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Old 12-03-2008, 10:04 AM
Christian Robottom Reis
 
Default "Abuse" of Contact User feature

On Tue, Dec 02, 2008 at 10:23:05PM -0500, Curtis Hovey wrote:
> Which was a point a I made earlier. This feature is fundamentally
> flawed.

Uhh, depending on what you mean by "flawed feature" I don't agree at
all. If you're saying "this is a valid feature but we can't figure out a
way to avoid random peopple spamming teams" then I'm in agreement.

There's definitely a valid use case in providing a way to contact a team
-- for teams that have no contact email addresses (the majority, btw:

3973 total teams

1142 teams with a contact email address set
2831 teams with no contact email address set

) there's no other way to do it. The problem seems to be figuring out a
creative way of allowing that without also making it easy to spam
people.
--
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:18 PM
Curtis Hovey
 
Default "Abuse" of Contact User feature

On Wed, 2008-12-03 at 09:04 -0200, Christian Robottom Reis wrote:
> On Tue, Dec 02, 2008 at 10:23:05PM -0500, Curtis Hovey wrote:
> > Which was a point a I made earlier. This feature is fundamentally
> > flawed.
>
> Uhh, depending on what you mean by "flawed feature" I don't agree at
> all. If you're saying "this is a valid feature but we can't figure out a
> way to avoid random peopple spamming teams" then I'm in agreement.

No I'm saying:

As a launchpad team member,
I want to contact all the launchpad team members,
to inform them of an important event.

We cannot use the team mailing list because the subscription is an
option. How many user get a message if no one subscribes to the mailing
list? Or...we change the list subscription rules to send to all members
if the message came from "Contact this team".

> There's definitely a valid use case in providing a way to contact a team
> -- for teams that have no contact email addresses (the majority, btw:
>
> 3973 total teams
>
> 1142 teams with a contact email address set
> 2831 teams with no contact email address set
>
> ) there's no other way to do it. The problem seems to be figuring out a
> creative way of allowing that without also making it easy to spam
> people.

The "spam" issue is only valid from the context of a non-member
contacting the team. I do not know of a reason why a non-member needs to
contact *every* team member.

As a user of the fnord PPAs,
I want to contact the fnord PPA team,
To as a question about the builds.

If the team had a mailing list, I would expect my message to require
moderation ('standing' is irrelevant in the case) (Launchpad is not
using moderation). Some person acts as the gatekeeper for those message.
I think someone, the team owner, should be the gatekeeper for non-member
messages. The gatekeeper can choose to reply to the non-member message,
or forward it to another team member.

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Old 12-03-2008, 02:05 PM
Christian Robottom Reis
 
Default "Abuse" of Contact User feature

On Wed, Dec 03, 2008 at 09:18:48AM -0500, Curtis Hovey wrote:
> > Uhh, depending on what you mean by "flawed feature" I don't agree at
> > all. If you're saying "this is a valid feature but we can't figure out a
> > way to avoid random peopple spamming teams" then I'm in agreement.
>
> No I'm saying:
>
> As a launchpad team member,
> I want to contact all the launchpad team members,
> to inform them of an important event.
>
> We cannot use the team mailing list because the subscription is an
> option.

I don't understand this sentence, but it mentions mailing lists, and
very few teams have mailing lists. The key advantage of this feature is
that it gives you a unified way to contact a team, regardless of what
bits the team has screwed on.

At any rate, I think I see one of the points you're trying to make --
that a valid use case exists where a team member wants to contact other
team members.

> The "spam" issue is only valid from the context of a non-member
> contacting the team. I do not know of a reason why a non-member needs to
> contact *every* team member.

I can't second-guess users either, but people use tools in unexpected
ways and I think erring on the side of allowing more contact is not
necessarily bad. I can come up with some strawmen at least:

- User X visits a project page to figure out if a project that looks
interesting is still active; the project is owned by a team and he
wants to ask whether anybody's still working on it.

You can argue that he should just contact the project owner.

- Team X manager M wants to invite Team Y to be a member. He knows
that this effectively means that Team Y will get notifications
when Team X is involved, so he wants to make sure nobody's going
to freak out if it happens; he writes to Team Y and asks if that
sounds reasonable or not.

You can argue that he should just ask Team Y's owner who in turn
can ask his team members. But Team Y's owner could only really
contact his team members if a contact-my-team feature exists.

- User A wants to give a suggestion to the Launchpad engineers of a
new technology to use. He doesn't file a bug or a question because
it's not actually a bug or question; instead he writes to the team
and asks

You can argue that this can go through the owner anyway.

> As a user of the fnord PPAs,
> I want to contact the fnord PPA team,
> To as a question about the builds.

And this isn't a bad use case either, though again you can just contact
the owner and have him relay.

It does sound like so far we've established valid use cases for:

- Contacting all members within a team I'm a member of is valid.
- Contacting a team through its team owner (or admins)

Are there others?
--
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Old 12-03-2008, 04:06 PM
Curtis Hovey
 
Default "Abuse" of Contact User feature

On Wed, 2008-12-03 at 13:05 -0200, Christian Robottom Reis wrote:
> On Wed, Dec 03, 2008 at 09:18:48AM -0500, Curtis Hovey wrote:
> > > Uhh, depending on what you mean by "flawed feature" I don't agree at
> > > all. If you're saying "this is a valid feature but we can't figure out a
> > > way to avoid random peopple spamming teams" then I'm in agreement.
> >
> > No I'm saying:
> >
> > As a launchpad team member,
> > I want to contact all the launchpad team members,
> > to inform them of an important event.
> >
> > We cannot use the team mailing list because the subscription is an
> > option.
>
> I don't understand this sentence, but it mentions mailing lists, and
> very few teams have mailing lists. The key advantage of this feature is
> that it gives you a unified way to contact a team, regardless of what
> bits the team has screwed on.

Agreed.

I was trying to say in the "option" argument team members are not always
subscribed to a mailing list when one exists. We cannot rely on a
mailing list to contact the whole team.

> At any rate, I think I see one of the points you're trying to make --
> that a valid use case exists where a team member wants to contact other
> team members.
>
> > The "spam" issue is only valid from the context of a non-member
> > contacting the team. I do not know of a reason why a non-member needs to
> > contact *every* team member.
>
> I can't second-guess users either, but people use tools in unexpected
> ways and I think erring on the side of allowing more contact is not
> necessarily bad. I can come up with some strawmen at least:
>
> - User X visits a project page to figure out if a project that looks
> interesting is still active; the project is owned by a team and he
> wants to ask whether anybody's still working on it.
>
> You can argue that he should just contact the project owner.
>
> - Team X manager M wants to invite Team Y to be a member. He knows
> that this effectively means that Team Y will get notifications
> when Team X is involved, so he wants to make sure nobody's going
> to freak out if it happens; he writes to Team Y and asks if that
> sounds reasonable or not.
>
> You can argue that he should just ask Team Y's owner who in turn
> can ask his team members. But Team Y's owner could only really
> contact his team members if a contact-my-team feature exists.
>
> - User A wants to give a suggestion to the Launchpad engineers of a
> new technology to use. He doesn't file a bug or a question because
> it's not actually a bug or question; instead he writes to the team
> and asks
>
> You can argue that this can go through the owner anyway.

Yes. The owner verses the whole team argument is really about how much
respect Launchpad looses because of a message is perceived to be spam.
If users accept that they will occasionally get a bogus message because
they are a member of a team, then there is no problem. Will Launchpad
users ask us to change the rules if a spammer sends three message to the
three largest teams in Launchpad?

I'm not convinced that sending a message to many people when a
discussion (with all members) is not possible is a good solution. That
is like dropping as many bombs as possible in hopes to hit a target. I
think it is easier for the person sending the message to know that
someone is responsible for replying.

> > As a user of the fnord PPAs,
> > I want to contact the fnord PPA team,
> > To as a question about the builds.
>
> And this isn't a bad use case either, though again you can just contact
> the owner and have him relay.
>
> It does sound like so far we've established valid use cases for:
>
> - Contacting all members within a team I'm a member of is valid.
> - Contacting a team through its team owner (or admins)
>
> Are there others?

Does this need to behave differently if the team has private membership?
I don't think so. Teams with private membership must enforce their own
rules to ensure that members do not divulge themselves. If non-members
can only contact the team owner, there is less chance for the team's
membership to be leaked.

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Old 12-03-2008, 04:42 PM
Christian Robottom Reis
 
Default "Abuse" of Contact User feature

On Wed, Dec 03, 2008 at 05:06:22PM +0000, Curtis Hovey wrote:
> > - User A wants to give a suggestion to the Launchpad engineers of a
> > new technology to use. He doesn't file a bug or a question because
> > it's not actually a bug or question; instead he writes to the team
> > and asks
> >
> > You can argue that this can go through the owner anyway.
>
> Yes. The owner verses the whole team argument is really about how much
> respect Launchpad looses because of a message is perceived to be spam.
> If users accept that they will occasionally get a bogus message because
> they are a member of a team, then there is no problem. Will Launchpad
> users ask us to change the rules if a spammer sends three message to the
> three largest teams in Launchpad?

Quite possibly. Even if

https://launchpad.net/bugs/301654
https://launchpad.net/bugs/302441

were fixed (must-fix for 2.1.12? :-) that risk is still a big one.

> I'm not convinced that sending a message to many people when a
> discussion (with all members) is not possible is a good solution. That
> is like dropping as many bombs as possible in hopes to hit a target. I
> think it is easier for the person sending the message to know that
> someone is responsible for replying.

Yeah, the fact that you can't have a true discussion is a really good
point. So I'm kind of making up my mind that we want to support these
use cases only:

> > - Contacting all members within a team I'm a member of is valid.
> > - Contacting a team through its team owner (or admins)

And I am slightly inclined to say that it's admins. Be it admins or
owner, the slightly harder question that follows is: what happens if
some of the admins are teams?

(Does our CAU feature currently go through nested teams?)

> Does this need to behave differently if the team has private membership?
> I don't think so. Teams with private membership must enforce their own
> rules to ensure that members do not divulge themselves. If non-members
> can only contact the team owner, there is less chance for the team's
> membership to be leaked.

It's a good question. The easiest answer is if the team has private
membership it doesn't get a CAU link. However, I think it may be okay
(and actually better since there's no other means of contact) for the
user to contact the admins as long as it's not disclosed to him who
those admins are. If they choose to reply -- we should probably make
this clear in the footer -- they are disclosing themselves.
--
Christian Robottom Reis | [+55 16] 3376 0125 | http://launchpad.net/~kiko
| [+55 16] 9112 6430 | http://async.com.br/~kiko

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Old 12-04-2008, 02:32 AM
Barry Warsaw
 
Default "Abuse" of Contact User feature

-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
Hash: SHA1

On Dec 3, 2008, at 9:18 AM, Curtis Hovey wrote:

> If the team had a mailing list, I would expect my message to require
> moderation ('standing' is irrelevant in the case) (Launchpad is not
> using moderation). Some person acts as the gatekeeper for those
> message.
> I think someone, the team owner, should be the gatekeeper for non-
> member
> messages. The gatekeeper can choose to reply to the non-member
> message,
> or forward it to another team member.

Launchpad does use a form of message moderation for non-member mailing
list posts. Off the top of my head, I could imagine that a contact-
user message sent to a team from a non-member could go through the
same moderation ui. It's disposition (should it be approved) would be
different, but it's worth considering.

- -Barry

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Old 12-04-2008, 03:10 PM
"Matthew East"
 
Default "Abuse" of Contact User feature

On Wed, Dec 3, 2008 at 11:04 AM, Christian Robottom Reis
<kiko@canonical.com> wrote:
> There's definitely a valid use case in providing a way to contact a team
> -- for teams that have no contact email addresses (the majority, btw:

I don't think the fact that lots of teams don't have a contact email
address is in fact a justification for providing a feature for users
to contact all members of a team.

Personally, I think that if a team doesn't have a mailing list or
contact address set up, then the user who wishes to contact that team
should be permitted to contact the team administrators, but not the
whole team. A team might easily choose not to have a contact address
on purpose, because they don't want people to contact all team members
in this way.

Take for example the ubuntumembers group
(https://launchpad.net/~ubuntumembers). That team has 448 members, and
no contact address. I think it's pretty unreasonable for all 448
members to be contacted by someone with an enquiry about how to become
a member (I've seen a few of those emails, and I assume them to have
come through there, although there is no way for me to verify that).

If there is the ability to contact team administrators, and
individuals, then I don't really see any use case for providing a way
to contact an entire team.

--
Matthew East
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Old 12-12-2008, 09:54 AM
"Matthew East"
 
Default "Abuse" of Contact User feature

Hi,

On Thu, Dec 4, 2008 at 4:10 PM, Matthew East <mdke@ubuntu.com> wrote:
> Personally, I think that if a team doesn't have a mailing list or
> contact address set up, then the user who wishes to contact that team
> should be permitted to contact the team administrators, but not the
> whole team. A team might easily choose not to have a contact address
> on purpose, because they don't want people to contact all team members
> in this way.

A further reflection on this. Recently I've been seeing quite a few
mails in my inbox which come through Launchpad. As far as I can guess
from the context (because Launchpad doesn't tell me where the mails
have come from) they have been sent to the ~communitycouncil,
~ubuntumembers, or ~ubuntu-doc teams. Receiving emails in this way is
quite inconvenient, because:

1. There is no way to tell to which team they have been sent, so you
frequently have to guess what the person is talking about.
2. There is no way to tell whether anyone has already responded to the
email before I do (unlike with proper mailing lists).
3. All the teams already have established and documented ways for
people to contact them, either by mailing list or otherwise, and the
introduction of this new Launchpad feature has forcibly changed
workflows without prior notice or choice on the part of the team.

Point 1 above is just a bug, and can be fixed, but points 2 and 3 seem
to me to point out clearly why this feature should not have been
introduced for teams, either at all, or at the very least before
further discussion and planning has been carried out. Otherwise, this
feature is just introducing an inferior type of mailing list for every
team.

Don't get me wrong, it's great to have a private possibility to
contact individual users who don't publish their email addresses, but
for teams this is a whole different kettle of fish.

--
Matthew East
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