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Re: [Texmacs-dev] [Documentation] New user misunderstanding

From: Henri Lesourd
Subject: Re: [Texmacs-dev] [Documentation] New user misunderstanding
Date: Mon, 28 Nov 2005 18:27:46 +0100
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Joris van der Hoeven wrote:

On Mon, Nov 28, 2005 at 04:06:44PM +0100, Henri Lesourd wrote:
One thing I did once that could help is having an :

in the preamble, or in a stylesheet. This way, your new
TeXmacs document becomes defaulted to math mode, this
can be simpler for beginners (it avoids the need to
raise too much questions in the 1st place).

Are you crazy? This would make it impossible by default to write normal text.

Yes, but for beginners it makes sense. I had this problem
with people who didn't knew TeXmacs at all (and were supposed
to input formulas, most of the time), and it worked perfectly,
much better than having to tell them in the first place "TeXmacs
is a very nice mathematical editor BUT, bla bla bla".

As soon as the "BUT" occurs, people just stop listening.

As soon as people can start using only their previous
knowledge, it is much better. Especially better is when
people can start without having to think about irrelevant
things (from their point of view, namely we are speaking
about beginners here).

Or course, you will *afterwards* give them a solution
to the problems they will discover using your way.
Namely, in this particular case, a beginner will
discover that the one-letter words are automagically
turned to italics : *then* you can give them a trick,
i.e. tell them "okay, you can solve this problem by
changing the font using "Format/Variant/Text font/Roman".

And then, *later*, you can give them the long (and previously
boring, but now it isn't anymore, because the guy/girl has more
practice) explanation "okay, in fact usually in TeXmacs, there
is a math mode, blablabla".

This way people listen, because *now* you are all the time
saying something that is related to their experience. But
if in the first place, you come with complex explanations
(even if in fact, these explanations are not very complex,
but as usual, from the point of view, of course, of people
who *already* know it), then you are speaking about something
that doesn't solve any of the *perceived* problems of your

It doesn't seem crazy to me, it is just more efficient
this way (and in this particular case).

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