Barriers to contributions

Started by Thantos, June 29, 2012, 04:30:07 PM

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Joshua Dickerson

Yes, you need lessons on how to use a lot of websites. You might not remember a lot of them because you've used them for a long time but I'm sure that you've learned to use them somehow. For instance, searching. You didn't come out of the womb knowing to put what you are looking for in the search bar and press Enter. You had to learn that somehow. Do you use any "advanced" searching methods? I bet you didn't know that adding quotes around something or adding a minus sign before something will alter the way you search. You learned that through documentation.

Thinking that any site, especially one which is meant to be for advanced uses, should be designed so that no documentation is needed is completely asinine. Sure, make it as simple and intuitive as possible, but lets face it, knowing what you're doing with Git requires a learning process.  Any site like Github needs documentation for you to understand it.
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Well done for, as usual, missing my point.

Having help or references for the advanced stuff is fine. Such as your example of using quotes around stuff. That's an advanced technique, it isn't immediately obvious, and as such it's perfect material for reference manuals.

But in the case of Google, actually they've really tried to make it as easy to use as possible without needing help. You go there, the cursor's already in place, you start typing and it gives you suggestions as to what you might be looking for. It's not going to take much even experimentation to figure out how to use the basics. Not only that but techniques such as interface affordability (i.e. things that are meant to be pressed, give them a 3D look that represents a button in the physical world, something that is pressable)

I'm not disputing that GitHub overall is an advanced site. But when you have to have a video to explain the basics, there's something wrong. When you get three page discussions, or multi-hour IRC sessions between people who do know how to use GitHub and people who don't, just to get them started, something is very, very wrong.

I'm not disputing that a learning process is required, but to make it that you need to have the *basics* explained because it's that hard to use, surely you'd agree that you could do something to make it better?