Get curious about the Hyperbole prompt

Have you seen the Hyperbole prompt (C-h h)? It's somewhat baroque or at least terse. I associate the style with "classic" packages such as ido—it just takes one line in the minibuffer:

Hy7.1.3>   Act   Butfile/   Cust/   Doc/   Ebut/   Find/   Gbut/   Hist   Ibut/   Kotl/   Msg/   Rolo/   Screen/   Win/

Now there's two ways you could react to seeing this.

Panic. Don't understand. Quit for now, to pick it up later (probably never).


Huh. Lots of concepts I've never seen before! What could they mean? What the hell is Ebut? Ibut? Rolo? Someone must've thought they're worth the space they take in this tight prompt – soon the secrets will be mine! C-h i d m hyperbole RET

Once in the manual, I suspect us youth zoom past things too much.

Look at the introduction. This software was first copyrighted in 1989! That predates Fallout 2. There was no web, not even Netscape Navigator. Instead, the Berlin Wall stood. It was just 20 years after the moon landing (1969).

If not all manuals, then at least this manual should be treated like sitting down to watch a good movie. You know that contentedness when everything is ready, you have your hand in a fresh batch of popcorn, and you're not gonna move from your spot—

—don't just hunt for the info you need to set up the package—

—you don't know what info you need—

—take it slow. Relax your shoulders. Enjoy the intro, the license statement, the acknowledgements. The part about honoring (dead) people who inspired the devs. The part about dedicating KOutliner to Bob Weiner's wife Kathy.

Perhaps this way of reading a manual is the only way to read an #Emacs manual, old or new. You don't need to be here, learning any of this in the first place. Why not treat it as the leisure it is, and enjoy every step?

If you were watching a movie and got stressed, wanted to skip ahead, many people would say you'd better just turn off the movie – it isn't doing for you what it's supposed to. Same situation here. If you feel the need to skip ahead in a manual, you may as well not have that *info* buffer open at all. Or even Emacs running. Or even the laptop open.

Created (3 months ago)