Privacy Rewrite GSoC Project

Mark Doliner mark at
Wed Aug 5 13:46:10 EDT 2009

On Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 7:00 AM, John Bailey<rekkanoryo at> wrote:
> Mark Doliner wrote:
>> I don't think it's wise to empty the block list stored on the server.
>> I think people expect that list to remain in tact, and if they use
>> another IM client at another location they'll be confused/annoyed that
>> they're block list is empty.  In this case my vote would be to not
>> have an "allow all users" option for MSN.
> In some cases you're going to *have* to empty the server-side block list to
> achieve the privacy setting the user wants, whether you like it or not.
> Particularly on protocols where you don't have an option "Allow all users" at
> the protocol level.  How else do you say you don't want to block anyone?

I guess I'm saying that I don't think we should offer an "allow all
users" option if the only way to implement it is to clear the
server-side block list.  I don't think the benefit outweighs the

>> Hmm, I wonder if this will be easy for users to figure out?  I wonder
>> if maybe it would be better if the list of blocked users was more
>> closely related to the privacy state for some protocols, and less
>> closely related to the privacy state for others.
> <snip>
> Doing this sounds like all you want to accomplish is changing the UI and
> forgetting about any changes to the core.  That defeats the abstraction I and
> several others were aiming for.  We may be creating a system that's too powerful
> for users *at first*, but providing a unified interface with the option of more
> granularity and flexibility will be better for us long-term.  We abstract
> various features in the different protocols anyway; this should be no different.

One problem with our current privacy system is that for AIM the block
list is only active when your state is "block only the users below,"
but for MSN the block list is always in effect regardless of your
state.  For this difference in behavior there is no difference in UI.
It is impossible to infer the behavior of these lists from our UI, and
that offers a confusing experience to the user.

Does the new system attempt to correct this?


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