[sword-devel] New filter for red letter words

Daniel Russell sword-devel@crosswire.org
Thu, 16 Jan 2003 12:16:43 -0800

> I agree with that philosophy, but it was suggested by another that 
> there should be no philosophies stopping the addition of features that 
> give users power. That opinion was stated unconditionally. I am just 
> pointing out that we need philosophies that set some limits. As I said 
> before I really don't care about red-lettering. That was just how this 
> topic got started by others. However, why not blue-letter all the 
> words and phrases that are mistranslated?  Or better yet, provide a 
> toggle to toggle translation error correcting on or off. :-) Perhaps 
> we would need to be more careful than those making red-lettering, and 
> copyright holders may not like it, but it would give the user power.

Naturally, the SWORD team has the ability to be careful about what it 
publishes. If a work is trash, then it is trash, whether it be a text 
module or a filter for a module. In that case, it should be tossed out. 
If a work is useful, even if it is not 100% provably correct, it is 
still something that the users should be allowed to use and thus ought 
to be included. This is the very *nature* of Biblical scholarship. I 
know some certain denominations have it in their head that they have 
figured out everything completely and know exactly what everthing means 
and so on. But if we are 100% honest with ourselves and refrain from 
theological spin doctoring, then we must admit that this is not a 
perfect science and live with it, right? i think everything that has 
been expressed on this topic has been in agreement with *this* philosophy.

The logical conclusion then is to give up trying to have perfection, and 
trust the users. You are not going to stop a user who wants to blaspheme 
from blaspheming, or a user who takes passages out of context out of 
context. Nor are you going to stop a user who has a low amout of 
intelligence or literacy from misreading scripture. If you believe in 
the Holy Spirit, i think you should let Him handle this aspect. You can 
have a high quality standard for modules and filters, but in the end 
there is a certain about of confidence that you must assume in your 
users, and forget about those who have evil intentions in their hearts.

Perhaps there should be a non-restrictive philosophy which says "filters 
which add new presentation information (written by Sword programmers, as 
opposed to being from a previously published material) must show good 
faith to signify all dubious renderings of the text." These filters 
could somehow cause a message to be shown somewhere in the GUIs that 
says "Warning: filter is not necessarily 100% reliable." in taskbars, etc.

For example, in places where it is difficult to discern whether Jesus or 
someone else is talking, the text could be some other non-red color in a 
red-letter filter. Additionally, the user would see something in a 
taskbar, or somewhere else, a red bar that says the warning message. If 
the user *still* wants to say that Jesus said something that He didn't, 
that user is going to do so anyway. But for other legitimate users, the 
red-letter filter is useful for the eyes, even if it is not 100% reliable.