Principle of least surprise

Wols Lists antlists at
Fri Feb 8 09:46:44 UTC 2019

On 08/02/19 09:04, Piet van Oostrum wrote:
> Wol <antlists at> writes:
>> On 06/02/2019 22:33, Piet van Oostrum wrote:
>>     Wols Lists wrote:
>>      > On 06/02/19 16:08, Piet van Oostrum wrote:
>>      > > Wol's lists <antlists at> writes:
>>      > > 
>>      > >> Dunno whether this is a bug or a design decision or what, but it's a
>>      > >> pretty nasty breach of the principle ...
>>      > >>
>>      > >> Why, when I click on a cell, does calc NOT select the clicked cell?
>>      > >>
>>      > >> Okay, I know the answer - it's a hyperlink. BUT.
>>      > >>
>>      > >> I was editing a csv, I've got a column of email addresses, and some of
>>      > >> them have been hyperlinked, some of them haven't. I don't want
>>      > >> hyperlinks, I didn't ask for hyperlinks, and I can't see any way of
>>      > >> easily removing them!
>>      > >>
>>      > > Format > Clear Direct Formatting (Ctrl-M on my Mac).
>>      > > 
>>      > But clicking on the cell doesn't select it so <ctrl>M doesn't work! :-)
>>      > 
>>     You could click in a nearby cell and move to it with the arrows.
>> Sorry, I don't know whether it's my poor English or that you aren't a native speaker, but you seem
>> to be completely missing my main point.
>> Clicking in a cell to select it is such a basic piece of spreadsheet functionality, that for it to
>> not work is a major problem. Things like that should work ONE HUNDRED percent of the time, not
>> ninety-nine percent. Any safety guy will tell you that something that nearly always works is
>> actually far more dangerous than something that keeps going wrong.
>> Oh - and I've just played with the same spreadsheet in Excel. That fucks it up too, just not quite
>> so dangerously. It selects the cell, which is good, but launches the link at the same time. So at
>> least you get a clear visual surprise, unlike Calc which just silently fails to work as expected
>> ...
> No need to SHOUT. I agree that selecting a cell just by clicking is a basic functionality. And so is following a link when you click on it. So now there is a conflict of interests. It would be nice if you had the option to choose which one you prefer, because this is user-dependent. Apparently LO choose to give the link priority. So if you don't like that, switch off the links. See the part of my post that you cut out.
Sorry. But if that's the case, why does LO do NEITHER?

Point is, if I'm using calc, I'm using a spreadsheet. I expect it to
behave like a spreadsheet, not a browser. And the current functionality
is DANGEROUS. I shouldn't have to go and change the options to make calc
behave like a spreadsheet.

As I said, I only discovered this because I was using calc *as a
spreadsheet* and suddenly discovered that it was (a) making changes
behind my back, and (b) as a result of those changes, I'd damaged my

Again, we can probably blame it on Microsoft :-) but really I would
prefer my spreadsheet to behave like a spreadsheet, not a browser. And
that's why I was shouting. You're not addressing my point which is that,
imho, it is a *major* design fail for the *default* behaviour to
suddenly behave in a completely different (*and* *dangerous*) way. If
you're in a car, would you really like a corner case, where, every time,
by default the car swapped the brake and accelerator over if you were
turning right in third gear? The car is being completely deterministic -
all you have to do is remember to use the other foot! Maybe I'm too
naive, but should I really have to mess around with the settings to get
a single-click to work the same way here as it does EVERYWHERE else?

Oh - and this has ramifications elsewhere. Probably the easiest way for
me to try and fix this is that whenever calc converts text to a
hyperlink, is to just <ctrl>Z to undo the hyperlink. Except last time I
hit this in calc, <ctrl>Z didn't work that way, I just could NOT disable
calc's autoformat. Oh - and the standard way of disabling the autoformat
didn't work because it was doing it elsewhere. I think I need to go and
see whether that UI nightmare has been fixed ...

Please. I *don't* want to have to fuck about with the settings, in order
to make calc behave like a spreadsheet!


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