Use case for per-protocol icons

Etan Reisner pidgin at
Tue Aug 7 11:56:35 EDT 2007

On Tue, Aug 07, 2007 at 11:46:28AM -0400, Josh Williams wrote:
> On 8/7/07, Sean Egan <seanegan at> wrote:
> > Such a what? We tend not to support features that have very little
> > wide-spread support.
> I mentioned the smiley shortcuts in another thread, but none of the
> developers seem to care about the fact that the smiley shortcuts are
> different from one standard (meaning the proprietary) IM client to the
> next. For instance, in AIM, the surprised face is =-o but in MSN,  the
> shortcut is :o . I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've gotten
> these messed up since you removed the protocol icons.

It is unfortunate that you have been inconvenienced by this, but did you
really previously leave the buddy list window open so that you could
glance at the entry for the person you were chatting with to determine
which protocols smileys to use? Becuase if not then the removal of the
protocol icons from there is unrelated to your difficulty here.

> > *Nobody* has *ever* said they don't care about your problems. We're
> > just encouraging you to look outside of the box you've fallen into
> > through habit. We eagerly want to hear your actual problems and
> > determine how to best fix them. We've already fixed a whole bunch of
> > problems that have reveled themselves by removing protocol icons, and
> > we'd love to do more.
> Okay, then I have a suggestion for the emoticons. The shortcuts should
> be automatically replaced if they're incorrect for that protocol, such
> as the surprised smiley that I mentioned above.

Which shortcuts? Are you suggesting that if you type =-o on AIM pidgin
should automatically replace it with :o? That requires an awfully large
amount of semantic information about the the smileys mean (something which
isn't always clear) and which is something that varies tremendously
between groups of IM users. I have stated repeatedly that I firmly believe
smileys are a *terrible* communication system for anything beyond the
absolutely basic smiling faces ( :) =) :-) =-) ) since the interpretation
of such into a graphic is entirely receiving side (and thus client and
theme dependent), even if you were to be certain that the 'correct' image
was going to appear on the remote side you would still be required to know
what particular interpretation of that image that person is going to have,
I have seen some particularly odd interpretations of smileys that most
people would consider absolutely straight-forward.

If, however, such a feature was to be desired I would suggest adding the
ability to add per-protocol text replacements to the text replacement
plugin so that you can define your own such replacements.

> See, I really don't mind losing the protocol icons so much. What
> bothers me is the rude responses I've gotten and the fact that it was
> released _without_ these alternatives you speak of. It reminds me of
> when Microsoft decided to remove the "classic toolbar" from a lot of
> programs by default, such as IE7. They did not introduce _any_
> alternative; they simply removed functionality from the default
> settings (and they totally screwed up the placement if you *do* turn
> it on, but that's beside the point).

The only rude responses you might have gotten (I'm not at all sure which
responses you are referring to by the way) almost certainly came after
rude comments from yourself or someone else in this thread. Because, while
we certainly have a tendency to react harshly when prodded we virtually
never do so unprodded. And I have been involved in many such discussions
and that has always held true.

Until we released the changes in question we can't know what sort of
alternatives people need. We implemented the ones we saw as necessary and
requested comments from others on more. The release was in fact designed
exactly to elicit comments about what needs fixing. The thing to note here
is that virtually none of the 'champions' of bringing back the protocol
icons has at any time even indicated the slightest inclination to helping
us make things work better 'given the current system' (yourself included
for quite a while, if you go back and read the thread you will see), had
more people done that this entire process would have been much more
pleasant and likely on the road to a much quicker resolution.

So *any* constructive comments about places where the protocol-specific
stuff sticks out, or where you lost the ability to do something, or things
that could be made easier for you are welcome.


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