to use or to not use One-Liners - this is the question


Originally published at: https://www.whonix.org/blog/use-not-use-one-liners-question

Writing post https://forums.whonix.org/t/tor-bootstrap-progress/4801/22 and earlier made me wonder… Is it better to write One-Liners or separate lines?

In absence of a really well designed solution with respect to usability, in my experience, users often love in order to archive their actual goals to use one liners rather than lengthy commands. Example (don’t use this without understanding the context):

sudo su && systemctl stop tor@default && cd /var/lib/tor && git config --global user.email "you@example.com" &&git config --global user.name "Your Name" &&git add * && git commit -a -m .

The disadvantage here is the users learns very little. It looks complicated. Most give up reading before even trying. Then blindly copy and paste. Blindly copying, pasting and running commands from websites on the internet is not something to be encouraged since that could get one compromised.

Become root.

sudo su

Stop Tor.

systemctl stop tor@default

Change directory into Tor’s state folder.

cd /var/lib/tor

And so forth. However, this makes it look much more complicated. Also will be more time consuming.


Why not both? We already did the effort to explain each command separately so adding a one-liner at the end of the article would be a nice addition for those who would like to just do everything in one shot after they referenced the explanation above - or maybe they’ve already read this article but are coming back to get the commands for something they want to do quickly on a fresh install.



Why not both?

Each footnote / each addition comes at a cost. Longer page length.
Looking more difficult. Doesn’t mean it’s a deal breaker.


Agree with this.

Personally I prefer the educational approach of step by step instructions. Advanced users are maybe 5-10% of the Whonix population(?)


Agreed. Lets keep it as is now.


At least when it comes to the wiki, I love the UX of ‘expand’ / collapse that I see being used already. And that’s when this really matters more because you need to compress a lot of information into an attractive guide after all. So where it matters most, I think the problem is solved thankfully.

Most noobs have zero interest in learning - they just want to get safe. And if we can’t trust you, dear Patrick, and the other Whonix contributors like in this thread, then we have bigger problems anyway :).