"Defaults" button in every settings screen

Harald Judt h.judt at gmx.at
Fri Dec 9 22:30:23 CET 2011

Am 09.12.2011 20:21, schrieb Michael Orlitzky:
> On 12/09/2011 12:31 PM, Harald Judt wrote:
>> Some thoughts on this:
>> * Many settings in xfce are applied in real-time, and quite a lot of
>> times, the effects are often visible immediately too.
>> Example: Font size.
> But different settings have weird interactions. If you don't know that
> the font size is what's causing your Firefox "OK" dialog to render
> off-screen, you might try to change some other setting (that isn't
> broken). Now you have two problems.
> If three things are "wrong," toggling each of them individually isn't
> going to do any good: none of the changes, alone, will immediately and
> visibly fix the problem.

Ok. Please don't get this the wrong way, but let's first find a valid 
test case where it is like that, because I find it a bit hard to think 
of changes which could make that happen. It would be easier if we had a 
real setting we could discuss.

>> * The default value could be shown in the tooltip, along with the
>> description of the control. When the user reads the tooltip, he knows
>> what that control is for and what the default value is. If that is
>> not the case, the tooltip should be rewritten to make it easier to
>> understand.
> Again, if you don't know what's wrong, this sucks. You have to hover
> over *every* setting, read the default, and then set the thing back to
> the default.

You're right, it sucks. My point was this: You should read the 
description first, think about it, then change it. It's actually just a 
matter of habit. By the way, some tooltips I've seen are pretty 
worthless (don't know about xfce tooltips though).

>> This way, you tell the user how to fix it, but he has to fix it for
>> himself. Without wanting to be pedantic, this teaches him
>> - to consider what he wants,
>> - what he can do,
>> - how he can do it,
>> - that he is responsible for fixing things himself when he breaks them
>> - and that he has to be more careful when he's going to change things.
> You know what would really teach him a lesson? Delete a few important
> documents in $HOME. Bet he won't make the same mistake again!

This is not about maliciously deleting stuff. And if I deleted his 
documents, then it would not have been his mistake, but pure 
malevolence. I could teach him how to delete his borked xfce config, 
because that probably would help.

> If a person constantly lectured you that you have to be more careful
> when you're having fun, you probably wouldn't be his friend for very
> long. Software isn't an exception.

You're right, but you don't have to lecture someone constantly. You just 
have to provide him with enough information so that he can teach himself 
on his own. Or show him some cool things. Of course, willingness and 
intention to learn is a requirement. If the friend does it only for fun, 
then I would not complain, but instead of wasting my time I'd simply 
delete his config so that he could start from the beginning and have fun 
again. Even better, a nice idea would be to backup his config, tell him 
he can start demolition without fear of losing anything and restore the 
config afterwards!

I think if he had to open every dialog to click on the revert button 
because he has no idea what to do, then this wouldn't be that much fun 
either. Then, there are people who will give up before working through 
all that dialogs just to reset everything. Most likely, they will call 
someone for help.

Anyway, I think this is getting a bit too philosophical now...


`Experience is the best teacher.'

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