridge instruction: ?Graduating from Taskpaper: so you?re ready to try org-mode. What to expect:? I do find that if I have an orientation point, even if it wasn?t the best decision in the first place, I have a better reference as to the changes I would envision and what the value of future options would be.
> 
> cheers
> 
> James
> On Sep 28, 2011, at 10:18 AM, Jambunathan K wrote:
> 
> James
> 
> > Greetings,
> > 
> > As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I?ve
> > felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode. 
> 
> This is another perfectly practical way to address the problem that you
> are contending to with.
> 
> https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-orgmode/2011-04/msg00173.html
> 
> Jambunathan K.
> 
> 
> 
> 

Jude <jdashiel@shellworld.net>
"I love the Pope, I love seeing him in his Pope-Mobile, his three feet
of bullet proof plexi-glass. That's faith in action folks! You know he's
got God on his side."
~ Bill Hicks

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-28 14:18 ` Jambunathan K
  2011-09-28 14:47   ` James Levine
@ 2011-09-28 14:54   ` James Levine
  1 sibling, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: James Levine @ 2011-09-28 14:54 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jambunathan K; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode

Tis true. Just like Wordpress and other terrific open resources: just because you implement them doesn’t mean you’re the type to do the tinkering. People make a living off building websites (I daresay, you could make a career of fixing the screw-ups of people embarking in WP who think that means they’re supposed to do everything themselves), so what’s the ethical ambiguity in earning a living from setting up management systems for people and institutions, even if you’re using open-source material? Just wish I was savvy enough to be on par with the current implementers.
J

On Sep 28, 2011, at 10:18 AM, Jambunathan K wrote:


James

> Greetings,
> 
> As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I’ve
> felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode. 

This is another perfectly practical way to address the problem that you
are contending to with.

https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-orgmode/2011-04/msg00173.html

Jambunathan K.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-28 14:18 ` Jambunathan K
@ 2011-09-28 14:47   ` James Levine
  2011-09-28 14:58     ` Jude DaShiell
                       ` (2 more replies)
  2011-09-28 14:54   ` James Levine
  1 sibling, 3 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: James Levine @ 2011-09-28 14:47 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Jambunathan K; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode

I’ll go on leap of faith that the email I’ve been provided actually contributes to the same thread I emailed to earlier. Please everyone: thank you for looking out. This is clearly a thoughtful and supportive community. You can not deny, however, that even the design of this forum is but one example of how the Emacs community maintains its exclusivity. Own up to it. If there’s no problem, then don’t fix it. But for those who are following the statements on comparing org-mode to commercial substitutes like Taskpaper and see this as an outcome of people making less-informed choices, I hope I can keep your attention. Once I know which way to point my eyes, I promise I will fall in line. Please take a step back folks, there’s an implied objective that I’m making which I’ll state more explicitly:

In order for org-mode to be attractive as an alternative to popular self-help like GTD, Covey and the market of task managers both digital and paper that exist, this community would need to take all this extensive documentation and package it. Do not confuse content with transparency. People don’t even read this much before electing their President. Should open-source software not concern itself with good bullet points? Does this imply that I’m not appreciative of the work?  There’s an opportunity cost with finding the time for even this thread, which I’m hoping we can agree should not be a barrier of entry for those who are simply interested in trying org-mode. As it stands, however, just trying org-mode takes lots of reading if just to install correctly. That’s all I’m saying. 

Text is but one way that people learn. If you’re documenting sofware, it leans towards rational, logical, and linear thinking. Some people require a full-picture model first seeing things from many angles. Other’s prefer trial and error, and others, still, enjoy hypotheticals. People can adopt different strategies along the way. But to insist on only one method of learning and sharing, while being concerned that you’re not meeting a larger audience is tantamount to calling the rest of the class stupid, or simply a manner of dishonesty with one’s own motivations.

Maybe what would be helpful is some bridge instruction: “Graduating from Taskpaper: so you’re ready to try org-mode. What to expect:” I do find that if I have an orientation point, even if it wasn’t the best decision in the first place, I have a better reference as to the changes I would envision and what the value of future options would be.

cheers

James
On Sep 28, 2011, at 10:18 AM, Jambunathan K wrote:

James

> Greetings,
> 
> As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I’ve
> felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode. 

This is another perfectly practical way to address the problem that you
are contending to with.

https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-orgmode/2011-04/msg00173.html

Jambunathan K.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-27 17:04 James Levine
                   ` (2 preceding siblings ...)
  2011-09-28 13:27 ` Jambunathan K
@ 2011-09-28 14:18 ` Jambunathan K
  2011-09-28 14:47   ` James Levine
  2011-09-28 14:54   ` James Levine
  2011-09-30  6:00 ` Carsten Dominik
  2011-10-03 20:44 ` Allen S. Rout
  5 siblings, 2 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Jambunathan K @ 2011-09-28 14:18 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: James Levine; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode


James

> Greetings,
>
> As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I’ve
> felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode. 

This is another perfectly practical way to address the problem that you
are contending to with.

https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/emacs-orgmode/2011-04/msg00173.html

Jambunathan K.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-27 17:04 James Levine
  2011-09-28  9:28 ` Jude DaShiell
  2011-09-28  9:39 ` Eric S Fraga
@ 2011-09-28 13:27 ` Jambunathan K
  2011-09-28 14:18 ` Jambunathan K
                   ` (2 subsequent siblings)
  5 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Jambunathan K @ 2011-09-28 13:27 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: James Levine; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode

James

> 1) It’s not that there isn’t enough documentation, it’s that there’s
> too much of it

I hope you appreciate the amount of effort that has gone in to writing
such a big manual. You may not have a need for it. This doesn't mean
that it is not worthwhile.

At the minimum, we should respect other's labour particularly when you
yourself [1] and many people are enjoying the fruits of it.

Since you have some thoughts on how the manual should look like would
you mind circulating a draft copy of the modified, improved manual?
That's an open offer and a challenge as well.

Remember Emacs/Orgmode is a Free Software and you have all the freedom
in the world to influence how it evolves and specifically make sure that
it evolves to suit your needs.

Being a Free Software, the distinction between the consumer (aka user)
and the contributor (aka developer) just blurs. Understanding this
distinction requires a paradigm shift in the way you think.

Footnotes:
[1] It is not clear from your message whether you yourself are an
Orgmode user.

Jambunathan K.

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-27 17:04 James Levine
  2011-09-28  9:28 ` Jude DaShiell
@ 2011-09-28  9:39 ` Eric S Fraga
  2011-09-28 13:27 ` Jambunathan K
                   ` (3 subsequent siblings)
  5 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Eric S Fraga @ 2011-09-28  9:39 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: James Levine; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode

James Levine <levinejames@me.com> writes:

> Greetings,

Hello James,

I am not going to try to answer all of your points comprehensively but I
will chime in with some of my own views, as a very satisfied end user
albeit also a computer scientist (of sorts ;-).

> As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I’ve
> felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode. I like
> the idea very much, as I am trying to strip down to an Autofocus
> system and take a more intuitive, frictionless approach. Because I’m
> not following the play-by-play on the gnu boards, I thought I’d zoom
> out and tell you what a consumer experience is like:
>
> 1) It’s not that there isn’t enough documentation, it’s that there’s too much of it.
> 	Imagine that setting up a wordpress database is probably too
> much for the average person. You go to wordpress.org (and at this
> point you’d already need to read the fine print or you’d probably
> point to wordpress.com) and the button simply tells you to download
> “here”. Now what?

This has been discussed on this list at least once before.  There are
links to all kinds of introductory material on the web site for org.  I
would suggest you have a look at these and let us know what you think.

Although there is indeed a lot of documentation, I would rather have it
this way than the opposite.  Most systems seem to love having just
skimpy documentation, relying on the fact that x% of the users will not
need more.  I want more.

In any case, you don't need to read all the documentation to start using
org.  cf. tutorials mentioned above.  The documentation is there for
when you want to start doing *more*.

> 	In other words, if you want to expand popularity among
> end-users, not coders, there needs to be a middle ground: the visual
> step-by-step needs to be uncluttered by additional
> description.  Org-mode is further obscured by the fact that other
> services, a text editor and such need to be pointed to as well in the

yes, well, but org is in Emacs and that's what many of us like.  Not all
which is why there are tools in development for emulating org in vi, for
instance.  But unlike the other tools you mention, org is not a
standalone system.

> retention, it floods it. The gnu support community, like this email,
> is very heavily text-based.

yes, and that's its greatest feature, in the minds of many.  I don't
want graphical interfaces etc for a number of reasons.  This is
obviously a personal view!

> 2) Some things are just better with a gui.

Very few, IMO.  :)
More seriously, for those of us that suffer (or have suffered) from RSI,
GUIs are an abomination.

> 	I’m referring specifically to the more popularized use of tags
> or “keywords.” Most all the file management clients fail at this
> somewhere. You are requiring people to be literate, as in secondary
> school spelling-NOT culture, not just in a single instance of clarity,
> but in a manner that can be consistently repeated, while you’re
> catering to an audience that probably has a higher than average
> proportion of dyslexics, autistics, and college drop-outs in its
> midst.
>
> Furthermore, tagging conventions are easy to break, and most End-Users
> won’t know to instill them to begin with. “Have I been using the
> plural of my common and collective nouns? What about that time I
> hashtagged a task to myself in my email and I put the tag in the
> Subject heading? Did I spell it the same way my tags were set up back
> on my desktop?” It’s too easy to orphan tags, spell them wrong, flip a
> p with a q. Without a pull up, cash-register-like cheat sheet that
> lets you touch the tags that you already made, one will leave a trail
> of junk mark-up. Not to mention, free tagging does not endorse a
> constrained vocabulary as it would, say, if you were trying to figure
> out what kind of lettuce someone was buying and you worked the
> register. I’m also inclined to believe that crossing something out
> with my finger, or putting a check in a checkbox is more intuitive and
> less prone to error than managing "[x]”s in a document.

But org does support tag completion: hit TAB when you are prompted for a
tag and you'll see what I mean.  What is missing?

> 3) the 2nd problem ties in with this. Without a constrained tagging
> vocabulary and other conventions, an org-mode task system is not that
> easy to subscribe to when trying to encourage a team to get on
> board. The list is not inherently intuitive to all end-users. What is
> logic to one person is not logic to the next. (This may come as a
> surprise to many coders).

As soon as you constrain one aspect of the system, you constrain the
system's use.  You can not identify all possible uses when doing the
design of the initial constrained system.  As soon as you introduce
flexibility, this is the price you pay!

> 4) The master org-mode file will get lost in the shuffle. My litmus
> test for a good file management system is “if I’m sick or thankfully
> on a beach that day, can everyone else to whom my work pertains,
> understand for themselves how to incorporate what they need from me?”
> Are my naming conventions clear? Are my directory structures clear?
> Can people find them on their own, or are they going to call me while
> I’m trying to enjoy the beach? Can I effectively be a “ghost in the
> machine” for my institution? Or have I made people dependent upon me
> for the petty fact that my workflows are not understood by anyone
> else?

I agree but this is up to you and your team, not for org developers to
impose?  My own view is summarised, if I may paraphrase, by

  With greater flexibility comes greater responsibility.

;-)

> 	Again, feeding off point 3, org-mode does little to instill
> good file management habits. I do appreciate that the plain text

and nor does it get in the way of good habits!  what is a good habit for
one person is not necessarily a good habit for another.

> An org-mode text document is just too flimsy to stand alone in the sea
> of files on a computer. That’s why evernote is successful-it’s a more
> orderly place for scraps. People used to muck up folders and drag
> stuff to their desktop with the same caliber of content. If you held
> your desktop as sacred, or your Emacs platform, what then happens when
> these other “temporary” odds and ends nonetheless compete with your
> focus?

but org doesn't require you to use just one file.  you can have several,
grouped in a directory or spread around your file system.  whatever
works best for you!  I have three main "task and note" oriented org
files (notes.org, tasks.org, diary.org) but then I have project specific
org files spread about my file system (which is well organised
generally).

> 5) I don’t subscribe to the notion that all ideas begin to take form
> through an Outline. Outlines were something pounded into lots of heads

true but outlines work well for many things.  The nice thing about org
is that although it is built upon an outliner, it has tags, categories
and properties, all of which allow different views of the same material.

> 	Perhaps some instruction on bridging the free-association,
> brain storming, linear thinking, mind-mapping, UML, media files and
> inspiration, concepts directly into an Org-mode file would be of
> help. If I understood org-mode, I might even be the person to do
> it. Many ideas will never see a formal outline first (even if the
> concept of an outline latently exists)-only my software design
> documents or other specification sheets would show through with such
> formality.

I am sure this would be welcome.  A two way mapping between org and
freemind, for instance, would be nice.  A one way export exists already,
I believe.

> Please tell me if and where these points will be addressed, as their a
> slim chance of my renavigating to the live thread where I found your
> email (see point 1). Hope this message is in the right hands. I’m
> incredibly grateful for this line of communication and for the work
> you are doing, and I want to make this work.

Well, these points and many like them are discussed on this mailing list
(Emacs-orgmode@gnu.org).  Subscribe and join in!  All views are more
than welcome on this very friendly list.

On that note, please don't take umbrage at anything I have written
above!  These are my own personal views based on using org for several
years and with org as a key focus for all of my working hours.  But I am
indeed computer literate as opposed to "just" an end-user.  On the other
hand, I am only a minor contributor to org and therefore have no ego
issues with criticisms of org!  not to imply that those that contribute
more have ego problems, of course ;-)

Dive in and if/when you have problems with org, just ask!  You'll get
plenty of advise.

eric

-- 
: Eric S Fraga (GnuPG: 0xC89193D8FFFCF67D) in Emacs 24.0.90.1
: using Org-mode version 7.7 (release_7.7.329.g15c3)

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* Re: would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
  2011-09-27 17:04 James Levine
@ 2011-09-28  9:28 ` Jude DaShiell
  2011-09-28  9:39 ` Eric S Fraga
                   ` (4 subsequent siblings)
  5 siblings, 0 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: Jude DaShiell @ 2011-09-28  9:28 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: James Levine; +Cc: Emacs-orgmode

They tried that MacDonalds approach on web pages all over the Government 
and beyond and guess what, they found not even sighted people could 
figure what to click or why.  The Federal Government wasn't even looking 
at this problem to help sighted people either, it's now addressing this 
problem because of Section 508 requirements of the Americans With 
Disabilities Act.  But as my supervisor says, whenever web pages get 
more accessible around here, it makes it easier for everybody.  What I 
write was reported on TV I think on C.N.N. technology column and a 
researcher from M.I.T. also described it.  I have no memory of vision at 
all and for what I tried to do with org-mode I found very accessible and 
I wouldn't have it any other way.  Windows was made by people with 
A.D.H.D. for people with A.D.H.D., and apparently org-mode was not.  
What I would support is not a stripping down of org-mode or its 
documentation but rather an A.D.H.D. link that will take A.D.H.D. people 
onto a separate stripped down path which they get to create by 
themselves in their own fashion.  Text works every time and skimming 
works sometimes.  I'm sorry if this message hit a nerve but work I will 
be doing for the next several years helping to locate all of the messes 
A.D.H.D. has made for the Federal community so they can be straightened 
out and put under revision control for the future will be using all of 
my work time and I don't want to find out org-mod got trashed by the 
A.D.H.D. philosophy in the meantime.

eOn Tue, 27 Sep 2011, James Levine wrote:

> Greetings,
> 
> As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I?ve felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode. I like the idea very much, as I am trying to strip down to an Autofocus system  and take a more intuitive, frictionless approach. Because I?m not following the play-by-play on the gnu boards, I thought I?d zoom out and tell you what a consumer experience is like:
> 
> 1) It?s not that there isn?t enough documentation, it?s that there?s too much of it.
> 	Imagine that setting up a wordpress database is probably too much for the average person. You go to wordpress.org (and at this point you?d already need to read the fine print or you?d probably point to wordpress.com) and the button simply tells you to download ?here?. Now what?
> 
> 	In other words, if you want to expand popularity among end-users, not coders, there needs to be a middle ground: the visual step-by-step needs to be uncluttered by additional description.  Org-mode is further obscured by the fact that other services, a text editor and such need to be pointed to as well in the ?getting started process." I need to know why I?m being forwarded to an external web page or why I need to read on between each download link, or how to keep track of each link if each one is taking me to a separate page. You wouldn?t want someone telling you the history of every landmark that you passed if they were giving you driving instructions, would you? The verbose approach doesn?t actually help retention, it floods it. The gnu support community, like this email, is very heavily text-based.
> 
> 2) Some things are just better with a gui.
> 	I?m referring specifically to the more popularized use of tags or ?keywords.? Most all the file management clients fail at this somewhere. You are requiring people to be literate, as in secondary school spelling-NOT culture, not just in a single instance of clarity, but in a manner that can be consistently repeated, while you?re catering to an audience that probably has a higher than average proportion of dyslexics, autistics, and college drop-outs in its midst. 
> 
> Furthermore, tagging conventions are easy to break, and most End-Users won?t know to instill them to begin with. ?Have I been using the plural of my common and collective nouns? What about that time I hashtagged a task to myself in my email and I put the tag in the Subject heading? Did I spell it the same way my tags were set up back on my desktop?? It?s too easy to orphan tags, spell them wrong, flip a p with a q. Without a pull up, cash-register-like cheat sheet that lets you touch the tags that you already made, one will leave a trail of junk mark-up. Not to mention, free tagging does not endorse a constrained vocabulary as it would, say, if you were trying to figure out what kind of lettuce someone was buying and you worked the register. I?m also inclined to believe that crossing something out with my finger, or putting a check in a checkbox is more intuitive and less prone to error than managing "[x]?s in a document.
> 
> 3) the 2nd problem ties in with this. Without a constrained tagging vocabulary and other conventions, an org-mode task system is not that easy to subscribe to when trying to encourage a team to get on board. The list is not inherently intuitive to all end-users. What is logic to one person is not logic to the next. (This may come as a surprise to many coders).
> 
> 4) The master org-mode file will get lost in the shuffle. My litmus test for a good file management system is ?if I?m sick or thankfully on a beach that day, can everyone else to whom my work pertains, understand for themselves how to incorporate what they need from me?? Are my naming conventions clear? Are my directory structures clear? Can people find them on their own, or are they going to call me while I?m trying to enjoy the beach? Can I effectively be a ?ghost in the machine? for my institution? Or have I made people dependent upon me  for the petty fact that my workflows are not understood by anyone else? 
> 
> 	Again, feeding off point 3, org-mode does little to instill good file management habits. I do appreciate that the plain text approach builds off simplicity rather than the adhered complexity of a database. Nonetheless, if I open up ?Things?, for example (I don?t use it myself), as an app to keep my tasks, I know there?s a central repository for these stray little database entry ?tasks?. If I?m out of the office, I can tell whoever is working on my assignments to open up ?Things,? or I can share this with them. Because org-mode doesn?t reinforce where files are saved to or how many files are accessed for my various projects, there?s plenty of wiggle room for bad file management habits to come into play. Instead of telling my colleague to open ?Things?, I need to tell them, "look in my documents folder, open this file with this app. When you?re done with this by 1p, I saved the task list for the catering event this evening in my dropbox. Look under documents, Jim?s stuff." You see where this is going. 
> 
> An org-mode text document is just too flimsy to stand alone in the sea of files on a computer. That?s why evernote is successful-it?s a more orderly place for scraps. People used to muck up folders and drag stuff to their desktop with the same caliber of content. If you held your desktop as sacred, or your Emacs platform, what then happens when these other ?temporary? odds and ends nonetheless compete with your focus? 
> 
> 5) I don?t subscribe to the notion that all ideas begin to take form through an Outline. Outlines were something pounded into lots of heads as kids, and they work for some and not for others. To me, they are far too linear of an invention to trust with germinating ideas and projects. My outline skills are epically good, but I still don?t find the outline as the key tool for repurposing and leveraging divergent ideas (or for note-taking for that matter). And again, with an awareness management system like org-mode, how would you effectively create an Outline for Everything? Would that be any easier to navigate than the index card that I made just for today in my back pocket? Then to play the provocateur, if I can?t create an  Outline for Everything how many little baskets of Anythings do I want to enforce in my life? Or should I just start with my work? (then what happens to the rest of my life? Should I use refrigerator magnets?) Where do I put these separate Outlines if I can?t look in the same place at any time for them? How do they fit in with each other? The mobile implementation of org-mode thus far further confuses the matter-it places these divergent files in a file browser. How does that actually help me work the system? What about a front end?
> 
> 	Perhaps some instruction on bridging the free-association, brain storming, linear thinking, mind-mapping, UML, media files and inspiration, concepts directly into an Org-mode file would be of help. If I understood org-mode, I might even be the person to do it. Many ideas will never see a formal outline first (even if the concept of an outline latently exists)-only my software design documents or other specification sheets would show through with such formality.
> 
> Please tell me if and where these points will be addressed, as their a slim chance of my renavigating to the live thread where I found your email (see point 1). Hope this message is in the right hands. I?m incredibly grateful for this line of communication and for the work you are doing, and I want to make this work.
> 
> James Levine-East Village, NYC
> 

Jude <jdashiel@shellworld.net>
"I love the Pope, I love seeing him in his Pope-Mobile, his three feet
of bullet proof plexi-glass. That's faith in action folks! You know he's
got God on his side."
~ Bill Hicks

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

* would take more than an org-mode strip-down.
@ 2011-09-27 17:04 James Levine
  2011-09-28  9:28 ` Jude DaShiell
                   ` (5 more replies)
  0 siblings, 6 replies; 20+ messages in thread
From: James Levine @ 2011-09-27 17:04 UTC (permalink / raw)
  To: Emacs-orgmode

Greetings,

As an expert end-user but outside the computer science field, I’ve felt there to be a high cost of entry for working in org-mode. I like the idea very much, as I am trying to strip down to an Autofocus system  and take a more intuitive, frictionless approach. Because I’m not following the play-by-play on the gnu boards, I thought I’d zoom out and tell you what a consumer experience is like:

1) It’s not that there isn’t enough documentation, it’s that there’s too much of it.
	Imagine that setting up a wordpress database is probably too much for the average person. You go to wordpress.org (and at this point you’d already need to read the fine print or you’d probably point to wordpress.com) and the button simply tells you to download “here”. Now what?

	In other words, if you want to expand popularity among end-users, not coders, there needs to be a middle ground: the visual step-by-step needs to be uncluttered by additional description.  Org-mode is further obscured by the fact that other services, a text editor and such need to be pointed to as well in the “getting started process." I need to know why I’m being forwarded to an external web page or why I need to read on between each download link, or how to keep track of each link if each one is taking me to a separate page. You wouldn’t want someone telling you the history of every landmark that you passed if they were giving you driving instructions, would you? The verbose approach doesn’t actually help retention, it floods it. The gnu support community, like this email, is very heavily text-based.

2) Some things are just better with a gui.
	I’m referring specifically to the more popularized use of tags or “keywords.” Most all the file management clients fail at this somewhere. You are requiring people to be literate, as in secondary school spelling-NOT culture, not just in a single instance of clarity, but in a manner that can be consistently repeated, while you’re catering to an audience that probably has a higher than average proportion of dyslexics, autistics, and college drop-outs in its midst. 

Furthermore, tagging conventions are easy to break, and most End-Users won’t know to instill them to begin with. “Have I been using the plural of my common and collective nouns? What about that time I hashtagged a task to myself in my email and I put the tag in the Subject heading? Did I spell it the same way my tags were set up back on my desktop?” It’s too easy to orphan tags, spell them wrong, flip a p with a q. Without a pull up, cash-register-like cheat sheet that lets you touch the tags that you already made, one will leave a trail of junk mark-up. Not to mention, free tagging does not endorse a constrained vocabulary as it would, say, if you were trying to figure out what kind of lettuce someone was buying and you worked the register. I’m also inclined to believe that crossing something out with my finger, or putting a check in a checkbox is more intuitive and less prone to error than managing "[x]”s in a document.

3) the 2nd problem ties in with this. Without a constrained tagging vocabulary and other conventions, an org-mode task system is not that easy to subscribe to when trying to encourage a team to get on board. The list is not inherently intuitive to all end-users. What is logic to one person is not logic to the next. (This may come as a surprise to many coders).

4) The master org-mode file will get lost in the shuffle. My litmus test for a good file management system is “if I’m sick or thankfully on a beach that day, can everyone else to whom my work pertains, understand for themselves how to incorporate what they need from me?” Are my naming conventions clear? Are my directory structures clear? Can people find them on their own, or are they going to call me while I’m trying to enjoy the beach? Can I effectively be a “ghost in the machine” for my institution? Or have I made people dependent upon me  for the petty fact that my workflows are not understood by anyone else? 

	Again, feeding off point 3, org-mode does little to instill good file management habits. I do appreciate that the plain text approach builds off simplicity rather than the adhered complexity of a database. Nonetheless, if I open up “Things”, for example (I don’t use it myself), as an app to keep my tasks, I know there’s a central repository for these stray little database entry “tasks”. If I’m out of the office, I can tell whoever is working on my assignments to open up “Things,” or I can share this with them. Because org-mode doesn’t reinforce where files are saved to or how many files are accessed for my various projects, there’s plenty of wiggle room for bad file management habits to come into play. Instead of telling my colleague to open “Things”, I need to tell them, "look in my documents folder, open this file with this app. When you’re done with this by 1p, I saved the task list for the catering event this evening in my dropbox. Look under documents, Jim’s stuff." You see where this is going. 

An org-mode text document is just too flimsy to stand alone in the sea of files on a computer. That’s why evernote is successful-it’s a more orderly place for scraps. People used to muck up folders and drag stuff to their desktop with the same caliber of content. If you held your desktop as sacred, or your Emacs platform, what then happens when these other “temporary” odds and ends nonetheless compete with your focus? 

5) I don’t subscribe to the notion that all ideas begin to take form through an Outline. Outlines were something pounded into lots of heads as kids, and they work for some and not for others. To me, they are far too linear of an invention to trust with germinating ideas and projects. My outline skills are epically good, but I still don’t find the outline as the key tool for repurposing and leveraging divergent ideas (or for note-taking for that matter). And again, with an awareness management system like org-mode, how would you effectively create an Outline for Everything? Would that be any easier to navigate than the index card that I made just for today in my back pocket? Then to play the provocateur, if I can’t create an  Outline for Everything how many little baskets of Anythings do I want to enforce in my life? Or should I just start with my work? (then what happens to the rest of my life? Should I use refrigerator magnets?) Where do I put these separate Outlines if I can’t look in the same place at any time for them? How do they fit in with each other? The mobile implementation of org-mode thus far further confuses the matter-it places these divergent files in a file browser. How does that actually help me work the system? What about a front end?

	Perhaps some instruction on bridging the free-association, brain storming, linear thinking, mind-mapping, UML, media files and inspiration, concepts directly into an Org-mode file would be of help. If I understood org-mode, I might even be the person to do it. Many ideas will never see a formal outline first (even if the concept of an outline latently exists)-only my software design documents or other specification sheets would show through with such formality.

Please tell me if and where these points will be addressed, as their a slim chance of my renavigating to the live thread where I found your email (see point 1). Hope this message is in the right hands. I’m incredibly grateful for this line of communication and for the work you are doing, and I want to make this work.

James Levine-East Village, NYC

^ permalink raw reply	[flat|nested] 20+ messages in thread

end of thread, other threads:[~2011-10-04 13:29 UTC | newest]

Thread overview: 20+ messages (download: mbox.gz / follow: Atom feed)
-- links below jump to the message on this page --
2011-09-29  7:46 would take more than an org-mode strip-down Rustom Mody
2011-09-29  7:57 ` Rustom Mody
2011-09-29  8:01 ` Rainer M Krug
2011-10-04  6:33   ` Rustom Mody
  -- strict thread matches above, loose matches on Subject: below --
2011-09-27 17:04 James Levine
2011-09-28  9:28 ` Jude DaShiell
2011-09-28  9:39 ` Eric S Fraga
2011-09-28 13:27 ` Jambunathan K
2011-09-28 14:18 ` Jambunathan K
2011-09-28 14:47   ` James Levine
2011-09-28 14:58     ` Jude DaShiell
2011-09-28 15:33     ` Russell Adams
2011-09-28 18:34     ` Rasmus
2011-09-28 14:54   ` James Levine
2011-09-30  6:00 ` Carsten Dominik
2011-09-30  9:38   ` Jambunathan K
2011-09-30 16:59   ` Thomas S. Dye
2011-10-04  0:13   ` suvayu ali
2011-10-03 20:44 ` Allen S. Rout
2011-10-04 13:28   ` Carson Chittom

Code repositories for project(s) associated with this inbox:

	https://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/emacs/org-mode.git

This is a public inbox, see mirroring instructions
for how to clone and mirror all data and code used for this inbox;
as well as URLs for read-only IMAP folder(s) and NNTP newsgroup(s).