I taught English language and literature in Italy for the best part of ten years, and I am now sixty-eight, and I am very much aware of how much English has changed during its long history, and over my lifetime. Having studied or worked in the fields of history of art, English, history, psychology, and counselling, I am often aware of how terminology gets hijacked for special use (as well as specialist language being taken over in common usage – see Serge Moscovici and Social Representations Theory). And in psychology I have leanings towards Social Constructionism, so I am alive to the importance of context, and how our meanings are socially constructed.
The crucial (sic!) thing for me in this context, however, is the question of how we might make it easier for people to adapt to this piece of software, which frequently seems to leave people feeling disorientated or puzzled (I include myself among them).
I do not have any evidence, only a hunch, but it would not surprise me to learn that the people who have least difficulty adapting to Tinderbox are those who have deeper than average knowledge of “computing” – be it scripting, programming, or something of that sort. People who may, perhaps, have some inkling that what goes on may be hidden below the surface, and not all exposed to the view. I recently suggested on these forums that many computer programs are like Ikea cabinets whereas Tinderbox allows you to take a stack of timber and make almost anything you want, but you really have to have some knowledge of carpentry to be able to come out with a decent cabinet or table at the end of the process.
The question, then, becomes one of how to bridge the gap for those who are used to Ikea cabinets, but might benefit from learning a little carpentry. From discussions I have had with @mwra, I believe that this is what he would like to do. I believe that changing the name of Key Attributes would help in this, though that is only an opinion based on a hunch about the meanings that people are likely to bring with them from ordinary, everyday usage of English. Granted, non-native speakers, of whom I have quite a lot of experience, may bring very different assumptions with them. (I had quite a discussion in another forum regarding the meaning of “buffer”, which presented quite different initial ideas to non-native computer programmers, and native-speaking non-programmers!) And there anecdotal stories of meetings taking place in English in which the non-native speakers all understand what is going on, and the only ones who can’t understand are the native English-speakers! But I think it is difficult to get away from the base idea that a key is something that unlocks things – that makes things possible.
Anyway, communication is an art not a science – and I have probably completely derailed this thread. But I hope with the intention of moving towards making life easier for puzzled users of Tinderbox. The people who “inhabit” this community seem to be thoughtful and prepared to look at things in various ways in a spirit of enquiry, so I hope my ramblings here will be tolerated.