My Useful Feedback, Re: The Cost of Progress and Options & Giving Back

John Bailey rekkanoryo at
Tue Jul 15 22:44:49 EDT 2008

On Tue, Jul 15, 2008 at 09:54:25PM -0400, Jesse S. Miller wrote:
> John, Ethan, Pidgin developers, etc.,
> Flumoxed by the new auto-resizing input behavior, I paid a visit to the  
> Pidgin news area.  There I found and read your posts (and e-mails) about  
> the issue.  Count me among the many users who are not thrilled with this  
> behavior.  Don't get me wrong, I appreciate your efforts; but I do think  
> you've taken the wrong position on this matter.
> As a programmer, I am familiar with how tedious and annoying it can get  
> to add and maintain a long list of options.  If my understanding is  
> correct, you wish to close (or keep closed) the option of making the  
> chat input area modifiable via plugins.  I see no reason for that choice.

Perhaps I'm misreading your message, but if I'm not I'd like to point
out one small thing--we have no intention of making it impossible for
plugins to implement changes to the conversation window.  It's just
something we consider an ugly hack (it really *is* ugly, code-wise, to
do it!).  Substantially changing the UI in this manner is best left to a
plugin instead of a preference--while there may be ugly hacks involved
in making the plugin do its job, it will almost certainly be easier to
maintain the plugin than to maintain the two behaviors in the same code

Note that the fork of Pidgin that includes the manual resize ability
includes a plugin which restores the functionality.  The plugin also has
a small but dedicated following on the trac ticket nodashi opened to
post it.

All this said, we recognize and accept that we are going to make some
users angry whenever we make a UI change.  That can't be avoided when we
want to make changes.

> There are two hardships you are introducing with this decision:
> 1.)  It fatigues users' eyes by forcing them to keep up with a moving  
> target.

While this argument does have some limited merit, note that the input
area only resizes as it's necessary--it's not a constant resizing.  That
said, this ship has pretty much sailed, and I really don't feel like yet
another debate over it.  Sorry, but this topic has exhausted me.

> So, I ask you consider these two points with respect to keeping the  
> option open for manual sizing of text input.  Personally, I see no  
> utility in an auto-resizing input box other than the prestige that might  
> be associated emulating Apple's iChat.  (Perhaps there are prior works -  
> scratch that - I'm certain there are prior works.)

I don't know if it was specifically iChat that became the inspiration
for this, but Adium by default automatically resizes its input area too.
I always felt it to be emulating Adium.

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