Prefs Reduction wiki page

Colin Barrett colin at springsandstruts.com
Thu Jul 28 23:06:32 UTC 2011


Any feature that phones home should have a user-visible off switch. Period. Anything else is disrespectful of the privacy of our users.

-Colin

On Jul 28, 2011, at 4:01 PM, Jordan wrote:

> Are there plans for any sort of fall-back or more 'advanced' toggling for these preferences? In other words, some of the items that can be removed from the UI could still be optional toggles that are configured purely with hidden prefs. I'll use the Sparkle Update option as an example:
> 
> remove "Automatically check for updates", in my opinion users should always get informed about new versions (pks)
> I'm unsure. Pretty much every app I know that uses Sparkle has this setting... -Robbie
> I feel the same as Robbie, although I must agree - I can't think of a situation where anyone would actually disable this? (paulwilde)
> What about adding a checkbox "Do not remind me again" to the update-information-window? (pks)
> Disagree. We always need an opt out for auto updating because it involves phoning home. Also, IT people want to do manual updates of software. It must stay. -Colin
> Disagree. Opting out of options that phone home is important. -Steve
> The suggested solution (by pks) to use a "Do not prompt me for updates" option in the update window does provide an opt-out to prevent the application from phoning home. Colin brought up the point that IT personnel would always toggle this off, so removing it would annoy those folks. Why not also have a hidden pref for this. Hidden prefs are exactly the kind of thing IT personnel are accustomed to making use of. They're likely scripting their installs anyway, so using a command-line toggled hidden preference is perfect.
> 
> We have transitioned certain options to hidden preferences in the past and I don't recall there being any major problems resulting from it. I think some people suggested at the time that continuing to use a hidden preference still provides complexity to troubleshooting that wouldn't be there if the preference were removed altogether. This is true in theory, but I don't think we have run into that problem in practice all that often (I can't think of a single occurrence from when I was more actively involved).
> 
> While I think that where possible a complete removal of any given preference would be great, there will always be cases where someone comes up with a good reason not to remove it; this can be seen at this very time by skimming through the comments on the PreferenceReduction2011 page. Hidden preferences may provide exactly the happy-medium required to allow for UI simplification while still appeasing power users.
> 
> Cheers,
> 
> Jordan
> 
> ----
> Sent with Sparrow
> 
> On Thursday, 28 July, 2011 at 2:27 PM, Colin Barrett wrote:
> 
>> I've updated it with my feedback. Would be great to get input from more people.
>> 
>> http://trac.adium.im/wiki/PreferenceReduction2011
>> 
>> -Colin
> 

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