[Roadmap] Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Various discussions related to Adblock Plus development

[Roadmap] Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Wladimir Palant » Tue Dec 07, 2010 1:13 pm

The issue reports made one thing absolutely clear - users very often shoot themselves in the foot, a large percentage of issues is caused by filters that users added themselves without even the basic understanding of how things work. People seem to think that if they click "Block" Adblock Plus will somehow magically figure out what they mean to block.

Proposal: take this dangerous user interface away by default. In other words, add an option called "Allow adding filters manually". This option should be switched off by default. For existing users who update to Adblock Plus 1.4 (or whichever version implements this) it should only be switched on if the user has non-trivial filters in his list (meaning filters that cannot be added/removed via "Disable on ..." options).

If this option is switched off there should be no "Show tabs on Flash and Java" option (no object tabs), no context menu items except "Re-enable on this page", no blockable items (not in the menu and not as keyboard shortcut). Further the redesigned Filter Preferences dialog should have no "Custom filters" tab.

How does that sound?
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Michael » Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:55 pm

I would suggest that setting a more specific default choice when adding a filter would provide a slightly better balance between customisation and extension simplicity, but I am probably far too technically-minded for the target audience, as are most who would respond to this proposal.

I can certainly see there being a use for an unalterable Adblock Plus, but whether this should be the default is a point of debate. I would also query whether the issue reporter should be disabled in the unalterable state, as there would otherwise be no manner in which website problems can be resolved.
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Wladimir Palant » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:49 pm

It is questionable whether a more specific choice is better. If we choose the most specific entry by default people complain that ads just "come back", if we add potentially more useful filters these are sometimes sometimes too generic. In the end, the problem is really that this interface is being used by people who don't understand it. And I'm not sure that we can simplify it enough for these people.

Issue reporter should definitely always be available, this is indeed the primary means of resolving issues now.
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Ares2 » Sat Jan 15, 2011 10:07 pm

I just saw this topic: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=6690

If such a switch is implemented, do you want to merge ABP with EHH? Or vice versa: Move the filter composer to the secondary extension? Both make more sense to me than two separate steps to fully enable manual filtering.
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Wladimir Palant » Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:51 pm

That's a good question, I am wondering about that myself. If we are hiding advanced functionality anyway we might integrate EHH just as well.
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby LorenzoC » Sun Jan 16, 2011 8:35 pm

Lets approach it from another direction:

In my understanding most people just need to load a subscription and the "engine" to filter stuff.
No function to add filters at all, not even "inspecting" tools.

Those who want to write their own rules could install the "composer/editor" as separate ABP addon.

I don't know how much this impacts on ABP development of even if it is possible but I think it would be more effective than "hiding" the "filter composer/editor" in stopping people to write their wrong rules. The consequence of this approach would be more on the subscriptions side. I think it would require something like an "official-core" subscription to stop most "generic" advertisement.
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Wladimir Palant » Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:54 am

That was a consideration that I made - but it makes things more complicated, both on the development side and for the users.
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby LorenzoC » Wed Jan 19, 2011 1:17 pm

I think the "user" expect ABP to be as automated as an antivirus. You install and forget about it.
With an antivirus you aren't asked to pick what "detections" you want to use (see subscriptions) and you aren't asked to write your own detections (see custom filters). At best you can have a button to disable/enable ABP completely or "authorize/block" the current Web site only (like Firefox).

The "power user" who needs the inspecting/editing tools would not mind to install it as separate extension.
I guess it is a very small percentage of ABP userbase.

I can't tell about the coding.
But I see the current subscriptions and related settings being the real issue.
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Adblock Plus Fan » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:06 pm

Wladimir Palant wrote:If we are hiding advanced functionality anyway we might integrate EHH just as well.


Following this thought, there is another point of consideration: Both EHH and filter composer has an "Advanced view" and "Basic view". Maybe these two smaller switches can be removed if we are implementing one big switch?
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Wladimir Palant » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:09 pm

Heh... The main question is - how advanced will be the users that we expect to use these features?
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Lain_13 » Tue Feb 22, 2011 10:33 pm

If they manage to find it and will not be scared away by popup with attention and description what comes with huge power then they advanced enough.

Or dumb like a log but it's their own problem. Such guys will find multiple ways to shoot themselves in the leg even without a gun…
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby LorenzoC » Tue Feb 22, 2011 11:32 pm

I still think we are speaking of two different software here.
One is made only by ABP "engine" and a default filter set with no GUI but the current "disable/enable" options.
The other is current ABP as Firefox "power tool" that stands out among similar tools right for its inspecting and filter composing features.
Users of the first tool don't need the second and vice-versa, they stand in each other's way.
I also see Chrome users preferring the "stripped" ABP since they apparently like the "dumbification", while Firefox traditionalists would probably pick the "full" ABP for the opposite reason.

By hiding ABP features you are going to annoy people like me who want to be in control of what ABP does and in the same time you are providing lots of unnecessary stuff to people who just want to have stuff "automagically" removed from Web pages. But I understand the need of keeping ABP development as simple as possible. I just hope once I switch the "hidden" features I still get ABP as it is.

Sorry if I have repeated myself. :)
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby Lain_13 » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:18 am

LorenzoC
There is interesting statistic by users of EHH. A lot of Russian users of AdBlock installs EHH as well. Do you think they use it or even understand what is it? Nope. They doing it "because they can". I guess situation with separate "power tool" (OUCH!) will be the same or even worse. Those who have no idea how to use AdBlock will install it "because it's for 1337". People like to think they are pro, ya know. So, better not to divide.

BTW, current "Advanced view" button is great example of we-are-looking-for-trouble-interface. There is a way to improve effect by renaming it to "Expert mode". :lol:
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby LorenzoC » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:37 am

I guess you can use statistics to demonstrate pretty much anything and its opposite.
If people install stuff "because they can", the same goes for hidden options, they will be enabled "because you can" so why bother.
Guns have a safety, making it double switch does not stop "dumb" people from shooting in their feet while it makes it difficult for the others.
I give you an easy solution: provide subscriptions only for the "stripped down" ABP (in form of general default filter set picked by language plus supplements) while you remove the subscription from "full" ABP (you can always manually import).
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Re: Remove filter adding interface for "regular" users

Postby LorenzoC » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:45 am

Sorry for double post.
I mean the "stripped" ABP as "full automated" tool whole the "full" as "completely manual" tool.
People who think they are pro and manage to use ABP by manually adding filters are on the way to learn their stuff so it is a good thing. All you need is documentation and forum for discussing about "custom filters".
People who think they are pro but can't use ABP manually will go back to the "automatic" version. Here you need a reporting system for the provided filter sets.

I see more issues coming for having the same tool that is usable in both "automated" and "manual" modes, so people can go "pro" because they know they can always switch to "auto" or they don't understand well what does what because of contraddictive communication.
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