One thing I really like about is that you end up learning as much answering questions on there as you do by asking them.

For example, when I saw this question I was sure there would be a way to delete a region by simply starting to type after selecting the region, but I didn’t know how. However given that this is emacs, I seriously doubted the person asking the question would be the first one to want this particular feature.

Sure enough, a quick dig around EmacsWiki brought up delete-selection-mode which does exactly what the poster wanted. And I’ve learned a little bit more about Emacs, again.

At this rate I’ll be reasonably proficient in Emacs in a decade or two :).

One thought on “How I learned about delete-selection-mode”

  1. I thoroughly recommend exactly that method as a great way to learn all manner of things about Emacs. Pick a question which seems interesting to you (especially if it’s something you’ve previously wanted to know, but — importantly — even if it’s not), and try to figure it out. You can learn so much about Emacs just by having some small motivation to go digging for answers, and if you do this often enough you will regularly find that the knowledge you gained in the past pays dividends in the future — even if you didn’t know at the time that you were going to need that knowledge.

    And the great thing about doing this on Stack Overflow is that not only can you provide an answer for yourself and the person who asked the question, but it will remain there for everyone who searches for that question in the future, so you can actively improve global knowledge of Emacs as well as your own.

    Lastly, if someone else provides an even better answer than your own, then not only do you learn from your own efforts, but you get to learn even more from other people.

    I’ve always thought that learning works best when you have some real involvement in the problems, and the Stack Overflow approach provides endless excuses to be involved in learning new things.

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