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Again, thanks for responding.

You say "Being a software localizer myself I use bidi control characters all
the time, and have explained them to many localizer over the years and they
seem to grasp the concept quickly and appreciate it.", so I have to wonder
whether your perspective may result from dealing with users who are more
sophisticated or technologically astute than those I encounter.

Those users I encounter are extremely unlikely to know or care what the
terms globalization, internationalization, localization or any of the other
acronyms formed of digits surrounded by two letters mean. Explaining how to
enter © or ™ symbols is often a challenge. Don't misunderstand me: These are
not stupid people by any means and their expertise in their own areas is
sometimes astounding, as is the number of languages many of them can read
and write fluently. (I left out "read" deliberately, since many specialize
in dead languages.) But they have no more interest in methods for entering
0x200b characters than they do in how to change the oil in their cars, swap
out a hard drive or update their operating system. They don't feel they
should *need* to know anything at all about what goes on "under the hood."

I rather suspect that the "average" user is closer to those folks I deal
with. The jumping cursor is entertaining to me mostly BECAUSE I know why
it's doing so but still recognize how it can mystify those (the users I see
anyway) who are just trying to get their words on paper. The reason I
suspect it is not "bizarre or confusing" for you and others on the forum is
simply because you and they understand what's happening and why. In the
spirit of the subject, I'll refer to this phenomenon by the acronym "c7n."

Your points about the benefits of explicit versus implicit control are
certainly true but, again, I suspect that the former may only be true for
that class of typists sometimes called "power users." I'm also uncertain how
often heuristics would be wrong but, again, that likely has something to do
with both the knowledge of the user as well as the subject matter.

I would love to offer a "concrete suggestion on how to improve the
situation" but I can only speak to my own use case (and those I've run into
with others), and I can only say that - to be useful - such a suggestion
would have to be predicated on some concrete objective that could be
considered "universal" or at least "semi-universal." I have no idea what
that might be, although I suspect it might end up being something like "make
free intermingling of bidi text as transparent as possible; possibly setting
defaults aimed at the lowest common denominator of user, while permitting
more knowledgeable users much higher levels of control." I would liken this
approach to how word wrapping (for example) is handled: it "just happens"
with no thought or intervention for most users, but a "power user" can
easily tweak it using techniques whose terms might mean absolutely nothing
to many users.

As I said earlier though; I'm delighted to see any attention at all paid to
this subject; it reminds me of all the fracas back in the 1960s over
standardizing on ASCII, which was going to solve pretty much all data
interchange issues ever. Sigh.

Thanks again for responding, but I'll leave improvement requests to someone
with a thicker skin than I have.


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