"The system detected a problem, do you want to report it?" dialog

Peter Flynn peter at silmaril.ie
Sat Aug 25 19:27:45 UTC 2018

On 25/08/18 11:27, Ralf Mardorf wrote:
> On Sat, 2018-08-25 at 11:16 +0100, Colin Law wrote:
>> On Sat, 25 Aug 2018 at 11:09, Ralf Mardorf <silver.bullet at zoho.com> wrote:
>>> Auto-reports are bad.
>> Why?
> A daemon needs to run.
> Users don't understand what they are doing, by just clicking ok, so it's
> a security risk. 

I've heard that, but I don't understand why. The daemon just sends 
something (by email? sftp? https?) to a hard-wired address. No user 
intervention is possible. Sure, it has details of the user's system, but 
it HAS to, that's its job.

> It's easy to help the user to manually report a bug.

I wish it were. The user will not normally know what process triggered 
the error (that's the job of the system), nor will they know what action 
triggered it (it may or may not have been the foreground process), and 
if they're anything like most users, they type and click so fast that by 
the time the error window has appeared, they cannot identify what they 
were typing or clicking, or whereabouts on the screen. All they can do 
is report the name of the foreground process, and perhaps the name of 
the open document or the active URI. The error might have occurred in a 
hidden or off-screen process and be wholly unrelated to the active 
foreground process. Helping users to report bugs manually is HARD.

>> Have you researched what the auto reports are used for?
> Yes, they are good for absolutely nothing, but to offend privacy and to
> avoid helping users to learn.

I wonder if there is a way we can redesign the error dialog window to 
help the learning process and mitigate the privacy concerns?


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