← Back to team overview

launchpad-dev team mailing list archive

Hiding comments from most Launchpad users


Launchpad is changing how privacy is managed so that it is easier to
audit and change at the project level. One consequence of this change
will be that private bugs cannot be shared by projects. Another change
is that marking a bug private will change the direct bug subscribers to
ensure further information is not disclosed to unvetted users. In a
review of 218 bugs marked private after they were reported, 216 were
made private because of one or more comments. The new privacy rules can
prevent such bugs from being made private, or from being seen by the
contributors who can help fix it. Launchpad staff can hide comment when
asked, but that could delay the time personal information is disclosed
on Launchpad by minutes, or days.

We would like to solve this problem, but it is not in scope for the
Launchpad Purple Squad to work on. We are concerned that the simple
actions we can take to address this issue will be prone to abuse. We
have some ideas about what can be done, but the discussion often leads
to concerns that can only be address by increasing scope. This is my
outline of how the Launchpad community could make Launchpad comment better:

1. Extend the rules of who can change the visibility of a comment from
Launchpad staff (~registry) to the author of the comment and users in
project roles. This simple change
(lp:~wallyworld/launchpad/hide-bug-comment-permissions-885672) permits
projects and users to manage their data.

This single change solves a lot of issues that affect comments:
* Hiding spam
* Hiding abusive messages
* Hiding personal information accidentally revealed
* Hiding comments mistakenly added to a bug
* Hiding obsolete/irrelevant comments in long conversations

But this single change introduces other problems:
* Bad UI: http://people.canonical.com/~curtis/hidden-comments.png
* No auditing

2. Project owners, drivers, bug supervisors, and security contacts might
be see a lot of yellow comments screaming at be looked at. Launchpad
staff see this now and it is very distracting. It also requires me to
scroll past messages no one wants to read. I think the message body
should be collapsed. If I want to see the message, I could expand it
using an action in the header.

3. The Hide/Unhide comment link is added as a footer to every message.
This increases the amount of scrolling I need to do. I do not need to
see a repetitive action for each message when the action is rarely
needed. This looks very odd for questions that I ask in answers because
I see a "This solved my problem" button in the comment body, then a Hide
Comment link in the comment footer. Maybe this action could be moved
into the comment header? The header is problematic because several uses
need to be addressed.
* All comments show the display name, Launchpad-Id, and and date
* Most show the comment number, maybe merge proposals should too
* The solution comment to a question shows a star
* We want to show badges next to users affiliated with the project
  and we now have a means to do it!

4. We do not know who hid the comment, or why. I think most hidden
comments are spam, followed by comment hidden because they reveal
personal information, and lastly comments that are abusive. I assume
comment hidden prior to this year were hidden by Launchpad admins, and
all since them by Launchpad developers. We cannot assume any of this
when every Lp user can hid their own comments. I think we want to record
who change the visibility of the comment and reason selected from an
approved list we recognise: spam, abuse, personal, mistake, obsolete.

5. Comment numbers are sometimes displayed wrong

6. Authoritative comments are not shown or displayed poorly

Curtis Hovey

Attachment: signature.asc
Description: OpenPGP digital signature

Follow ups