Re: Newbie grief

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On Fri, May 4, 2012 at 3:09 AM, Carlos Martín Nieto <cmn@xxxxxxxx> wrote:
> On Thu, 2012-05-03 at 22:25 -0700, Junio C Hamano wrote:
>> Michael Witten <mfwitten@xxxxxxxxx> writes:
>>
>> > As for a seemingly conservative suggestion, how about using a little
>> > more structural white space:
>> >
>> >   To $uri_for_central_repo
>> >    ! [rejected]        HEAD -> feature_0 (non-fast-forward)
>> >
>> >   error: failed to push some refs to '$uri_for_central_repo'
>> >
>> >   To prevent you from losing history, non-fast-forward updates were rejected
>> >   Merge the remote changes (e.g. 'git pull') before pushing again.  See the
>> >   'Note about fast-forwards' section of 'git push --help' for details.
>> >
>
> Most of the first sentence repeats what we can see above. Restating that
> non-ff updates were rejected doesn't add information and doesn't help
> people who don't already know what a non-ff update is, so it's either
> redundant or not helpful[0]. So lets see if we can come up with a
> friendlier way of saying it. Maybe something like:
>
>    To $uri_for_central_repo
>    ! [rejected]        HEAD -> feature_0 (non-fast-forward)
>
>    error: failed to push some refs to '$uri_for_central_repo'
>
>    Some updates which might rewrite history and lose someone else's
>    changes were rejected. Merge those changes (e.g. 'git pull') to
>    incorporate that history. See the 'Note about fast-forwards' section
>    of 'git push --help' for details.
>
> It may be a bit longer, but if you don't know what a non-ff is or why
> it's a problem, this text should help you a lot more than the previous
> one did. Not reading the documentation (specially when the error message
> points you to a specific section for a longer explanation) is still no
> excuse for not known what's going on, but if you've been working on your
> own for a while, you might have forgotten what this is all about.[1]

The whitespace that Michael introduced is a big help, for starters,
and this rewording is also a nice step forward.  I'm still not
thrilled about the "rewriting history" verbiage -- that makes it sound
like the user did something super risky and was rescued by the system.
 Here's my suggestion for replacing the last paragraph:

  Some of your branches are out of date.  Merge the remote changes
(e.g. 'git pull') then try again.

It's short and easy to scan.  It has no git-specific jargon that new
users would be unfamiliar with.  There's no reference to fast-forward
updates so no need to refer the user to that help section.  What do
you think?

Cheers,
-n8

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