Thunderbird support extension

Roland MoMo Tanglao ryttb2 at
Thu Jun 3 23:06:19 UTC 2010

  Hi All:

Based on the meeting some had at the MoMo All Hands, I've drawn up a 
wiki page:

Please email your feedback to the list or to me or IRC or edit the wiki 


On 10-06-01 1:06 PM, David Bienvenu wrote:
> On 6/1/10 6:21 AM, Bryan Clark wrote:
>> I like it a lot!  I wanted to go over them here to make sure i 
>> understand them. I'll add more random ideas inline as well.
>> > an extension that helps deals with the top few support issues, 
>> solving them if possible, giving more diagnostic information if not 
>> possible to solve.
>> Would a use case for this idea be: person opens a tab to find the top 
>> 10 GS issues listed (possible quick search on some more). Each issue 
>> has an embedded "solution" which could be a workaround or a small 
>> script that makes the necessary changes.
> I've been thinking of this as a diagnostic and repair tool for common 
> issues, like Windows has, except that we would actually solve some 
> issues :-) So you click on an item that corresponds to your problem; 
> we run some diagnostics, perhaps ask some more questions, and then 
> attempt a repair, or give some advice.
>> > Message send/receive issues - reprobe settings, username, etc.
>> If I understand this it sounds like it could be built into the top 
>> issues some how. A static one that always is around. Or we could just 
>> try to attach it to connection errors and it's completely separate. 
>> Either use case doesn't matter right now, I'm just trying to 
>> understand it a bit more.
> So I'm thinking that the extension would mainly be static issues, 
> because the main benefit of having this in an extension is that we can 
> do more than a web page in terms of trying to diagnose and fix issues. 
> From the user's point of view, I was thinking that they have a serious 
> issue; they go to Get Satisfaction, and are told, either through the 
> web site, or by a someone responding to their issue, to install the 
> support extension and try to diagnose the problem. I wasn't thinking 
> of the extension as something users would permanently install and use 
> whenever they have support issues. But we could do both.
>> > Profile discovery/import.
>> Matbe a use case is: on startup if we are having profile errors we 
>> open a support tab that helps the person find their profile and 
>> restart. A person could also go manually into this page to import and 
>> old profile, perhaps from a backup.
> Yes, something like that. I think in the case of prefs.js getting 
> horked, or profiles.ini getting horked, we may be able to tell that 
> this isn't a brand new install of Thunderbird.
>> > Easy way to clear the disk cache, and rebuild indexes/offline stores.
>> Maybe a use case here is just having this be a static issue in our 
>> top issues page with a solution having these options.
> Finding the UI for these things can be a challenge for some users...
>> > Turn on folder compaction, if not already turned on, and/or compact 
>> folders.
>> I don't really understand this. At first I thought a possible use 
>> case might be something that lists all your accounts and folders with 
>> the currently used size of the folder and allows you to compact them 
>> and change the compact settings.
> This is more of a diagnostic thing - user has some non-specific issue 
> (mail is slow, missing messages...). We'd run through the folders and 
> see if there's a ton of wasted space, or folders are near 4GB, and if 
> so, just clean them up. This is something that might work its way into 
> the core code, or we'd just flip the default for compaction...
>> > Check for virus checkers known to cause issues, especially ones that 
>> intercept the communication between Thunderbird and the mail server.
>> This made me think that we could have something that looks for 
>> extensions known to cause issues from the GS forums. I'm not sure if 
>> those virus checkers use extensions our not and that might be a 
>> separate idea.
> The virus checkers that completely break us have extension components, 
> but the virus checkers that prevent mail from being retrieved or sent, 
> or slow down file access tend not to have extensions.
>> If we could somehow detect the installation (and usage) of the virus 
>> checker I could see a use case where we open up a notification bar 
>> that warns them and maybe takes the person to a issue / solution 
>> page. I see this similar to when gmail started detecting firebug 
>> running and alerting people that it really slowed things down.
>> > Check for non-default settings the user may have accidentally 
>> toggled and gotten confused
>> I like this one a lot. The "where did this go?" helper.  I'd see the 
>> use case as perhaps: opening the support page with the top support 
>> issues. It could be broken out into individual issues or one "pieces 
>> are missing" issue which has buttons to try changing the settings. If 
>> we listed the common settings and highlighted the changed ones people 
>> could click "restore" to get back to the default setting. A "restore 
>> all" button could also be at the top to just revert all the common 
>> custom settings. A further piece might then help them enter a GS 
>> issue if those items didn't fix it.
> yes, that sounds cool.
> - David
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