Tab colors

Ethan Blanton elb at
Wed Nov 28 13:10:52 EST 2007

Shreevatsa R spake unto us the following wisdom:
> * Quoting Ethan Blanton who at 2007-11-28 11:19:49-0500 (Wed) wrote
> > You are not the first person to express this opinion; however, we had
> > the behavior that you suggest implemented in the development code for
> > some time, and there were overwhelming responses that people did *not*
> > like it.  It is pretty clear at this point that it is a personal
> > preference, and that we aren't going to make everyone happy.  My
> > general sense is that the current behavior is "more popular", but I
> > have extremely limited behavior to back that up.
> Popularity is not a good argument, doing the Right Thing is (remember
> protocol icons?) 

Agreed.  For important things, popularity is completely irrelevant.
The less important something is, the more important popularity becomes
-- simply because it means less crying, if nothing else.  ;-)
However, I didn't intend to say that popularity rules, here, just to
point out that there *are* opinions on both sides of the aisle.

> As messages sent to me are more important than general messages, and red
> is more prominent than blue[1], it makes sense to fix them. People will
> get used to it. Isn't doing The Right Thing part of the design
> philosophy?

This argument is popular.  It may even be true for some people.
However, red/green colorblindness is the most common form of
colorblindness, and colorblindness afflicts somewhere around 10% of
men in Western countries (I have no figures for non-Western countries;
it may or may not be similar) (if "providing references" is in style,
I can provide some for this, as well).  This isn't to say that red is
non-negotiable, but this is also a consideration, particularly when
the argument "red is more noticable" is brought up.

As I believe I mentioned in the message you [partially] quoted, it
seems that there is room for legitimate negotiation here.
Color-sighted versus color-blind individuals aside, those with low
vision may have legitimate desire for even more disambiguation than
simple color changes.

It has also been brought up that the particular shade of blue which we
selected is not very eye-catching.  I think correcting this will
satisfy many of the legitimate complaints about effectiveness, but
of course cannot help with the "I don't like it" factor.

> PS: Also, popularity-wise, I suspect people have been using Pidgin more
> for IM than group chats.

I suspect this is true.  Popularity doesn't matter.  ;-)


The laws that forbid the carrying of arms are laws [that have no remedy
for evils].  They disarm only those who are neither inclined nor
determined to commit crimes.
		-- Cesare Beccaria, "On Crimes and Punishments", 1764
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