Opened 9 years ago

Closed 8 years ago

#12510 closed defect

CTRL + L = Worst Keyboard Shortcut in Pidgin

Reported by: machineghost Owned by: rekkanoryo
Milestone: Component: unclassified
Version: 2.7.3 Keywords:

Description (last modified by machineghost)

First off, sorry if this is a duplicate (and I imagine it probably is, given that there's an Ubuntu bug for this as well, and this is REALLY ANNOYING), but I tried searching for "CTRL + L" and didn't have much luck.

So the basic problem here is simple: Pidgin has a keyboard shortcut that does terrible things, yet is super easy for a user to hit on accident. The specific shortcut is CTRL + L (I personally have hit it on accident *at least* three times), and it clears out your chat buffer. If you don't have logging on, your screwed. If you do have logging, you still have to close the message window, re-open it, and even then you'll have lost whatever logged stuff you previously had there (not to mention all the coloring will be gone).

Possible ways I could see making this not suck:

  • Make CTRL + L + CTRL + L bring back the erased buffer (this isn't a great option, as most people won't know about it, but it's better than nothing)
  • Take away the shortcut entirely
  • Give users a way to change shortcuts
  • Give users a way to disable shortcuts
  • Give users a way to disable this one really annoying "feature"

Change History (10)

comment:1 Changed 9 years ago by machineghost

  • Description modified (diff)

comment:2 Changed 9 years ago by machineghost

  • Description modified (diff)

comment:3 follow-up: Changed 9 years ago by rekkanoryo

  • Status changed from new to pending

You can already rebind keys (including removing a binding altogether) using standard GTK+ mechanisms described in the FAQ.

That said, ^L as a "clear history" command has precedent--using this shortcut in many shells clears the terminal screen.

comment:4 Changed 9 years ago by machineghost

  • Status changed from pending to new

I'm so tempted to say "If all the other applications were jumping off a bridge ..." ;-) This shortcut might make sense on other apps that *aren't* completely about typing, I dunno, but it's quite frankly obnoxious in Pidgin.

Let's guesstimate some numbers. Percentage of users who want to "clear history" (beyond just closing their chat window), ever: 3%? if that (I really doubt it's that high). Percentage of users who want to do it so often they could use a shortcut key for it: *maybe* 0.5%? Percentage of users who would actually learn the shortcut key for it: 0.005%

Percentage of users who have ever accidentally cleared their history in Pidgin (even once), and found it obnoxious: this has to be *at least* 30%, and I'd guess it's closer to 75% (there will always be at least 25% that aren't affected I figure; some people just don't use CTRL for anything).

I dunno if Pidgin sends any sort of statistics back to the server, but if so check the logs. You'll likely find that every "CTRL + L" keypress is preceded or precedes another "CTRL + something that is not L" keypress. Having a "feature" that frustrates a significant percentage of your users, just so that an extraordinarily small subset of users can have a convenient shortcut key is just dumb. It would be like making CTRL + D close the application; it might save some teen who is trying to hide their IMing from their parents 0.5 seconds (vs. CTRL + F4), but you'd have a ton of users accidentally closing the app also; it just wouldn't make sense.

comment:5 Changed 9 years ago by rekkanoryo

  • Status changed from new to pending

I have seen less than five people ever complain about the default keybinding for "clear history" in all the time I've been involved with Pidgin (more than 6 years at this point). The L binding has been in place for years, and such a small number of complaints is highly unlikely to convince us that the binding needs to be changed. The confusion for existing users far outweighs any so-called benefit of the change.

As I said in my previous comment, it is possible to rebind the action, and even remove the binding if you want. It's documented in the FAQ. I'd suggest changing the keybinding for yourself if you feel it causes you trouble.

We do not currently collect any sort of information from installed instances of Pidgin or libpurple, and we are unlikely ever to collect information as detailed as keybinding use if we do implement usage data collection.

comment:6 Changed 9 years ago by machineghost

  • Status changed from pending to new

I would imagine that most people who mistakenly hit CTRL + L don't even know what they did, let alone have the motivation to come file a bug about it. Unless you disagree, then you have to admit that whatever you've seeing is just the tip of the iceberg.

That being said, it's your software, if you want to have a shortcut that does something 99% of your users will never want just so that 1% can do it more conveniently (without having to map a keybinding), that's your choice. I personally just think it's silly to cater to such a small subset at the expense of everyone else, and I think Pidgin would be a better IM client without that binding (by default; I'm not saying it should be impossible to clear your logs with a keystroke).

comment:7 Changed 8 years ago by xerces8

W in many shells deletes the word before the cursor. Why is Pidgin behaving differently?

comment:8 in reply to: ↑ 3 Changed 8 years ago by xerces8

Ah, wiki... That should have been ^W

comment:9 Changed 8 years ago by deryni

  • Status changed from new to pending

xerces8: Because by default pidgin acts like tabbed applications and not the way readline/emacs behaves. If you disable the default ctrl-w binding and enable the emacs GTK+ keybinding mode you get the ctrl-w behaviour you want.

We have received more than a small handful of complaints about the default ctrl-l binding but nowhere near a lot.

I'm sure there are plenty of people who are used to the ctrl-l 'boss key' that would not be happy if we broke it. Unfortunately there isn't a way to know who is using it and who isn't so that we could migrate away from it without breaking anyone (or I would suggest we should do so as I clear it when I install pidgin and can't imagine that most people want it or even know about it).

comment:10 Changed 8 years ago by trac-robot

  • Status changed from pending to closed

This ticket was closed automatically by the system. It was previously set to a Pending status and hasn't been updated within 14 days.

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