It just seemed a little unclear what you meant. Glad that's cleared up, then!
• It may seem that you're giving Tarmak a harsh judgement – "it lacks appeal" and is "unattractive"?!? To the contrary, I've seen many people express happy feelings about it. I know that its presentation could've been better, but all in all it looks quite appealing to my eye – and this is corroborated by Ezuk's blog for instance.
• I don't think that the difference between 4 and 5 steps is dramatic. Your way makes for a better 2-step solution if that's desirable, there's a point. But the forum has discussed this a lot as you're aware and it seems to me that most potential users want a maximum of 4–5 keys per step (as Lalop said above); also, when the steps are smaller it's easier to merge two steps to get an intermediate one should someone choose to. I've noted though, that the users who have told success stories chose not to skip any steps. To the contrary, they tend to say that they got too eager and did the last step too early and they kinda wish they hadn't so they'd have avoided some stress – this is my impression (and that's even when the last step is a tiny little 3-key one!). So I think easy does it, still. The pilot user who tried the first progression with large steps spent a long time on each step and a longish time total to reach the goal compared to many later Tarmak users; but he's only one data point of course. Again, it doesn't seem to me that the users are as concerned with the number of steps as with the max number of keys per step. Transition users in general seem to want baby steps.
• The names of the layouts aren't confusing when you read my main Tarmak post I think – it's Tarmak1–5. The letter codes are explained further down and really logical enough to me (the most important letter improved for each step), but in the main post and PKL it's just numbering. The reason the letter codes are kept is to distinguish between variants, and that's still necessary. I've chosen to bury my earlier variants instead of keeping them as active options. No need for them, really.
We're in the Open Source dilemma: More choices is good for some but makes it daunting for the starters. Part of your success story with Colemak has probably been freezing it since 2006; this opens for some criticism from the most intense optimizers but in the end gives the newcomers a feeling of a stable and finalized product which is nice. Once choice is introduced, it gets harder for the newbies. (Yeah, sorry about that DH-mod thing; it's just too much fun to leave be – and addresses a real problem which has led to the creation of in my opinion inferior layout alternatives....)
• This might in fact be a point of critique against your introduction of transitional layouts at this point, as mentioned above! Why introduce a progression with comparable benefit to the existing one when its main effect may be making it harder to choose for the newcomers? I've worked a lot on making Tarmak newbie-friendly (PKL implementations with images, listening to experiences and reworking presentations based on their feedback, Ezuk's blog presentation etc) because I realize how daunting it is for them; now I fear they may be too confused when arriving here and getting the impression of schizmas? Nobody wants another "editor war"/"bike shed" story!? But I guess you felt the need for it, given that you've got all this gripes with the existing Tarmak. We'll just have to live with diversity then.
• The effort change per step has been analyzed with Patorjk and CodeSharp, but I don't trust those analyzers too much to represent my goals. Other analyses have been performed and largely confirm the fairly obvious. How is this unclear?
• "Loops" are confusing? I don't think so? It's very obvious how the L>U>I loop works, surely you must agree? The other loop is bigger so it needs to be broken up. Not really confusing, is it? Or is it my notation that trips you up?
• New users don't tend to skip the first step! It's an option for the brave, and people who choose Tarmak tend to be careful with their bite sizes (the very brave just cold turkey straight to Colemak) as said above. These want a big step, and so they can have it. You provide a 2-step alternative with similarly big steps. Indeed, if someone wants to ease into transitional layouts they shouldn't dive into a big step first but sidle up to it; in such a case I'd recommend Tarmak steps 1, 2, 3 and 5.
• Tarmak1 has very obvious improvements over QWERTY, as it brings E and N to the home row and shows good improvement in analysis. The T>F>E>K step beats it but at the cost of moving a five times more common letter and moving a different letter from the other steps (see the discussion with Karl that led to the current Tarmak – I really think he had a point there).
• Those who want a Minimak instead of transition, shouldn't use any of our steps but a Minimak or similar. They're really a different customer base. It's still safe enough to stay with any of our steps for a while. Nobody sane would stop at Tarmak4 forever for instance, as it's a short way from "perfection". I believe that would apply to your Colemak-4 too. If someone do get stuck it'll likely be at Tarmak3 or your Colemak-8 I guess? Those are decent enough I guess.
• Which steps you might skip is clearly explained as far as I can see (in the Mini-FAQ, as it's an optional strategy). How should that be made clearer?
• I disagree that your progression has an even progression in difficulty, from the looks of it. Your step 2 (Colemak-8) seems more difficult than the others, and Colemak-13 looks confusing with two misplaced keys. There's no real reason to seek a strictly accelerating difficulty progression though, as I see it. Indeed Tarmak4 has to be more difficult, like your Colemak-4, as it clears up the big loop leading to no more misplaced keys – splitting it otherwise would lead to too many steps I think. But I think that's a good stage to face and overcome that difficulty.
• If someone tries your progression, they'll be able to report on how it actually feels – the problem is of course that nobody will be able to learn Colemak with both progressions and compare how they actually fly! So I guess we're mostly left to guesswork. Tarmak's been tried and tested and seems to work well, at least. I haven't noticed all the confusion and feelings of weirdness that you seem to experience, but those may be underreported.
• Your progression is nice for 2 or 4 steps, Tarmak is nice for 3 or 5 steps. The one-hand-at-a-time approach seemed appealing at first, but I haven't got any real impression as to its actual benefits.
• J-hopping is weird? To the contrary, moving only the least used letter bar some odd ones must be much less weird and annoying than misplacing several more common ones at once! Several users cheered the "J-hopper" approach as much more clear and appealing than the ETOIR approach which misplaced two keys (only one at a time). Tarmak users will know that the J is the one in an odd place, and since it's so rare (in English) it doesn't hurt much.
• Yes, particularly the second post (technically the third now) in the Tarmak thread is long and wordy. It's optional, and mostly for people who ask about things like you're doing now. Yes, I'd like a clearer and more manageable presentation. We all should work on better presentations. I think mine aren't the worst on this site even if they're generally too verbose and thorough. At least, the graphics are nice – ne c'est pas?
It seems to me that you've made a very long list now... maybe you should number your gripes for clarity? :-þ And I get the feeling that many of your critiques here are a bit contrived and/or apply to both our progressions? It's still an interesting discussion, of course.
Last edited by DreymaR (03-Jul-2015 13:49:52)