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RE: [External] : Re: Spaces rather than tabs by a major mode hook

From: Drew Adams
Subject: RE: [External] : Re: Spaces rather than tabs by a major mode hook
Date: Mon, 13 Jun 2022 15:17:04 +0000

> There are many options in Emacs, and to find the one with indentation
> is really difficult. I do not think that you would easily find it out
> without asking on mailing list.

Try the apropos commands, including even
`M-x apropos-documentation indent'.  `C-u'
tells you even more.

Try `i indent' in the Emacs FAQ (`C-h C-f') or
the Emacs manual (`C-h r').  Especially with
`substring' completion style.

But if you want _less_, not more, then you have
to think about what it is you really want and
don't want.  You need to filter the mass of
indentation possibilities based on your own
requirements and preferences.  That means
thinking about what you actually do, and what
you really need.  It's about the particular
"less" you're looking for.

If you can't easily specify well what it is
you're looking for, then yeah, the search space
is large, and you're reduced to starting with a
wide-scoped shotgun.  At least Emacs provides
you with such shotguns.

Of course, one person's must-have, A+ feature,
including a feature thought to be aimed at
novices in particular (e.g. to attract them to
Emacs or to simplify learning), can be another
person's don't-need or don't-want.

`electric-indent-mode' is a case in point.  It
was touted, in particular, as providing behavior
that most users expect "nowadays".  Instead of
Emacs's longstanding use of `C-j' to insert a
newline and indent, that behavior was given to

It was figured that `C-j' as the newline char
was esoteric knowledge and hard to discover, and
that `RET' is instead what everyone expects now.

(Personally, I turned off `electric-indent-mode'
as soon as it was changed to be on by default.
And I argued against that change.)

I've just filed enhancement request (bug) #55945,
asking that `electric-indent-mode' be mentioned
explicitly in the Emacs FAQ.

There's also nothing wrong with asking on a
mailing list, online forum, or Q&A site.

Clear questions typically get clear and helpful
answers.  See above: being able to say clearly
what you want or want to know is 90% of the

But asking over and over, with zero change in
the question detail or scope, and without
listening to helpful or well-intended responses
- or not reading what's written in the help/doc
- no, that doesn't help much.

Ask clearly, knowing your needs, and listen
carefully to the responses.  If you're careful,
and if you think you're not getting helped,
you'll be able to tell what others are hearing
in your questions, and how that differs from
what you think you asked.  Read what you asked
with an eye to understanding what others might
think you're asking.

Wanting to learn and understand is different
from wanting to vent.  If someone wants to
learn, it's pretty likely that help will be
found.  There are tons of Emacs users - new
and old, who go out of their way to help others.

For some reason, Emacs is rich that way: users
like to teach/help others.  There are zillions
of intros, cheat-sheets, demos, snippits, blogs,
videos, posted init-files,... at all levels of
introduction and experience.

You'll note that the difficulty of posing clear
questions - being able to get across what you
really want to ask - isn't particular to Emacs.

Pretty much every website that provides a space
for asking and answering questions has a page
that offers advice about how to ask better
questions.  And they all give similar advice.

Why?  Because they all get a number of poorly
expressed questions that waste time and energy,
seem to go nowhere, and can lead to people
losing interest in the venue because the useful
info (signal) can get lost in a flood of noise.

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